Kacy Hill’s debut album ‘Like A Woman’ sees her finding a number of truths - from the importance of relying on yourself above others, finding happiness in being alone and not lonely, as well as ideas surrounding acceptance and sex positivity.
Since signing to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music in 2014, Hill has released her ‘Bloo’ EP, and gone on to feature on label-mate Travis Scott’s ‘90210’, Kid Cudi’s ‘Releaser’, and Cashmere Cat’s ‘Europa Pools’ - but with her own full-length release now out in the world, the focus is solely on her captivating voice and sound.
We caught up with Kacy Hill recently at a sunny cafe in Los Angeles to discuss her debut album…
...being a woman is a really, really strong thing, and there is a lot of strength in being able to be vulnerable and open to being multifaceted...
COUP DE MAIN: You released both ‘Like A Woman’ and ‘Hard To Love’ at the same time - what was the decision process behind the dual release?
KACY HILL: I think a lot of it was just that I hadn’t put out music in so long and I feel like I wanted to get things out, you know? It felt good just to have more than one thing out, especially because even the EP was not a lot of music, so it was just kinda like, ‘Sup, I’m here!’
CDM: The album has been described as an “immersive sex positive experience” - which is a really rad idea, especially when we’re living in a world that politically is still quite difficult for these things to be talked about. Is it important for you to be candid about these things through your music?
KACY: Yeah. I think a big part of it too is like, there is so much of me on the Internet already, as far as the American Apparel images and things like that. I spent a lot of time trying to pretend that wasn’t there or to get rid of it in some way and I was like, “I think I’m doing myself a disservice.” I also feel like it almost makes it seems as if there is some shame in it and I felt kind of like there was a little bit of shame in it, in doing music, because everyone was sort of like, “You should get rid of those images, we should try and get them taken down.” So eventually I was like, “Nah, they’re going to exist and I took them for a reason and I didn’t feel bad taking them and I still don’t.”
CDM: It’s a cool realisation, because so many people try to hide the past, especially in music.
KACY: There is a lot of a pressure, and the Internet is forever anyway, so it’s like, fuck it, let me just exist. I think it was also a huge part of my narrative and what I am, I’ve talked a lot about sexual assault and stuff. I think that taking control of my own body and my sexuality and things that are on the Internet is a huge part of reclaiming what I am as a woman and kind of what my comfort-zone is. It’s just about doing things that make me feel good and make me feel comfortable.
CDM: I really love the ‘Hard To Love’ music video - it’s got such powerful imagery. The end of the video shows the other character washing off those words off you. Is the video going to be part of a series that makes up a bigger narrative?
KACY: Nah, I think that one was more an aesthetic choice. I guess you could find some symbolism in a lot of the things but I think that was very much just in some ways wiping a slate clean, but I think in a lot of ways it’s just kind of beautiful.
CDM: The song reminds me a little of Rupi Kaur’s poem from ‘Milk And Honey’ where she says: "I don’t crave easy. I crave goddamn difficult." Do you think love should be hard? Or easy?
KACY: It’s funny because I feel like I’ve always viewed love as being difficult because it seemed like it always conflicted with what I wanted to do and my goals and aspirations. It felt like I had to choose one or the other, to either be in love or to want to focus on your career and stuff like that. I think recently I’ve had my perspective changed and I’ve recently fallen in love with someone that I feel like I don’t have to compromise my life with, so I guess it’s just about-- I don’t know, you find perspectives in different relationships and things, but I think in general I’ve always been attracted to things that were difficult and things that were unsustainable.
CDM: I feel like society portrays love as always being difficult, so it’s what we’re used to.
KACY: I think it’s also a women-thing, like you either have to be a power woman, like a business woman, or you have to be-- you don’t wanna be in love and devote your whole life to something. But you’re allowed to do both.
CDM: Do you think the acquisition, or preservation of love is harder?
