It was now a couple of years ago when I was first introduced to Missouri based Indie artist KG Lillian. Blending influences from Pop to Folk to Rock, KG finds a delicate balance between poignant lyrics, touching vocals and commercial appeal. With her stunning, breathy vocals leading the way, I was quickly hooked from her first single and I have made sure to keep tabs ever since.
Since launching her solo career in 2018, she has been hard at work honing her sound and creating new tunes, growing her fanbase with beautifully produced singles all leading up to this moment. Have poured her heart and soul into her new incarnation, KG Lillian has recently unveiled her debut EP and we can’t help but be excited. While this may only be the beginning for KG Lillian, we promise that there is something on, “Palm Valley“, that will hit you in the feels.
To celebrate the release, we were lucky enough to sit down with KG to discuss the past, present and future – and we can’t help but feel her emotion in every tune and every response around this release and interview. Make sure you keep scrolling to get some more insight into the buzzing KG Lillian!
RDFO: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. As you know I have been a fan damn near since you launched your solo project, so I’ve been excited to finally hear the new project. Can you tell us about the new EP and what it means to you in terms of growth and overall development of your sound?
KG: Hey Brian! It means so much to have had your support since the very beginning of my solo pursuit. I love knowing you’ll always be down to give me feedback on my latest projects and that our conversations have become so seamless! I am simultaneously exhaling a sigh of relief and holding my breath with this release. To finally put this EP into the world is both an achievement I’m proud of and a move I’m nervous to make. I’m so ready to share what I’ve been working on but it’s also hard to call a debut project finished and let it out to represent you as an artist. Lyrically and emotionally, the Palm Valley EP covers what I experienced right after my band broke up, falling in love with my now husband, and finding my self worth. All of those things in one sentence really reveal to me just how much a roller coaster the past few years were! Covering topics with that kind of depth really demanded I dive in and write candidly in a way I hadn’t been capable of doing before. With that approach to the emotional conviction and Jarrod Headley honing in to find the right elements for the production, I feel like I’ve never been more authentic when working on a project than I was for this EP. This has also led me to find where I want to direct my music in the future.
RDFO: How long have you been working on this EP and are there any collaborators behind the scenes that you would like to shout out?
KG: It took me 4 years to pump out this EP. That’s way longer than I intended to take and I’ll be transparent as to why; previously I made decisions in a band where we all sat and discussed together to land on a conclusive verdict. Now I dictate everything about my pursuit in music, which, while empowering… made me anxious as hell! I’m proud of the sound, proud of the lyrics, proud of the dedication but also proud of the amount of decisions I successfully made to get here. I feel like we talk about that part of the process less despite it being one of the most challenging aspects of creating- at least for me. That being said, I didn’t have to carry the EP by myself. Jarrod Headley produced and co-wrote Heaven, 19, and City Sleep, and mixed TMYLM. He’s incredible and I always love being in the studio with him. While he mixed TMYLM, e. philly produced and co-wrote that track as well as Taylor James, who wrote on the song and performed vocals. TMYLM also featured writing and collaboration from my friends Derrick, Nathan, and Ryan, who I wish I could’ve brought to Texas with me! Clint Wagoner has mastered every track for me and killed it every time. And the real big contribution to this EP came from my husband Trey – he made sure I didn’t forget to eat when I was writing, kept me from losing my shit when I questioned everything, and hyped me up at every tiny milestone and triumph.
RDFO: You released a couple of singles from the project leading up to now – can you tell me what made those two tracks stand out for you?
KG: I was so stoked you loved the EP singles. Both 19 and TMYLM were released prior to the EP and they stood out to me for their bop potential. Years ago, I wrote nothing but melancholy ballads, so after finding the ability to write upbeat mood boosters and hearing their masters for the first time, I couldn’t help but find myself impatient to share them!
RDFO: On a personal level, which track on the project hits closest to home for you and really hits you in the feels?
