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Slidin’ Thru: Kyle Dion

Kyle Dion is here to bring back that soulful, 90’s R&B that we all know and love. With today’s generation of ever-changing sounds and styles, the Florida native pays no mind to what the hype or trend is, he stays true to his roots in instrumentation and funky pop, soul, and jazz-influenced spirit. Read more…

Since his 2016 single “Hold On To Me,” the 23-year-old has toured around the world, flexing a falsetto that refuses to be overlooked. Amassing a cult following and staying consistent in unleashing heartfelt records filled with love, lust, and all the in between, Kyle has fans at the edge of their seat with his forthcoming full-length debut, slated to arrive in the near future.

While he remains elusive on the project’s title, listeners can revisit “Brown” and “Spend It” to hold them over.

For those who don’t know, who is Kyle Dion?
That’s the question isn’t it? Nah, I’m just fucking with you. Who is Kyle Dion? Just a soulful motherfucker. He’s chill, a vibe. I’m still trying to figure out who the fuck Kyle Dion is too. [laughs]

Where do you fit in the realm of R&B and hip-hop?
I fit in my realm. I coexist with everyone that’s doing their thing in R&B. I’m loving the vibe. I’m loving where R&B is going, where soul is going. Everyone is not afraid to do what they wanna do.

You’re from Florida, how does that play into your life and career?
Florida has its own movement. Especially where I am from, people are starting to discover Broward County. Before, I wouldn’t be able to say I’m from Broward. People would be like “what the hell is that? Now, there are so many people coming out of there, even South Florida, Miami, etc. Subconsciously, I’m sure it has a lot to do with how I go through this world and my career. Moving out here to LA was different because that’s kind of molded me as well. It’s very gritty over here. Everybody’s moving and there are so many different artists. It’s a melting pot of talent, so it’s just had me work and stay focused.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It is very important ‘cause everybody is here. I’ve made crazy connections with amazing artists that if I wasn’t living in LA, I wouldn’t be able to have that connection with them. Definitely if you’re an up and coming artist, you should come out here to LA and check out the culture.

How long have you been here now?
3 years. I came out here for the music. I came out here in 2016 when I first started my second EP, Painting Sounds. I was just doing my thing. Had to get a little job and then I dropped the project, and it did well.

What’s your favorite part about the city?
The mountains, ‘cause Florida is so flat. Being here and seeing mountains and also palm trees, it’s like a mix of New York and Florida. That’s what I like about it.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
When I could quit my job and make money from it, and tour. Just the people responding, that’s when I knew. People are constantly discovering me and it’s amazing. It’s pretty.

What were you doing in Florida before?
After I graduated, I worked on my first mixtape, Sixes & Sevens, and put that out in 2014. Even from working in Florida and making that mixtape, I connected with artists out here in LA. I flew out here to work with Kehlani and was on her first mixtape. So even though I was working in Florida, I still had to come out here and vibe with different artists, ‘cause a lot of people weren’t in Florida. Living in LA has helped me tremendously.

How did you link with Kehlani?
We just linked online. It was through Vine and shit, when Vine was poppin’. We were like “we need to do a song together.” I was out there and we just did the song. It was very simple. She was like, “I have to put this on the project.” I was like “alright.”

I feel like Vine has been a determining factor for a lot of artists these days.
Vine is crazy, but it’s gone now.

“Brown” is such a vibe. Talk about the elements of soul and 90’s R&B you bring.
Thank you. I’ve grown up listening to Usher, 112, and just all the R&B cats back in the 90’s. Just being inspired by different sounds in that era definitely sculpted who I am today. All those artists back then.

How does that fit into your upcoming project? Is there a name?
Yeah, there is a name. You can’t know yet. [laughs] We’re releasing it soon. But definitely, it’s in my voice. I always say I’m R&B/bass, so it’s very eclectic project. It dabbles in soul, it dabbles in rock, but it’s always R&B because my voice comes from R&B. I could be on any kind of track and you’d still hear that R&B flavor.

You just released “Not All The Way.” What was your mindstate in creating this one?
“Not All The Way” just plays a part in the album. The album is conceptual. It’s a part of the album where the character is… what’s the word? He has a triangular relationship. There’s a term: polyamory? It’s just about going through different things with your lover and owning up to your shit. Just taking things slow and riding it, vibing and figuring it out. Not rushing into things too much, ‘cause that kind of messes things up.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?
I want fans to get dedicated and inspired to create, ‘cause I create music that’s not so trendy. I’m not afraid to make what I feel without compromising the art. I really don’t care and it resonates with people. Just always be you. I just celebrated my 4th anniversary with my mixtape. I put it online and everybody was going crazy, ‘cause I’ve always taken R&B and made it how I want to make it and not conform.

