“House music all night long!” That’s the chorus I used to hear on the regular that got me crunk about House Music. Based out of Chicago, House music was a street genre that would rival and often match Hip-Hop in popularity during the 1990s. House is the hybrid of Disco and the father to what we know today as dance or rhythm music: think Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, or Lady Gaga.
Melissa Young, known by many as “Kid Sister,” is an artist out of the Chi. Very down to earth and around the way, home girl first grabbed my attention back in 2007 with the cut “Pro Nails.” A fast and braggadocios hipster cut, “Pro Nails” featured Kanye West, giving it more points towards classic status. I recently chopped it up with Kid Sister to talk about what cranks her up, what’s on her plate, and Kid Sister…teacher?
DJ JELLY: Alright now! Where in the world does this Kid Sister name come from?!
KID SISTER: My brother chose it for me. He was going to do a whole scratch routine using the song from the “Kid Sister” commercials. He never did it but maybe one day…ONE DAY! [laughs].
JELLY: Who are your musical influences?
KID SISTER: Halloween haunted house cassettes and Frankie Beverly featuring Maze.
JELLY: Wow! That’s an interesting mix. Okay, so your career began in 2005. Did you just pick up the mic or was that the point where your people convinced you to become dedicated?
KID SISTER: My brother is part of a DJ squad called Flosstradamus. At the time the local music scene in Chicago was a lil’ stale. So, he would throw these “Get out of the Hood” block parties and I would emcee them. The dance and rapping became interchangeable. Of course, this blend of hip-hop, dance, and house morphed into my own lane. We eventually hooked up with A-trak, Kanye West’s DJ, and Fools Gold Creator.
JELLY: It’s floating around that you are the queen of the rap/dance/electro hybrid. How do you look at that position? Is it just to give you such a title? With other similar artists like M.I.A. and Santigold who have obviously exploited that lane is there a sisterhood or union amongst you all?
KID SISTER: Well, they actually came out before I did. Yes, we have similar styles. I have never collaborated with M.I.A although I would like to. Santigold is cool and I definitely admire what she and M.I.A do musically.
JELLY: The new project is titled…? What does Kid Sister want to establish with this project? Where are you taking your fans? And what is it that you want strangers to experience through this album?
KID SISTER: We haven’t come up with a title as of yet. I’ve been in Cali working and getting to it. On my production team I have “Get Busy Committee” and West Coast legend “Scoopdeville” of Snoop and Xzibit fame. Another production team, which was a blessing as well, reached out to me on this project. You might know them as The Neptunes. Pharrell has mutual respect for my movement and he and Chad wanted in. This project I’m doing is involving more rapping than singing. I’m not deviating from my core “Sister “audience at all. I’m very aware of my following. We’re just taking up the sound Classic cut another notch!
JELLY: If Kid Sister didn’t happen, what career path would Melisa Young have chosen?
KID SISTER: Teaching. That is still a future goal as well. My background is Native American, Irish, and Black. A sociology degree will be the next step after this career. Period. I communicate well with people and being bilingual is a plus for this field.
JELLY: In closing, Sister, what advice do you give new artist getting into the game? What tips can you give them that will help them on their journey?
KID SISTER: Well, first it’s important not to quit your day job! I didn’t quit until I was forced to do so. Even now I keep my relationship with my former employer because you never know. In this business, there are no guarantees. New artists, please be original! Let the music making and networking be organic! Don’t force yourself to be a carbon copy of the next Justin Bieber or Kanye West. That does not lead to a promising career! I’m not thrilled to hear a Lil Wayne sound a like. That is a sure way to being left in a pile. Nothing is glamorous about that! [Laughs.] The opportunities are for hungry and unique artists looking to fill the void.
JELLY: That’s what’s up! Get your rest on. Thanks a million gazillion times Melisa Young, Kid Sister! Keep cranking!