With an undeniably recognizable falsetto after the first listen, Kyle Dion possesses soul that extends far beyond his 21 years. His newfound cult following grew into a loyal fan base that gave his debut mixtape, Sixes and Sevens over 1.2 million plays. Way before any projects, Dion and Kehlani connected with each other on Soundcloud, forming a new, creative friendship, and she would later feature him on her first EP, Cloud 9. Dion’s youthful, genre-bending perspective is only just beginning, expanding even further with the release of his second full-length project, Painting Sounds, in early 2016.
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Mike O’Keefe: Coming from Florida describe your hometown a little bit. Where would you suggest a first-time visitor to see?
Kyle Dion: I would describe my hometown to be really small — very family oriented, very boring. It’s suburban and very quiet. If you were coming to Florida, I would suggest going to Miami. Miami is 40-minutes away from my hometown.
MO: You now live in Los Angeles, how was the transition going from Florida to the West Coast?
KD: Very different. The whole culture is different from Miami to LA — culture shock. I like the weather out in LA. Florida is very flat and in LA we have a lot of mountains and there is a lot of cool stuff you don’t get to see in Florida. It was definitely a culture shock.
MO: That’s great, a culture shock can be refreshing and eye opening. Was being involved in music something you always wanted to do, or was it an evolutionary process?
KD: Since I was little I always wanted to do music. I actually never really had anything else that I wanted to do, or never really did anything else. I felt like everything else wasn’t interesting to me. The music and the art was something I always wanted to do. I didn’t play any sports, or do anything that normal kids and teenagers do. I focus on my music 24/7 — always thinking about it. Building and building my empire and slowly getting up there.
MO: When you find something you really love it doesn’t feel like work.
KD: People always say you should find some other things as well, like hobbies and stuff. I just didn’t find anything else interesting. I know exactly what I want to do and I love doing it. There is no need to get into anything else.
MO: What is the first destination that comes to mind when you hear the word vacation?
KD: Damn, a whole bunch of places. I would say the islands. Maybe Hawaii or the Bahamas or something. Get away to somewhere tropical. I actually miss that about Miami — LA is definitely not as tropical as Miami. Miami is very island-y.
KD: You have to travel to promote your music. Get it out there, meet different people and also you can grab inspiration from different locations. If you stay in one place you are not going to mentally evolve. It’s great to get inspiration from different places — get different vibes and catch different energies.
MO: Absolutely. You just released Painting Sounds, which is awesome. Where did the inspiration come from for this project?
KD: It pretty much came from just different vibes from different places like you said traveling and taking my mind to a place where I’m not scared to do whatever. It came very organic — wasn’t really forced. It wasn’t like I am going to make a project on “this”. I went with it, and there was no direct motive — it all came organically.
MO: What kind of traveler are you? Do you try to relax on a beach or are you more active looking for adventure?
KD: Active. I love to go on adventures. The other day I started walking with my homeboy we walked all day, everywhere. We picked up some cool spices at a hole in the wall. There are a lot of little cool places around us — have to see what the Earth has to offer and travel. I don’t like to just sit and chill especially in the field that I’m in. I like to constantly work and get into something and gain inspiration.
MO: Everyone has a list of places they have not been to, what are three destinations you must see?
KD: I must see South Korea — my homeboy is from South Korea so I would like to see and experience their culture. I want to go to the [United Kingdom] and one more maybe France, but I also want to go to Africa. So, I gave you four.
MO: What does seeing and experiencing different cultures mean to you?
KD: It means a lot. Like I said one of my best friends is from South Korea we went to school together and is also my producer. He produced a lot of tracks for me on Soundcloud. He produced “Get You Alone” which is on Painting Sounds. Seeing what his culture is and working together musically it definitely brought out something that I wouldn’t get if I was just working with an American producer or something. There are different vibes and you are able to do different things. I want to experience all cultures. My culture is really cool, I grew up African you know Portuguese so it really means a lot. Culture is us.
MO: Lastly, what is next for you? Do you have any trips or tours planned?
KD: I have a bunch of shows coming up. I just shot a new music video for the project and hella shows. Going to get out there. I have a lot of things coming up for the summer and I’m excited to push the project. It’s exciting and I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback. So, I’m looking to perform in front of the fans. I cant wait!