Following her studies at the Eastman School of Music, Dani DiCiaccio, aka KYOSi began producing music and adding her vocal talents to a band in Ithaca, NY, before embarking on a solo career in 2011. Several years on, she’s grown in confidence, both as an individual and as an artist, and earned herself growing attention from both fans and critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Having recently released her EP Negative Space, KYOSi spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about song-writing inspiration, the country she’d most love to perform in and where she’d like to see the music industry go in years to come.
TITL: At what age did you first think you wanted to make music your career, and have you ever had any other career plans or ideas since then?
KYOSi: Nah it was always about music. I think it was in middle school, so about 14.
TITL: The music industry is packed with an array of talent from around the world, so what makes you stand out? If you had to sell yourself and your music to a fan or critic in a sentence or two, what would you say?
K: I would say that I’m not trying to sell myself to you, and I hope you find whatever artist speaks to you without having to jump through hoops.
TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced by and how do they impact the music you make?
K: I love The Invisible, Arca, Beck, Lizzo, Lotic, Sophie, Sevdaliza, JPEGmafia. Everybody is just killing it. I’m so inspired by the artists of this time and feel pushed to be my best.
TITL: Tell me a little about your EP Negative Space. Where’d the idea for the title come from?
K: The title is about loss of self, loss of love and the search that persists after which you’ve lost a part of yourself.
TITL: The EP explores class politics and race/gender issues among other topics – was that an intentional decision or just something that emerged while you were writing?
K: Pretty much everything I think about these days leads back to class and the “invisible” power dynamics that exist between people with different access to money. So it wasn’t conscious but I’m not trying to hide anything.
TITL: Which track on the EP might you say you’re most proud of and why?
K: Aw man I’m proud of all of them. “Boo Radley” is the one I wanted most to reach people, and it has so I’m happy.
TITL: In terms of your lyrics and general song-writing from who or from where do you find most of your inspiration?
K: NYC. The subway. I love how the haves & have-nots are crammed into the same places. Endlessly inspiring to me.
TITL: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Can it depend on the subject you’re wanting to write about or your frame of mind at the time?
K: The latter. I try not to approach it in thinking it’s easy or hard. It’s something I do and I have to work at it. The thing that varies is inspiration. Sometimes ideas are there and sometimes not but either way I need to work at it and be there for them when they decide to show up.
TITL: Your music has so far been praised/championed by the likes of EARMILK and Impose Magazine, but do you care much as to what critics think or are you more concerned about the views and thoughts of your fans? What’s the nicest thing anyone has written/said about you?
K: Love from organizations I care about is so humbling but of course, ultimately I care about what fans think. I think the nicest thing someone said to me once is that she felt like it was music that helped him bridge the conversational gap between themselves and their dad. I guess his dad is an old school jazz head so they were able to find common ground in my music.
TITL: You’ve performed on both sides of the Atlantic but if you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why? Are there any tour plans in the works?
K: That’s such a tough question! I’d love to play somewhere in Japan, like an intimate venue. I have a number of listeners in Tokyo so as of now that would be my dream gig. No tour plans in the works but will do some local shows in 2020.
TITL: Are you a fan of social media and is it something you’ve found helpful or a hindrance in terms of being able to connect with/grow your fan-base and potential audience?
K: 98% hinderance. 2% helpful tool to connect with people around the world.
TITL: Are there any other plans in the pipeline for the rest of the year or are you looking ahead to 2020?
K: The music video for “Boo Radley” is coming out September 19th! Then I’m taking some time to work on other projects and become a human again.
TITL: Lastly, where do you see the industry going in the years and decades to come? What would you like to see happen in terms how the industry grows and is shaped by both the emerging and established artists who bring so much pleasure to fans around the world?
K: I’d like to see more chances taken on artists who don’t have huge social media followings. I’d like to see a true return to eccentricity for artists. I see more AI producing music, like it or not.