#MediaGirlMeets: Trap Soul Singer K.L.Y

by: Kay Tatyana Selisho and Mamosa Kekana

As a keen observer of the music industry, it’s always exciting to witness new talent flourish and innovate in an industry where the most successful commercial songs are predominantly from the rap and house music genres.

22-year-old singer, songwriter and producer – K.L.Y – is one of the most prominent in a group of young artists who are the first to introduce the mix of Trap and RnB to the South African hip hop scene, a sound originally coined in the US.

Siyabonga Mkhize’s stage name (K.L.Y) is an acronym for Keep Love Young, a name he came up with in 2010. Seeing as he started out singing RnB songs, he had always known that he wanted the word ‘love’ to be a part of whatever name he chose. His friends later shortened the full thing to KLY and it stuck.

Siya K.L.Y Mkhize
Image by: Paballo Lekalakala

The Midrand native recently reworked and released his debut EP, KLYMAX, which got over 20,000 downloads on Soundcloud, and has received great praise from industry peers such as Riky Rick and DJ Maphorisa

The original version of KLYMAX features the production and rapping talents of Riky Rick, Wichi 1080 (who produced Nomuzi’s Recipe), Dj Maphorisa (who has worked with Drake, Chris Brown and Wizkid), Frank Casino and Priddy Ugly. Kly has also worked with the likes of WizKid and DJ Buckz.

“When it comes to the sound, I wasn’t really paying attention to other people like that. I just wanted to make music for women. But music in the sense of music that they can listen to before they go to the club… you know when they’re taking a shower… when they’re chilln’… Music that can get them into the mood… when they’re with their friends. Music that you can listen to when you’re doing everything else but turning up.”

The EP tells stories surrounding K.L.Y’s encounters with women, including the good and bad side of relationships. It also taps into his trap soul roots, successfully channelling the Toronto sound while building on the power of nostalgic lyrics, slow tempo beats and smooth vocals. If you’re wondering what we mean by ‘Toronto sound’, think: Drake and Tory Lanez with a bit of Justin Bieber, Party Next Door and Bryson Tiller.

“The music bug bit me back in high school, when I was in grade 10, a friend of mine introduced me to recording, and I haven’t looked back ever since,” said the singer, before describing his sound as “moody, dark, and emotional with a bit of sexy.”

Which comes as no surprise when you find out that he cites Drake and Party Next Door as the biggest influences on his sound.

Siya K.L.Y Mkhize
Image by: Paballo Lekalakala

When artists share their vulnerabilities, exposing their souls; their expression mirrors that of the listeners, allowing us to find comfort in their music. K.L.Y is one such artist, as all his songs have that moody and melodic flow.

“I want to first gain a large fan base before releasing an album because it’s difficult for an artist that’s unknown to sell a record. It’s easier to start with EPs, so when the album comes out, it has a large audience” said KLY, who hopes his album goes platinum in the first week of its release.

KLYMAXReUp is the reworked version of his aforementioned EP and the project even trended on the day of its release. It features artists from the first version, such as Frank Casino, Riky Rick, as well as YCee from Nigeria, and Thaiwanda Thai.

Wichi 1080 remains the genius behind the production, and take it from us, songs such as ‘Scrrr Pull up’ and ‘Direction’ are certified club bangers.

Siya K.L.Y Mkhize
Image by: Paballo Lekalakala

His experience of the music industry has improved now that people can hear/see what he has to offer and as a result, more doors are opening for the young singer.

Because of this, he has set his sights on the international stage and now wants to work with Future, Drake, PND, Adele, Beyonce and Sia. This is because he feels as though a mixture of his sound and theirs could create something entirely different to what we as music fans currently know.

K.L.Y’s talent has definitely placed him in new territory and we can safely say he’s the one to watch in 2017. KLY currently has a music video out for a fan favourite) from the EP, titled Too much,’ which features award-winning rapper Riky Rick.

His fave SA songs are Too Much Feat. Riky Rick as well as DJ Speedsta’s MAYO and Sidlukotini by Riky. From his own catalogue, he loves ‘Scrrr Pull Up,’ ‘Karate,’ and ‘Daddy Issues’ (he had to throw Saturday Night in there too).

You can listen to KYMAX ReUp here:

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @mediagirl_za

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