A Conversation w/ Kaash Paige: Debut Album ‘Teenage Fever’, Musical Influences, Crafting a Signature Sound & More

“I just got to be myself at all times and always speak about how I’m feeling regardless of how it may come off. You have to be vulnerable in your music at all times.”

-Kaash Paige

If there’s one thing thats for sure, is that the women are on the rise right now in the music industry. Competing in a world that has been predominately ran by males is something that many have struggled with for a long time. That is, up until this year. In 2020 alone, we have seen many more female rappers and singers emerging and gaining enough momentum to make it onto peoples radars. One of the biggest stars to blossom this year, would undeniably be the Texas-native Kaash Paige.

With the success of her ever-so-popular “Love Songs” record blowing up with over 15 million TikTok clips, as well as over 725 million streams, Kaash Paige was destined for success right from the jump. The “Kaash” in her name standing for “Kill All Arrogance–Stop Hatred”, she is one of the youngest R&B stars in the game now that is no stranger to showing the world just how creative she is and can be. Collaborating earlier this year on Don Toliver’s Heaven or Hell project, Kaash Paige gained another great look on the song “Euphoria” alongside fellow Texas-native Travis Scott–which Kaash also notes that was her song before she handed it over to Don. Seeing as how amazing and grand that record was, as well as her 2019 project Parked Car Convos, I knew immediately that I had to keep a very close eye on her–for she was gearing up to go on a crazy run and deliver some of the most soothing and eye-opening music to come out in recent times.

I was fortunate enough to speak with her regarding the release of her debut album Teenage Fever, her creative process behind all of her work, the greats who inspire her, maintaining positive energy, and so much more. Read our conversation below and be sure to check out her latest project Teenage Fever at the end of the reading!

 

 


 

First and foremost, congratulations on the release of your debut album Teenage Fever. How are you feeling about everything right now surrounding the release?

 KP: I’m doing really good. Everyone is loving it. I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback on the project from everyone. Sometimes it doesn’t really feel like seeing it climb up the charts the way that it has, but overall I’m happy right now. It’s a good feeling.

You dropped Parked Car Convos last year—what’s different about this project opposed to that one?

KP: Parked Car Convos was the mixtape/EP, and I kind of treated that like the pre-game of what’s next to come. It was kind of an introduction to who I am as a person. With Teenage Fever it was like elaborating on that sound. So it was like alright this is Kaash Paige and this is a full body of work. I just wanted to get super vulnerable and open with my lyrics this time around and just let people know my story of being a teenager. I’m only 19 years old, so this is just reflecting on some of the things that I’m going through right now as a teenager. The creative process is the same here as it was with Parked Car Convos though. I recorded everything in a dorm room with my homie Sonic Major. I wanted to keep everything the same to maintain that original vibe.

On the project, you have your second collab with Don Toliver on “Grammy Week” (the first being “Euphoria”), tell me a bit about you guys’ relationship? I know both of you are from Texas.

 KP: I connected with him cause my manager is from Houston and he has connections with him. He got us in the studio, we vibed out, I played “Euphoria” for him and he was like “bet, let me get on this shit” and he hopped on. In due time, he ended up wanting the record for himself and he wanted Travis to get on it too. So we ended up doing a swap. We went to Cactus Jack Studios and I gave him “Euphoria” and he cut “Grammy Week” for me. We only got two joints right now, but he showed me some more records he wanted me to cut for him. It’s kind of hard to collab right now cause of COVID but Don is always down to just create and vibe out. I might end up doing something crazy with the visuals for that song though.

 

 

I feel like the women are really dominating the game right now and not just in rap, but in all genres period. How do you feel about the women in the game finally getting the shine that they deserve now?

KP: I think it’s amazing. I feel like the women should always get their shine. Megan Thee Stallion is going crazy, Cardi is going crazy—I think it’s just dope to see all the women thriving right now. In time I hope that I can work with all of them and even artists like Summer Walker too. It’ll happen real soon.

Aside from the artists you just named, who else are you looking to connect with and get something cooking?

I wanna collab with everybody, man. I really wanna tap in with Drake, Lil Wayne, SZA, Frank Ocean—I wanna tap in with a lot of people and really just catch a vibe with them. I feel like right now we just gotta wait and see. Either you gonna hit their DM, or you’ll catch them out somewhere, but it’s a lot harder now to get in with people cause of what’s going on.  I’m still making moves though. I’m a Capricorn so I’m a hustler and I’m gonna always keep it going and connect with people. All of the features on my album is because of me hitting people up myself.

Speaking of features, tell me a little bit about SSG Kobe—I had never heard of him before he was on your joint.

 KP: He’s a superstar. He was an artist that reached out to me and was like “yo, I’m a huge fan, I made this song when you inspired me when I was going through a heartbreak”. I listened to the song and I was like damn this dude is hard. Tapped in with him and gave him my number instantly. I recorded this one song that was gonna be “Love Songs Part II”, but I was like imma just send it to Kobe. He ended up sending it back and it went crazy. I hit him up and let him now that he was gonna be on my album and he just started going insane. He got some crazy songs coming too.

