Lili K is a talented singer/songwriter who recently released her single, “Magic” off of her forthcoming album, Planet of Flowers.
Check out our interview as we chat about her music, inspiration behind “Magic”, and more!
upfrontNY: How did you get involved in music?
Lili K: Honestly, I have to thank arts education for getting me involved in music. I attended public schools my whole life, but I was lucky enough to have the most AMAZING choir teachers that helped me find my voice. Without arts education, I probably would have kept singing just for fun. But when you are given the proper tools and the right encouragement, you realize that your dreams can actually become reality.
upfrontNY: What or who inspired you to become a singer / songwriter?
Lili K: The list goes on and on, haha. Ella Fitzgerald and Rachelle Ferrell are probably my favorite vocalists of all time, as they’ve helped me to understand my voice. D’Angelo, Jill Scott, India.Arie, and Sharon Jones have made major impacts on me. Plus Aretha and Stevie, of course!
I will say that India.Arie’s album Voyage to India was the project that made me want to make full length albums. I was so in love with the songwriting and album sequencing, and after hearing it, I decided this was what I really wanted to do.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new single “Magic”?
Lili K: As women, we deal with sexism, misogyny, and rape culture every single day. Despite these struggles, we somehow maintain our magic. Magic was my way of turning something negative into something empowering.
upfrontNY: “Magic” has such a special powerful message for women. Why was it important to share this with others?
Lili K: It’s common for women to feel alone, especially after experiencing sexual harassment or abuse. Sometimes all we need is a little love and encouragement and sisterhood to get us through difficult times. When I released one of my earlier EPs a few years ago, I had a fan reach out to me and let me know that one of my songs helped her leave an abusive relationship. Ever since then, I’ve tried to use my art and my platform to empower women.
After releasing “Magic”, a few rape crisis centers and domestic violence centers started sharing the song & video on their social media platforms. Knowing that my art could potentially help a woman in need is one of the most beautiful feelings.
upfrontNY: What other women inspire you to continue to shine?
Lili K: My mama and my best friends inspire me every day. Artists like Esperanza Spalding, India.Arie, Erykah Badu, and the queen Beyonce are inspirations. My friends in the Chicago music scene, such as Eryn Allen Kane, The Rapper Chicks, and Krystal Metcalfe, to name a few, also inspire me.
upfrontNY: With Planet of Flowers coming out, what can others expect from this album?
Lili K: This album has a little bit of everything. Genre-wise, we touch on jazz, soul, rock, funk, pop, gospel, and even a bit of ska and reggae. Listeners can expect much more mature vocals from me, accompanied by lush arrangements played by The Lili K Band. I’ve grown so much (as a person and as an artist) since my debut album, Ruby, and I’m extremely proud to showcase that growth.
upfrontNY: Do you have a favorite song from the album?
Lili K: No exaggeration, my favorite song changes every day. There are many different messages and moods conveyed on Planet of Flowers, so my favorite song kind of depends on my mood at that moment.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your experience as a guest feature for Chance the Rapper?
Lili K: I worked with Chance on his first two mixtapes, 10 Day and Acid Rap, and I toured with him early on as well. It’s been super inspiring to see how far he’s come, and I’m honored to have been a part of his rise in the industry.
upfrontNY: Is there anything you want others to know about you or your music?
Lili K: I just want to express how grateful I am that I’ve been able to turn my passion into a career. I’m appreciative of every single person who listens to my music, who shares my music, who sings along with my music. Music is supposed to heal, and that’s what I hope my music will continue to do.
Get to know Lili K!