What is your take on the music industry?
Be careful. Stay by you and be you. Don’t get clouded. Don’t get distracted. This industry is very flashy and for lack of a better term, a little fake. You just gotta keep it together and stay by you. Ride for you, ‘cause nobody else gonna ride for you but you.

You’ve traveled across the country to perform. Best memory on tour?
I toured earlier this year with PARTYNEXTDOOR. We went to Europe, that was my crazy memory. The whole tour was crazy. That was my first time being on a tour bus, like a double-decker bus. We were just traveling, vibing out, and being rockstars. My last memory of tour is getting fucked up in London.

Talk about touring with PND who has made a name for himself in the game. Did he give you any advice?
Oh, he has given me so much advice. He is the homie, I’ve known him for a few years now. He is just always checking up on me and making sure I’m good. He’s set me up on a good path. I learned and take a lot from him. He’s just a dope guy.

Did you guys make music together?
We’ve made so much music together. It’s not out, but we recorded a lot of music together.

What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
To go on my own tour and sell it out.

What did you do with your first check?
It’s probably gonna sound corny, but I probably just put it back into my music. Got some studio time and invested in myself.

How important is social media for your career?
Unfortunately, it’s so important. [sighs] I’m not a social media person, but it is important these days. You have to be on social media and connect with everyone. If you’re not for like 48 hours, people think you died and they forget about you. You have to be in their face 24/7. It’s a little frustrating but it’s cool too. It’s cool to connect with people instantly. Your fans being right there, every second of the day, you can just connect with them. It’s an amazing time to live, but I also love how back in the day, it was kind of a mystic vibe. You really didn’t know what your favorite artist was doing all the time. When you seen them at a show, it really mattered. Just those special moments.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
A normal day since making this album for a year and a half, has been get up and figure out how I’m getting this album done. That’s all it’s been. Just getting this album together, whether it’s working on creative stuff, being in the studio, fixing, mixing, mastering, all that. Just getting it prepared to release.

Do you engineer yourself?
I can. I engineer a lot of my recording. I recently learned Pro Tools so I was able to do that for a lot of the records on the album. I kind of like that too because I work fast. I hate having to be like “oh stop, I’ma go back.” I like knowing how to do everything so I can record and be super fast with it. [snaps]

3 things you need in the studio?
Henny. What else… Henny. [laughs] And some good company. Henny twice, that’s it. I’m cheating.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Probably, I don’t know I’ve always done music. Since I was young, I’ve always been in music and known I want to do music, so I’ve never wanted to do anything else. The alternative… maybe fashion. I fell in love with fashion. I love clothes. I like putting a lot of shit together, and expressing myself that way too.

Favorite song to perform in a set?
“Spend It.” It’s fun.

What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
This is funny. I was coming from a party the other night and I took an Uber pool because that shit was far. You can’t beat that price, just Uber all the time, damn. I hopped in the Uber and the girl had “Brown” on her phone. I was like, “You listening to me?” She was like, “Oh my god, get the fuck out of here. I love you.” The Uber driver was like, “Wait, what is happening back there?” She’s like, “This is Kyle Dion, I listen to him all the time. Play his song!” We played “Not All The Way,” and we dropped her off.

There was another passenger and when she got out, she took a selfie with me. Then the Uber driver got out, and she wanted to take a selfie with me. The other passenger in the car was like, “I didn’t know I was in here with an artist, I gotta take a picture with you man.” So I took a picture with everyone in the car. She dropped me off like, “I’m gonna vibe out to your music. I’m so glad she put me on,” blah, blah, blah. That was cool.

This was in LA?
It was here, it was a couple days ago. She interviewed me and everything. She was like,” How long have you been doing music?” Cool girl. Bebe, I remember her name. Shout out to Bebe.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
I can check? [pulls out phone] Recently played, I’ve been playing Ella Mai. I love Ella. I like this one guy, Allen Stone. He’s dope, I just got put on to him a couple days ago. And Teyana Taylor. I love Teyana. Keep That Same Energy!

Dream collab?
Living or dead?

Alive, so we can make it happen.
Pharrell.

To produce or to rap?
Both.

What advice do you have for an aspiring Kyle Dion?
It sounds cliche and everybody says it, but really don’t give up. Because you are gonna go through ups and downs. At your deepest darkest times, it’s gonna look like nothing is working and you are never gonna get on top, you are never gonna be never make it, but you will if you just keep going. 100%, just keep going.

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