 

You have an amazing ear for music and just picking out what sounds right. Have you ever thought about bringing up a collective of artists and producers yourself?

 KP: I haven’t really thought about bringing up a collective. When I used to think of collectives, I used to think of how Odd Future and Loiter Squad just going around vlogging and shit alongside the music. With me, I got my homies with me and all, but I never really thought about bringing a group of artists with me. I always thought it wouldn’t be the right timing just because it’s like how can I bring up a group when I’m still trying to establish my own career at the same time. I just don’t want to get lost in it. Let me get to where I need to be first, then once I feel like I’m established enough, then I can be like okay, I’m ready to do this. To be quite honest, I only really want to do music for maybe, 2 to 4 more years. I have way bigger things and dreams in mind that I want to get into. Kind of like how Frank Ocean does a bunch of other things and releases music whenever he feels like it—that would be me.

What are some of the other things you want to get into once you think you’re finished with your music career?

 I want to do a cartoon show on Adult Swim. I want to invest into an amusement park. Like I said before, once I’m more established I would start a label, but I would want to focus on once particular artist. If I was more established right now, I would for sure sign SSG Kobe and just be his A&R. I would wanna see my artist on stage with a million fans going crazy. I would wanna be in the studio with my artist producing and vibing with them. I love making my own music, but I want to do it all.

I actually produced on some of the songs on my project. I did the baseline on “Soul Ties”, I did the vocal instrumentation on “Karma”—I did a whole bunch of shit on my project besides just writing and singing the lyrics. I’m seriously into producing and creating sounds. It was something that I eventually just picked up on along the way, but I always knew what sounded good in a beat. I remember being in school making beats on the table with a pen. Once I found out who Kaash Paige was and what her sound was gonna be, it was like okay bet let me take full control of my music now. Sonic Major has a sound about him that just feels like euphoria like you’re in a muse. He really crafted his own sound with something like creating baselines and shit, and you really don’t hear that too much anymore.

So you mentioned that you had to take that time and figure out not only who Kaash Paige was, but what her sound was going to be. Safe to say, you’ve done a pretty amazing job at doing so. How did you end up coming into the game with such a distinct sound?

KP: I used to play a lot of video games coming up, and a lot of those soundtracks are literally burned in my brain. Games like Tony Hawk and any game with a dope soundtrack, it put me onto a lot of older music like Nas and Slick Rick. I used to listen to a lot of Kid Cudi too and that really helped shaped who I am. I was just into a lot of different sounding music and it really just helped shaped me musically into who I am today. When I think of music, I think of feeling. When I listen to songs, I be like can this guitar string make me melt? Like that’s how I look at everything about music—I got to feel it before anything. Every single artist has to make you feel something when you listen to it. Listening to SZA could make you happy sometimes, sad other times. Listening to Chief Keef might make you wanna go crazy in the club or some shit. If it’s not that, it ain’t music.

So before you go into making a song, you always have to start with a feeling?

KP: Exactly. I’ll be in the studio with the homies playing me beats and I’ll be like “yo what does this beat make you feel like?”. Or I’ll play a key and then ask them what does this make you think of?  And then everybody tells me their opinions. After that I just go in the booth and freestyle, I cannot write anything. I got “overthinking kills” tattooed on my neck for a reason. Whenever I write, I just feel like I think about it way too much. So I trained my brain to just be able to go in the booth and create whatever comes to mind. But it all comes from how I feel in that moment. It’s just like, why would I sit in the studio writing a song and take up hours and hours of my session. I can’t really sit there and harp on one thought or one song for too long, or I’m gonna get irritated. I know some artists like to go in and create that vibe and that’s cool too. If we in that setting where we gonna make a song together, I’ll vibe with you but when I’m ready to go, I’m ready. Let me go first and whenever you want to lay your part down, you can do that.

With you being from Texas, it’s a lot of other artists in the game right now killing it from there such as Megan Thee Stallion, Travis Scott, Don Toliver & Tay Money. How do you feel about Texas being on the rise right now?

KP: I’m absolutely loving the fact that the south is on the rise right now. I feel like Texas has unique sounds and everybody has their own sound. I really just want Texas to be THAT place, you know? When you think of music now, you think of Atlanta, New York, Detroit, Cali, etc. When people think of Texas, they only think of certain people. I just can’t wait for that moment where Texas will get the light shined on it.

You brought up a lot of musical inspirations like Frank Ocean, SZA, Erykah Badu—what do those artists sound mean to you and what does their music mean to you?

 KP: I feel like they just don’t try at all when they make music. Their music just comes out so effortlessly and naturally. SZA can get on a song and say anything honestly and it would hit me. It’s just real music to me. I really embrace natural talent and just naturally dope people all around. I love being at peace. I feel like if you’re not at peace, how can you get in your zone if your mind ain’t right?

