Jazz Vocalist LILI K Discusses New Music, Working With Chance The Rapper And More!
Posted On 08 Nov 2016
On November 1st, the singer-songwriter, Lili K, released her new single “Magic.” It’s off her new album ‘Planet Of Flowers‘ which is slated to be released in February 2017. Originally known for her standout guest features for Chance the Rapper, she has established herself as a rising artist with the April 2015 release of her self-produced, full-length debut album ‘Ruby.’
TIDAL, dubbed Lili K as their first ever “Tidal Rising” artist, and the Chicago Reader named her “Best Jazz Musician” in their annual “Best of Chicago” reader’s choice poll.
Follow Lili K here:
Lili K, live at Made in America, Northcoast, and Pitchfork: https://vimeo.com/170087879
Learn more about Lili K in the following All Access interview:
Now that we are well into the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music?
This year has definitely been a whirlwind. 2016 has been a beautiful and tragic year for music; we have lost so many legends but have also been given tons of phenomenal music. I spent the majority of 2016 recalibrating and creating. The stress of life had kind of lead me away from my love for music, and I was able to regain it over the course of this year. I’ve been able to find my inner-peace, focus on my music and my relationships, and truly gain a sense of self.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I always sang for fun growing up, but I was never quite sure that it could be a career for me. I just went to public schools, but I was lucky enough to have the most AMAZING choir teachers that helped shape and guide my voice to where it is today. I remember my choir teacher, Mr. Ken Anderson, made me sing The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…) at my 4th grade Christmas concert and I was SO nervous. A few of my teachers started crying while I was singing and I thought I had messed up or something!
How would you describe your sound to someone that has never heard it before?
This is always such a tricky question, because I get the wisest variety of comparisons. (Laughter) I would describe it as a feel good blend of jazz and soul with sprinkles of funk, gospel, and a bunch of good vibes.
You just released your newest single called “Magic.” How does this track compare and ultimately prepare listeners for the rest of your album, “Planet Of Flowers” which will be released next year?
“Magic” is one of the more political songs on the album; it focuses on sexism and misogyny. There are moments on this song that definitely give listeners a taste of what the project has in store (rich instrumentation, lush harmonies, intricate rhythms), but this song is very much its own animal. It’s on the sassier end of the spectrum.
How is your forthcoming music different then your debut album you put out last year called “Ruby”?
The new album is SO diverse, there’s a little bit of everything on it. Planet of Flowers is still heavily rooted in jazz and soul, but my band and I kind of threw genre out the window while writing out new material. It’s far more mature than Ruby, lyrically and musically. We’ve all grown as artists and as musicians, and it’s a beautiful thing to hear that growth on our new album.
What was it like working with Chance The Rapper on the song “Hey Ma”?
The good old days! I first worked with Chance when we recorded Hey Ma on his 10 Day mixtape. We stayed super late to finish the song so that it would be done in time for him to play it for his grandma before her surgery the following morning. He just let me do my thing on the song, and we loved how it came out.
I’d love to know what it was like being dubbed Tidal’s first ever “Tidal Rising” artist?
It was crazy! That was a prime example of the universe just putting things together at the perfect time. I was on the homepage of tidal.com for a few days, I headlined the Tidal Made In America stage… it was just beautiful. They’ve been nothing but wonderful to me, and we’ve maintained an awesome friendship. They always check up on me, the folks from Tidal & Roc Nation always come to my shows when I’m in NYC, etc.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you all and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
Anderson.Paak probably had my favorite album of the year with Malibu. That dude is SO COLD. Esperanza Spalding is an inspiration, I absolutely loved her new album. Snarky Puppy is always inspiring. Lalah Hathaway is a vocal goddess. My friends Sidewalk Chalk out of Chicago are one of my favorite bands (and their new album is about to be INSANE). My lifelong dream collaboration is D’Angelo though. I just want him to be my friend and mentor me and then we can send each other funny texts throughout the day.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you all unwind from it all?
I love to bake! That’s my chill / unwind hobby. I usually only bake really late at night because of my schedule. For awhile, I was joking around with naming the new album ‘I Only Bake at Midnight.’ Maybe the next one will be called that…
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I want people to feel better after listening to my music than they felt before. In the past, I’ve had people tell me that my music helped them get through a breakup or helped them leave an abusive relationship. That is the most beautiful thing I could ask for. Music is supposed to heal, and that’s what I hope my music will continue to do.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I just have to express how grateful I am that I’ve been able to turn my passion into a career. I’m so thankful for every single person who listens to my music, who shares my music, who sings along with my music. My band and I are so excited to tour and perform live for every single fan (live shows are my fave part of being a musician), so spread the word about us in your city! We can’t wait to see ya!