KG: So much of this EP hits me hard because Palm Valley is closing a chapter of my life I’ll never return to. Two tracks activate my feels the most, for two different reasons. City Sleep was written from the perspective of me versus myself, and follows nights that I spent wide awake and haunted by my own thoughts. Jarrod coached me in the studio to return to the mental space I was in during the nights that inspired those lyrics so we could achieve a genuine energy for the track. That was the hardest studio day of my life. I broke down on the floor after the last take, and I can hear that pain in my voice every time I listen to it. The “bonus” track – a voice memo – was recorded in my band house before the band split up. There’s so much to unpack in that one messy take. I debated including it, but I knew it would help me close the chapter I mentioned before. It’s as raw as it gets, and I listen to it now and realize it was a prediction of all that would come to an end later that year.
RDFO: While the KG Lillian project may be fairly new, can you tell us about some other projects you were a part of before going solo?
KG: Prior to releasing projects solo, I was in a band called January May. It was actually formed as a duo when I was in high school and grew to a trio when we won a worldwide internet competition called Artist Signal. The prize funded our debut album which eventually led to our move to Austin, TX. We had the time of our lives touring, playing local festivals, and living together as a band until internal relationships and pressure split us. I think it’s somewhat of a classic story but it sucked nonetheless; someone once compared it to a divorce and I think that was pretty accurate for us. Looking back, I appreciate everything I experienced with January May because I learned so much and evolved into who I am now because of it. I’m also still proud of the music, which is still available for streaming! If you’re curious enough to check it out, Young and Ropes were a couple of my favorite tracks.
RDFO: If there was one line you wrote on this whole EP that you are really, really proud of, what would it be?
KG: I love this question – thank you for asking it! I love the bridge of City Sleep, especially the first line: “This city is so alive it’s electric this city will eat you alive if you let it.” It’s simple, but pays tribute to Austin, TX and what I experienced when I first moved there. I was actually told the second line by someone I spoke to briefly when I first moved who doubted my abilities entirely, and it stuck with me ever since. These two lines summarize the excitement and fear that came with restarting my life miles away.
RDFO: What drives you to make music and what are you hoping listeners get when they stumble across this new project?
KG: Like most artists, music is the place I go when I need a vessel for my emotions. What started as an unintentional form of therapy for my younger self has grown into what I feel is an actual working ventricle of my heart. I’m convinced my body would stop working if I quit writing. Those feelings pushed me to pursue it passionately, and the response I got after releasing for the first time is what kept me dedicated to sharing my music. Again like most artists, it was overwhelming to find that people listening were feeling understood simply by identifying and connecting with my words and melodies. To know I’m causing someone to feel less alone, to feel heard, or to feel inspired is everything to me. You know how love is the best thing there is? That is love. I feel so fucking loved. And that is the feeling I want people to be enveloped by when they hear my music.
RDFO: When COVID dies down and the world gets back to normal – do you plan on touring at all to support the EP? I’d love to catch you in NYC!
KG: I bet every artist is antsy as hell right now with no stages to step on. I miss performing so much! I absolutely want to tour. I’ve been debating sneaking in an acoustic tour before going full production, but we shall see. I definitely want to come to NYC for a set and ramble with you in person!
RDFO: Are there any words of encouragement you’d want to leave for other budding artists?
KG: I want anyone approaching this pursuit to know that it’s okay if things don’t happen as soon as you want them to. This 4 year EP taught me that more than anything else in my life has. Good things take time. If it was easy, everyone would do it. This world needs art to survive; now more than ever. That ventricle I have for my music? The world has one of those too. If you think there are too many already doing it, or that your art isn’t interesting enough, don’t feed those thoughts. Keep going. Keep evolving. Keep discovering your artistry. I’ve been lucky enough to receive those reminders so hopefully I can pass that message along to someone else who needs to hear them too. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Brian. I’m a fan of you too, you know! I hope you enjoyed Palm Valley and I look forward to working on the next project to send your way. Talk to you soon!