Looking at your career, it seems like it took off at such a fast rate. How has it been for your coping with being a star? Things like interviews, having to monitor your words on social media, etc.

KP: One thing I had to really learn was just move and talk like somebody is watching you, even if they aren’t. When you just said, “watching what you say”, I had to really pay attention to my words and how I be saying shit. I’m so openly honest and sometimes I don’t care. People don’t really like that, like you can’t just say whatever comes to your mind, and I had to learn that for real. Sometimes I like to keep it short and simple and not say too much. When you get to going off too much, people may start to look at you different.

Coming into the game at such a young age, did it force you to have to mature a lot faster than you maybe would have had you not been in the music industry?

KP: For me, I kind of always had been maturing even before I was even making music. When I was in school, I used to always be around seniors and shit. I think I just kind of started to grow mentally with it now. This music industry can have you real jaded. There’s a lot of things that can break you. Like we talked about earlier, someone can take your words and twist them up and all of that. I had to learn how to adapt with that mentally.

People say all types of wild shit online like someone may say my music is trash or something, and it would get to me for a split second and have me like “damn, is my shit really trash?”. But one thing I had to learn growing up is that people are gonna hate on anything regardless of who you are. I look at Drake as someone who’s at the top of the game and has been for years. If someone could hear a Drake song and say its trash, I really don’t care what anybody got to say about my music. I had to learn to deflect that negativity.

What was one of your favorite moments during the creative process of making Teenage Fever?

 KP: Shit, the moment I turned that hoe in and was ready to drop it. I was supposed to drop the album in like May, but COVID delayed it. Then I was like okay I’m gonna drop it in June, and then July, then it was just like damn when is it gonna come. August just felt like the perfect timing though and my team we crazy, my management team went crazy, and I just feel like I wanted to drop it right now. This year, I never would have thought that I would get a Travis Scott feature, a viral song, a plaque and all of that. It just felt amazing just knowing that I’m going right, I’m going hard and the people around me are going hard—nothing can stop me and it won’t stop me.

I want to talk about “Break Up Song” a bit because you got some quotables on there. Like when you said “Put a AP on your wrist, you my possession”, it reminded me of that “she belongs to the streets” clip by Future. Was that line inspired by him?

 KP: Hell yeah. I feel like everybody know Future out here putting AP’s on wrists, so I was like bet I’m about to say the same fly shit. Am I out here putting AP’s on wrists? Hell no—but I just had to throw that in there to show how toxic I can be sometimes. I just got to be myself at all times and always speak about how I’m feeling regardless of how it may come off. You have to be vulnerable in your music at all times.

 

I’m glad you said that too because recently, we have been starting to get that real raw and uncut honesty out of the women in the game now. Normally we don’t hear a lot about the women being toxic, but lately we have been starting to hear more toxicity coming from the women.

 

KP: I just feel like you have to be vulnerable in your music at all times. I remember one of the first vulnerable songs I made was “Heartbreaker”. I was in the booth, and my old manager at the time was like “these strings are amazing—you got to go hard on this”, and I’m just like “I don’t really know what to say”. He was telling me to talk about what I’m really living right now . I told him that I recently told a girl that I loved her, and I didn’t really mean it. Then he was like “go in there and talk about that!”. Once I found out that people loved stuff like that and they love when you can just keep it real and relatable, that’s the cheat code.

 

 

 

When you’re not recording, what are some of the things you like to do on your free time?

 

KP: Hang out with hoes [laughs]—really I just be chilling though. I love recording so much and I love just being around music all the time—so when I’m not able to do that, I really don’t be doing much. Especially right now we can’t really go anywhere or do anything. I’m in LA right now, but I can’t wait to get back to Texas. I recorded my album out here but it’s just not the vibe that I want. The scenery is really pretty out in LA and it does make you want to create. I’m just so used to that southern hospitality for real. Down in the south, you can walk into a room and speak to everybody and hug them and all of that. If you do that out in LA, people look at you funny like damn why you so friendly.

 

 

A lot of artists now a days are really into the numbers side of things when it comes to their releases. Is that something that is on your mind a lot?

 

KP: Hell yeah. Sometimes I look at the numbers just to kind of see what I can do next. If it’s not streaming the way it should be, that means that we need to do more promo. I know my music is good. If you don’t like my music then that’s fine—I don’t care. I always look at the streams and look at it as what I need to do to get the music out there. With “Love Songs”, I made that when I was like 18. That shit just blew up last year. So it just shows me about the timing of everything and what I need to do to make sure my music is heard all around.

 

 

What do you want the world to remember Kaash Paige for?

 

KP: Remember Kaash Paige for being cool as hell, always treating people for how she wants to be treated, keeping it solid, and always with the peace. Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m all about just being peacefully and keeping my peace. I’m really big on energy, so I’m everybody’s homie as long as you cool with me.