Kid Sister on Becoming Jane Jupiter
Melisa Young, better known as the badass rapper Kid Sister, has done a lot of growing up since she first stormed the scene with the song "Pro Nails" and she’s not afraid to show it. With a new blue do and the amazing DUSK2DAWN: The Diary of Jane Jupiter mixtape recently released, Kid Sister is ready for the world to meet her new alter ego: Jane Jupiter.
Ahead of her performance at our Milk Made party tonight, Sister talks to us about the universal beauty of stars, why growing up changed her music, and shares the new video for her song "Stargazing" – a sexy black and white desert-set experience that features our boy Chapman.
Is this the first time you’re going to be playing since you released your new mixtape?
Officially yeah. I’m pretty excited, it’s gonna be just a couple of songs, so just a quick, casual, little thing, so I’m happy about that.
DUSK2DAWN is the perfect title for it because you can really hear the transition between day and night and one theme to the other. Why was that important to you? Was it just experimenting or was it more ‘shedding skin?’
A little bit of both. I think a part of it was me just wanting to try something new because after doing the same thing for so long it just kind of starts to lose its luster. I was getting bored, for sure. I’ve been watching so many documentaries and reading so many books and watching TED talks, and just kind of trying to get my mojo back and also try to figure out what it was I was actually working on – I had to distill the idea because all I knew was that in 2012 I was really sad, I was doing rap songs that I didn’t care about at all, and then I had this funk song with Dam Funk and produced by Chad Hugo and I was thinking, “how do I bridge the gap between what I’m known for, which I’m bored with, and this kind of vintage future space boogie?” So I did the mixtape to provide some context bridging the gap, between there and here. It took a minute – I had to figure out what it was, but I’m glad I took my time with it. I’m finally saying something real, not just like “pop that coochie” (laughs).
The album is more rap heavy towards the beginning. Did you record in a sort of chronological order?
It’s such a blur that I can’t really remember. I think I did, but then we had some other songs – like, I recorded “Higher” many years ago. I would play it for people as the years went by and they would say, “that’s a good song girl!” And I just didn’t know what I was gonna do with it, because when you have songs with Riff Raff and a song called “Gucci Rag Top” – and I’m not talking bad about that because I’m not ashamed of my career, but I just grew up. That’s it. Kid Sister grew up.
Is that why Jane Jupiter was born?
Jane Jupiter exists as an exalted form of me; basically just grown up me. I don’t know, I just started to kind of see the force of the trees when you take a break – I feel like it’s a lot easier when you’re not in it so thick to see the bigger picture. So I was backing away from that magic eye, like, “oh shit I see it! I see what it is! I see what I need to do!” And what I needed to do was just do what the fuck I like to do, which is make vintage futuristic sounding boogie music, at the moment. That’s what I’m excited about – to make classic-sounding music that doesn’t sound like ‘right now,’ that sounds like forever.
Is there a reason she’s this space vixen?
I’m just really captivated with astronomy and cosmology and the aesthetics of the universe. I know it sounds like I’m simplifying a grand thing but I don’t think it has to be complicated because it’s as simple as saying that if you look at a starry sky it’s so simply and clearly beautiful and everyone can enjoy it. It’s just kind of one of those things that is universally beautiful to everyone and I’ve always been fascinated.
Your music has changed but has the approach to making music changed as well? Is it very different from when you started and from how you made this album?
Definitely. Before I think I was just really conjuring up one side of my personality. I mean please know that I did grow up in a trap. Like, when people talk about ‘the trap,’ I grew up in a town that was worse than some parts of Chicago, called Markham. When you listen to me rap I can actually rap, and I’m not borrowing someone’s culture to do so. My grandmother and literally half of my family speak like me, so I’m not taking from nobody. But as someone who comes from a multi-ethnic background to only show one side…writing those songs I was at my most Chicago, but now…I don’t know, there’s something about being vulnerable on a song that feels really good and really courageous, in a strange way. I could never do it before because I was too uncomfortable and I was too insecure, but once you grow up and get over your insecurities you stop caring, and you can finally lay it all out and talk about all your shit.
I read the testimony that you released the day before your mixtape and you have a part were you say that this is all you, and this isn’t some rich dude paying you to make these songs. Did you feel that way before?
Yeah, I mean there were old rich white guys telling me what to do and saying stuff like, “I think it could be more pop, or this and that,” and I thought, “this is actually me.” And so that made the initial album process very difficult, very confusing and muddied. It felt so good and so relieving to do this mixtape on my own terms. I never got the chance to do it before, and to be quite honest I didn’t really have a clear vision so it wasn’t something that was easily done anyways.
You’ve collaborated with so many amazing people in music, but is there somebody you’re dying to collaborate with?
What would you say to yourself five years ago?
Chill out. It is not that serious. Take a breath, take a moment, and make sure what you’re doing has a bigger impact than right now. When you think that the sky is falling and the earth is crumbling beneath your feet realize that it’s not. Everything has a way of balancing itself out.
Listen to the full DUSK2DAWN: The Diary of Jane Jupiter mixtape here