KACY: I think the preservation. It’s so easy for me to be infatuated with someone and forget about everything, so I’ve spent a lot of time not being in real relationships, just spending time with myself, and a lot of time in therapy to kind of figure out what it means to have that preservation and to have that kind of something sustainable, and something that will last. I think it’s about not letting go of yourself, and finding someone that supports what you are and who you are and your aspirations and your goals, and also not being co-dependent on other people.
HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE RELEASE OF 'LIKE A WOMAN'...
CDM: In 'Like A Woman' you examine the idea of being a woman. What does the word ‘woman’ mean to you?
KACY: For me, it’s just about finding my idea of femininity. Growing up and stuff, I was really afraid of being feminine just because it felt vulnerable and scary and it felt like pink! I always wore boy's clothes and rollerbladed, and still up until recent times I’ve just been afraid of that word. So for me it’s about being like, oh wait, being a woman is a really really strong thing and there is a lot of strength in being able to be vulnerable and open to being multifaceted. I think it’s about being multifaceted more than anything.
CDM: On ‘Cruel’ you sing, “When I used to live just to breathe you.” Do you think it can be unhealthy to live with a complete reliance on another human being?
KACY: Yeah! I think a lot of the album is about that, it’s about sitting with yourself and not being afraid of being really genuinely alone. I think there has been so many times in my growing-up that I felt like I had to always be focused on someone, I would always have this crush or infatuation or something where I could focus my energy. Where they almost kind of determine your mood. It’s like, “Oh, they didn’t text me right now, now I’m sad!” And, “Oh, they did! Now I’m happy!” You become really co-dependent on them, even if it’s this pseudo-relationship. It’s very weird, so a lot of the album is just discovering what it means to be alone and not lonely, and just finding comfort in that.
CDM: Do you have a favourite song, lyrically, on the album?
KACY: I don’t know, it’s tough. I think that ‘Clarity’ is just really tender to me, only because I think I wrote it at a time that I felt really sad and depressed. It’s about realising that you can be happy without being naive or stupid. You don’t have to forget that things exist and you don’t have to not be empathetic, but you can also let yourself be happy and still have empathy and still feel other ways.
CDM: Was there a reason why ‘Arms Length’ is the only song from the ‘Bloo’ EP that made it onto the album?
KACY: I think I just needed some more uptempo energy and I also redid it a little bit, I redid the production a little bit too. I think it just kind of helped it a bit and just gave it a little boost. So I felt like I was able to revive it and I also feel like it fit really well with the album and just wanted to put it on there.
CDM: In your Paper Mag interview you said you wanted to try out songwriting for other artists - is this something you’ve done any of yet?
KACY: No, I’ve been in this bubble from the album. Every time I’ve tried to write I’m like <bleurgghhh>, I don’t have the inspiration yet. I think in the past couple of weeks I’ve finally been able to go in the studio and write things again and I’m like, “Okay, I feel good.” Now that it is finally done I think I’ll probably start writing more.
CDM: Back when we first interviewed you, you said if your album was a dog, it’d be a pug, if it were an emoji, it’d be a cat heart face, an if it were a food it’d be a pesto ravioli. With the release of the album imminent now, do you think these comparisons are still apt?
KACY: The emoji might be more of a peach now… and then the dog could still be a pug. Food would definitely not be ravioli, I feel like the food is probably a cheese like a Comté or something.
CDM: As well as your own music, you’ve featured on the likes of Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, and Cashmere Cat’s tracks - how does this process differ for you compared to writing your own music?
KACY: I think that the biggest thing is that I can let it go. With mine, I’ve listened to it so many times that I have my head in it, but I feel like when I do something for someone else I can kind of put it down and have the same amount of self-doubt, but as soon as I walk out of the room, I’m like, “Okay! It’s out of my control now!”
Kacy Hill’s album ‘Like A Woman’ is out now - click here to purchase.
Watch the ‘Hard To Love’ music video below…