A couple of months ago I was introduced to Missouri born singer/songwriter KG Lillian via her tune, “Fever”. While there may be tons of artists in the same lane, I immediately found myself taken back by her rich vocals, quality songwriting and overall vibe.While I held off sharing the tune at the time thanks to an already stacked back log of reviews I had to write, I kept the tune in heavy rotation and made sure to keep tabs. I didn’t have to wait long before she unleashed her next (third official) single, “Stranger”. What I love most about the new tune is the cadence and structure, which I feel shows KG’s originality and willingness to experiment. Beyond that, the lyrics are ever-relatable and the production is clean and dynamic.As someone who can’t help but shine some light on (what I feel are) deserving talents, I reached out to KG and we caught up for a quick interview. Keep scrolling to get to know the budding talent and make sure you keep an eye out – I’m sure she has a lot more up her sleeve.
RDFO: It looks like you were raised in Missouri, but are currently living in Austin. What inspired the move?
KG: I was raised in Missouri, and I’m actually currently there now, too! I spent about 3 years in Austin, TX with my previous band January May. We had decided to move as a band and had amazing experiences while we were there. I moved back to Missouri shortly after the band separated, but I actually may end up there again soon… 🙂
RDFO: Has the Austin atmosphere helped to inspire anything new in your art?
KG: Austin has inspired me immensely; both “Fever” and “Stranger” were written because of my time there. In “Stranger” I sing about the sun dropping behind the skyline, which depicts a memory I have of watching the sunset from the 19th floor of a skyscraper just before playing a set at SXSW. It was one of those moments that you want to keep forever, so I put it in a song to keep it vivid. Overall, I was inspired by everything in Austin- from the people, to the venues, to my own heartbreak experienced while I was there. It’s a beautiful place.
RDFO: It seems beyond music, you are also big into fitness. How do you find a balance between such demanding activities and what inspires you to continue your fitness journey?
KG: I do love fitness! And I also admittedly struggle to find a balance when it comes to fitting it in between everything else. That being said, it’s still so important. Staying fit helps me keep my energy through shows and carry my own gear! My fiance used to be a personal trainer so he helps me stay on track. He showed me how therapeutic working out can be, so when writing doesn’t sort my emotions, I hit the gym and sweat it out. It has definitely helped me get through some challenging times.
RDFO: You recently dropped your single ‘Fever’.. What was the inspiration behind the tune and who produced it?
KG: “Fever” was produced by Jarrod Headley – an amazing dude that I’ve loved getting to work with. The song was inspired in Texas, written in Missouri and produced in Colorado, so it has some mileage! “Fever” explores my transition from being in a band to becoming a solo artist, as well as opening up to new love after heartbreak. It’s that hot and cold, back and forth that you navigate as you try to understand how to connect with others again. In the lyric “the broken can be fixed by the sick”, I mean that those “broken” by past relationships and “sick” form heartache and self loathing can find sanctuary in each other’s empathy. Even when you feel that everything is going to shit, there is still someone out there that understands that exact feeling. No one is ever alone.
RDFO: You have a great voice, how long have you been singing for?
KG: Thank you for the kind words, I’m happy to hear you like my voice! I started singing when I was 11. My dad and brother bought me my first guitar for my birthday, and in no time I was trying to write my own songs. It took me years to sing for anyone, though. My first audience was a group of friends that had come over for a birthday party right before I started high school. I sang for them from inside my closet, with the door closed, as they sat in the other room. It’s hard to believe that the person who couldn’t sing for someone in the same room gets on stages now.
RDFO: It seems you have only recently started to release music officially… what was the turning point that made you take the leap?
KG: I am so glad I’m finally releasing music. I struggled to find my sound after my band split up but I realized that it will be a work in progress… possibly forever. I knew if I didn’t start releasing what I was working on, I never would. I think I was initially intimidated by the fact that the words were all mine, if people didn’t like them it would be all on me… but now I realize just how dope it is to be in complete control. There’s nothing more liberating.
RDFO: Tell me about the new single and how this one came about.
KG: “Stranger” is my first happy song. And I seriously mean that. I’ve tried and failed to write happy songs for years, but it has always been easier to write about the sad stuff. I feel like sadness you can call on, summon it when you sit down with paper and pen. But happy is an emotion you live in, celebrate it while you have it, know it when it’s around. So when you sit down to write about it, you can’t unless you’re truly feeling it right in that moment. “Stranger” came from joy. When I embraced that I was on my own, I felt nothing but that. So I wrote it down, and now it’s a bop. Jarrod Headley worked on this track with me too, and he and I really made sure that it demands you to groove a little.
RDFO: Who are some of your biggest inspirations musically?
KG: Like most musicians, I feel like my list of inspirations could go on forever. But the first one that comes to mind is Lights. She’s the reason I asked for a synthesizer for Christmas when I was 13. Her songwriting has always told such vibrant stories – it felt so right when she announced her graphic novel, Skin & Earth. I feel like her creativity in everything she released allowed me to see more possibilities in my own pursuit of music. When I was younger, she was the first female artist that made me think, “women can be badass too.”
RDFO: Where do you pull inspiration from for your lyrics?
KG: The next few releases are some of the most honest I’ve ever written. Like I mentioned above, I write a lot of sad songs. I pull lyrics from some of my darkest corners. If I didn’t put those emotions in music, I don’t think I would know what to do with them. Sometimes my lyrics are moments I want to preserve, other times I write to lift the weight of keeping thoughts to myself.
RDFO: What is up next for you?
KG: These singles are a part of a bigger project that I’m excited to talk about in the near future. More on that later, I promise. 🙂
RDFO: Anything else you want our readers to know?
KG: To find out more about me, readers can visit kglillian.com or find me on twitter or Instagram at @kglillian! “Stranger” can be heard on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and more.