To create his sophomore album Kyle had to go back to the past.
The rapper/singer/songwriter/actor released See You When I am Famous!!!!!!!!!!!! (7/17 via Atlantic) and tapped into his awkward yet confident high school persona. The cover features a teenaged Kyle Harvey’s senior photo which contains “zero swag” according to the rapper and the title was his senior quote. But that’s what this album’s all about he says. Having the utmost belief in yourself even when no one else does.
That infectious energy runs throughout the album creating a bright and bustling collection of tunes that Kyle says just might save this bummer of a summer.
Kyle hopped on a call with Music Choice recently to break down the new album, his bustling acting career, Gameboys, and a whole lot more. Check it all out below and make sure to catch Kyle’s jams on MC’s Music Choice Max channel!
MC: Congratulations on the release of See You When I am Famous!!!!!!!!!!!! First off, how did you decide on the exact number of exclamation points to use in the title?
K: We’ve got 12 on there [laughs]. It’s my senior year quote and I was running out of time to write it. I was down to the last seconds of class and didn’t know what to put. So, to sum up my high school experience I wrote that. It’s a bold statement. You scream it from the rooftops!
MC: 12 question marks don’t hit the same. How did you decide on the cover image?
K: I’ll do you one better; I’ll walk you through the entire day that photo was taken. I had missed the first round of senior portraits at school and had one make-up day. That day I was super late and had to decide between getting a haircut or making sure I showed up on time. I skipped the barber and that’s why my line-up is crazy.
The good thing about this being the cover art is that the entire See You When I am Famous motto is you don’t need money or skills or connections. You don’t even need the haircut! You need an unshakeable belief in yourself. That’s what I wanted to show people. Even this guy with zero swag can make it.
MC: In the time between your debut and this new album how have you grown and changed as an artist?
K: I think from my debut I had a message about battling my own sadness and depression. It was such an art project and I was trying to flex as an artist in how musical I could be. After that, I’ve realized every artist is put on this planet to do one thing. Someone makes protest music, and someone makes wedding songs, you know.
I wanted to remain the same 17-year-old I was when I was making music in my grandma’s house. I discovered confidence in myself being the artist that is here to help you improve your mood.
MC: During the creation of this record were there times where you felt that inner 17-year-old slipping away? Maybe you were recording something you didn’t totally feel.
K: I kind of work in a machine gun way. I can do so many different things musically that I spray them out. It came down to the tracklisting. I tapped back into myself for the final time before dropping. I had to think about why I like this song. Is it because I want cool people to like it and think I’m Mr. cool guy? Is it because I want girls to like it? I had to get to the core reason I liked a song.
Every song I chose was because it brought out a youthful energy and made me feel better.
MC: Is there one song that encapsulates that youthful energy?
K: Yep, “Mr. Man & K.i.D.” It’s me reconnecting with my past and fully arriving at the place of the little kid in me again. It’s me and my best friend trading rap verses for three minutes just like when we started. There’s no hook. I’m just having fun rapping with my friend.
MC: You worked with several collaborators from different genres on the album. Was there one who inspired or pushed you the most?
K: I gained the most inspiration working with Jonny Pierce who is in this band The Drums. His music is so epic, and I wanted this album to sound like home when I was growing up, which was Ventura, CA. Jonny knows how to make a song more than just an mp3 you have on. He makes them with emotion and feeling. Everything he said or played for me makes you want to laugh or cry.
He was involved in 7 of the 12 songs on the record. From writing to sampling to everything.
MC: Working with him gives you a different perspective as I don’t think he’s working on or has worked on much rap music.
K: He’s not doing any! He didn’t even know what trap music was. He kept asking me what was going on right now. He didn’t know who Future was!
MC: Your single with Tyga and Johnny Yukon “Money Now” is taking off. How have you felt about the reception so far?
K: It’s great. I feel like it’s trying to save summer from complete bleakness. This year has been rough and hopefully, this song helps people escape a little bit. You can’t not smile when you hear it.
MC: I wanted to pivot a bit to talk about your acting career. Is there an actor/musician you’ve always looked up to in the way they have run their career?
K: Will Smith. Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be like him. I was listening to all the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff songs. Not just singles. I have always admired his charisma and ability to make any person get this bubbly feeling. He has true star power.
Growing up I knew I wanted to be in movies and make fun rap music. I wanted to make music that brought families together.
MC: You are in the Russo Brothers (Avengers films) upcoming film Cherry; can you tell me a bit about it and your role? The book it’s based on is one intense read.
K: It’s only being directed by the guys who have the highest-grossing film of all time! Everyone involved is so immensely talented. Tom Holland is the star and I think this is a career-defining performance for him.
I play “Roy,” a friend of Tom’s character. They’re friends who go to the War in Iraq and come back to a different America and get caught up in the opioid crisis… and bank robbing. It’s very deep and very dark. Hopefully, it’s coming out real soon!
MC: I wanted to ask about the two Gameboy chains you’re wearing. Speaking so much of your youth earlier, was the Gameboy a big part of yours?
K: I was a huge Gameboy head. I probably spent a third of my life playing Pokémon and Star Wars games on them. I am a professed gamer and I always will be.
MC: Lastly, do you have a message for any fans or listeners reading this?
K: I hope you listen to my new album and find self-confidence in yourself and chase whatever dream you have in your head. Go for your dreams and believe in yourself even if no one else does.