Los Angeles-based R&B crooner, and owner of a seriously crazy falsetto, Kyle Dion, dropped "Brown," the second single from his upcoming album, back in February. It is a sublime piece of work in which his deliriously crystal-clear voice frequently clambers up to notes that are simultaneously spine-tingling and unbelievable. Today, he debuts the accompanying video to the track — a fuschia-tinged offering that is just dripping in aesthetics. Watch it below.
Dion is 24 years old and already has two full-lengths already under his belt. He says he's been writing and recording music since he was nine years old. I was first introduced to him a few years back while scrolling on Tumblr and stumbling on "Moonshine," a loosie with an unexpected, but great, rhythm shift in the middle and, of course, his sky-reaching falsetto. At my point of discovery, he'd already dropped his first tape, Sixes N Sevens, in 2014 at 20 years old, a project that contains one of my favorite songs by him, "Purple Meadows." Two years after, he dropped his sophomore follow-up, Painting Sounds. Now, another two years later, with his third project set to drop "mid to end-of-summer," I caught up with Dion via email to chat about "Brown," his musical influences, and how his sound has grown since 2014.
What made you want to start making music? Was it a certain event in your life?
Nothing really or at least nothing consciously. I just always remember singing, making music and always wanting to be involved in some sort of creative outlet. I don't remember a time where I didn't make music and wanted to start so… there’s that.
Who are some of your musical influences or idols/people you look up to or admire?
The Greats! Michael Jackson, Prince (Happy Birthday Prince)… Usher’s Confessions was one of the first albums I ever purchased. Whitney Houston has grown to really be a person I admire, over the last few months I’ve done some more digging into her catalogue/past performances and it's definitely inspiring. Because her range is similar to mine, I’m very drawn to her old records and her runs, her head voice is very inspiring. I love to learn and she's given me a lot of inspiration over the last few months helping me to really hone in on my vocal ability, attempting to strengthen and perfect what I have. I aspire to have people remember me for that just as we do the greats. "Kyle Dion, it was the voice!"
Tell me a bit about "Brown." Does the color represent something more to you in this song besides the obvious — skin color?
Absolutely, brown liquor baby, that Henny! Lol. Brown means whatever you want it mean. For me, I wanted to give brown/black women a song to uplift them – they don’t really have that today. Everyone can enjoy this song though! This is just the head space I was in while writing this record. Also, the record correlates with the story behind my forthcoming album.
What was the vision behind the video?
We actually didn't go into it focusing on the idea that we were creating a music video. I was doing a photo shoot for promo content for “Brown” with this director duo DAD here in LA and we decided to also capture some promo video clips and documentation for the album. It turned into this cool vibey kind of thing and we decided to turn it into the music video. Very natural.
Where do you draw inspiration from when you make music? What does the process look like?
As soon as I hear the production I immediately hear countless melodies in my head. It starts with a melody, then it turns into a story. The story can be fiction or nonfiction. For me personally, I love writing about things I haven't necessarily gone through, then there aren’t any boundaries and it’s more fun.
On my forthcoming album, I've kept it very in house, so to speak. I've been working with a bunch of amazingly talented producers. My executive producer for this album Mars Today and I really have created this SOUND that I can’t fucking wait to let the world hear! We've been working on it for a year now and I’m happy to say its soon to make its entrance.
For those who have been following you since Sixes N Sevens, how do you think your sound has changed or grown since then?
I’ve grown so much. My ear is different, I’m not stuck in my own ways, and am willing to try new things sonically. Also, I am now more willing to collaborate with other writers and producers. I never co-wrote any of my stuff before this album and I was so against it up till just recently. However, you begin to realize that it’s really your ego talking and its beautiful to get past that.
I was 20-years-old when I released Sixes N Sevens, and then at 22 I released my last project Painting Sounds. I just turned 24! My fans know me by now, and I hate over-saturating my catalogue. When I drop, I want it to be special. That approach may not be the best thing for a new, up-and-coming artist today, but I don't care. I hate throwing away music and the shit has to be 100 or it does not get released. Also, its more than the music for me, it’s about the experience that I like to build around a drop, which takes time. I take my time.