Kacy Hill Is the Angelic Model-Turned-Singer You Need to Know
In the same week, Kacy Hill went from gracing the cover of V Magazine in a stunning photo captured by Mario Testino to sharing hilarious post-wisdom-teeth-surgery videos, in which she is heavily (and charmingly) drugged, puffy, and nonsensical. Yet while this stark juxtaposition might be confusing to some, it’s also exactly who she is: a fashion icon and striking beauty, yet as real and relatable as they come. Despite her illustrious life—Vogue has hosted dinners in her honor (with guests like Katy Perry in attendance)—she still maintains an unfaltering level of modesty, often using her Tumblr to share very honest and vulnerable parts of herself. In the past, she’s written such heartfelt entries as this beautifully written letter to her fans addressing her past American Apparel lingerie shoots, which was all part of an effort to reclaim her sexuality after a rape.
I remember the first time I heard Hill’s song “Experience”; we were in the dressing room before a show during the YEEZUS tour, in which she was cast as one of the 12 dancers. She had recorded the song just before we held the YEEZUS auditions, and was now seeing the music video for the first time while we were on the road. Halfway through the song, I had to pause it to let her know that this was phenomenal for a first song, and that she was without a doubt going to be huge. At the time, I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted just how quickly everything would unfold.
Her foray into music was by chance; originally a model, the Arizona-born Hill was singing in between takes on a photo shoot when her producer friends noticed her beautiful voice and asked her if she ever considered writing music. Fast-forward three years, and she’s now backed by some of the biggest names in music (including Kanye West himself), just finished touring internationally with Jack Garrett, and yet through it all, she’s remained the same woman—to an absurdly refreshing degree. She is at once genuinely humble and quietly confident; she knows exactly who she is and what she’s capable of, and is so supremely comfortable in her own skin, you can’t help but feel comfortable in yours when you’re around her.
Read on to find out how Hill would describe her music in an ice cream flavor, her dream collaborator, and her newest obsession (hint: it’s ClassPass).
If your music was an ice cream flavor, which would it be?
It’d be two scoops, it wouldn’t be one… this is going to sound like the most L.A. thing I’ve ever said, but it would be the Superfood flavor from KindKreme where it’s vegan with the goji berries and stuff, but it would also be more palatable like a coffee ice cream. Even though I can’t drink coffee, I like the idea of coffee ice cream.
If your music was a city, which would it be?
I still really like Arizona and I’m still really inspired by it. Maybe Sedona or somewhere in northern Arizona—I like the energy.
If it were an animal?
All I can say is a pug because I love pugs. [They’re] like pop culture dogs but not too trendy like Frenchies—they’re more throwbacks, like Men-in-Black throwback, but they’re funny and spunky. Spunky but still relevant.
Purple, I think purple is a regal color.
It would be sushi—refined, cold, minimal.
What would be your dream song to cover?
Recently I’ve been trying to put together a cover for “Whole Wide World” by Reckless Air. It’s such a cool, beautiful song.
Who’s your dream collaborator?
Your dream tour buddy?
[Her beloved, half-blind pug] Rascal
Your dream fictional family?
The first thing I thought of was Berenstain Bears, but that’s not right. It would be Bob’s Burgers—the Belcher family. I would fit in really well.
And finally, your dream fashion house to do a collection with?
What was your game plan when you first moved to L.A.?
Oh God. It was so scary and terrible. I think my game plan was initially to model, and I did that and it was fine. I got American Apparel two weeks after I moved out, so it was just easier to do American Apparel. And then I think I had this moment [where I was] like, what am I even doing? This isn’t me, or a career that can be sustained. So I was at this crossroads where I was like, do I go back to school? Or…? And then that’s when I ended up finding music.
If you had gone to college, what would’ve been your major?
When I was going to go, I wanted to major in photography or peace studies; I really thought peace studies would be interesting, but I liked the idea of being an artist. If I [were to] go [to school] now—and I do want to go back—I [would] want to major in gender studies. Incorporate it into music—women in music—and make something that could be relevant.
You started making music when you were 19. What were some of the challenges you faced as a young woman in such a male dominated industry?
Some of the challenges have been universal for young women—feeling like you have to assert yourself more than a man. There’s a Björk interview where she’s talking about her production and she’s saying how the men on the album get more production credit and [acknowledgement] for her work. She basically [said] you have to say everything twice as a woman to be acknowledged and I think that’s really true.
Do you ever feel immense pressure to live up to certain expectations?
Every single day… In my heart, I know I can do music and I know I’m a good songwriter… But the wider spectrum of it—the social media and fame and all of that—is continually intimidating and weird and I don’t think it will ever not be weird.
Do you ever feel like you have to choose between having a successful music career and having a fulfilling love life?
Well, there’s not a lot to choose from—you have to have a love life to have [the ability to choose it]. [Laughs] It definitely is difficult—like with my last relationship, that was a huge motivating factor in it ending as some people can be really uncomfortable with touring and just the idea of meeting a lot of people. There needs to be a mutual trust and understanding like with any relationship, but there [also] needs to be another whole level of trust and little-to-no jealousy. I don’t do jealous people. Just trust.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I’m most excited about getting this album out and I’m also excited about being able to do music and to be an artist for as long as I want. And I’m most excited about ClassPass this week.
Photography by Bukunmi Grace.
Styling by Johnny Wujek.
Stay tuned to Milk for more of our favorite modest musicians.