In a place like New Orleans, music is how we celebrate and mourn. It is nearly impossible to come up with a complete list of all the musicians that call New Orleans home. Many influential artists have roots here, including Big Freedia and Lil Wayne, and going back to Fats Domino and Jelly Roll Morton.
New Orleans is also home to many talented rising stars. I had the pleasure of talking with Kyle Payne, a local gay rapper. Kyle grew up in Marrero where he graduated from Archbishop Shaw High School, then went to UNO for film. While at UNO, Kyle realized that he liked to rap and needed to go back to school for music. He went to Loyola, interned for Big Freedia, and is changing the image of gay rappers.
When did you first get started in music and have you always been drawn to rap?
No, I was always drawn to Britney Spears. I grew up on Hillary Duff and Britney. Around 3rd grade, that wasn’t cool anymore so I stopped listening to Britney. There really wasn’t any other artist that I was drawn to, until Black Eyed Peas came out with My Humps. For some reason, I knew that song was it; I would listen to it every day and recite it word for word. I was fascinated with how fast they talked and I could still understand what they were saying.
Nicki Minaj came out my sophomore/junior year of high school. My friends and I would listen to her and, honestly, I thought she was batshit crazy. We would make fun of the songs by doing these crazy moves to go along with them and one day, we saw her video and was like, she is doing the same things as us. She is literally doing the same thing we are doing in the car, but she is making money off of it. That’s when I knew I could do it too.
Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I started out writing joke songs for my friends by using Nicki Minaj beats. I got more passionate about writing and started writing songs that were serious and not just a joke using Nicki’s beats. My first song was Run It Back. I wrote that one while I was at Loyola and performed it at Tipitina’s for a group of students.
What gives you inspiration for your music?
Nicki, Britney, Black Eyed Peas, Lizzo and Meg Thee Stallion are all inspirations. Like Lizzo and Meg Thee Stallion, I want my music to connect with the listeners. When you listen to my music, I speak about myself a lot, but I do hope that you can relate the songs to yourself. You can be gay and you can do anything you want to do. You have the opportunity to make people feel great about themselves so use your skills to make others feel good.
You have a regular show The Pantry? Tell me more about that show.
The Pantry is a show that I started where you can walk in and get a variety of entertainers. It started as a bi-monthly show at the Art Garage, and beginning in November, it will be at Oz New Orleans. The show features myself, and some wonderful drag queens. I hope in the future to be able to showcase more up and coming LGBT artists as well as using it for some charity purposes.
What’s next for KP?
There is a lot happening right now. I have a new album releasing in December and will be starting my Pantry show at Oz in November. I am also excited to be performing at the New Orleans Pride Coronation Show on October 19 at Oz New Orleans. This is their 10th Anniversary so I will be performing some fun new music for it. Stay up to date on all the cool things happening at iamkpmusic.com
What is your bucket list place to do a show?
Madison Square Garden. It is the cliche place for artist to say they want to perform, but you know you made it when you can perform there.
If you could perform with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I don’t have a particular person currently; there are so many amazing performers that I would love to work with.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the music scene?
What I would tell myself 5 years ago is to be patient. Continue working on your craft and don’t get impatient. You are not going to start off perfect. Keep working at it and you are guaranteed to get better. Don’t lose focus and be open to opinions, negative or positive.
Be sure to follow KP on social media to find out his latest. Facebook: @officialpantry Instagram: @iamkpmusic or iamkpmusic.com