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NewTracks New Artist: K.Kila

NewTracks New Artist: K.Kila

South Aucklander K.Kila is a hip hop/rap artist with a passion for staying true to his roots and honestly sharing his life experiences. Finding solace in his music as an outlet for tough times, K.Kila tells his story in hope that it will resonate with others. NZ On Air Music added his single Off The Corner to their NewTracks compilation this June. 

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

Armstrong ‘K.Kila’ Mahani and I can play the drums.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

No… I’m self-taught and that’s all because of my passion for the craft.

Any previous projects we might we know you from?

Prior to my recent release Off The Corner there are three songs I recorded off an iPad that on YouTube have over 500k views each.

What’s the background story to how K.Kila came to be? 

Depression is how I came to be… I didn’t know how to speak up or ask for help, which led to me talking to myself and putting it on an instrumental.

When did you come up with the name for the new project?

K.Kila was given to me from a friend. I used to go by the name of Kaos but found it hard to rhyme it… Then my friend suggested taking the k from Kaos “… and because you have kila flows when you rap… take kila… K.Kila.”

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date? 

A gig that I did for an 18th… who passed away before his actual 18th so I did not get to meet him but his family said he had asked his parents that he wanted for me to perform for his 18th and still went through with it … I have footage but it has swearing in it.

What makes Off The Corner stand out for you as a single?

Honest thought? it’s different… you can’t compare my sound or style to nobody. 

What’s the story behind Off The Corner?

There are a lot of personal things behind it. I did things I had to do to survive which I wasn’t too proud of at a young age in Otara and the scene with the three white Mercedes is where I used to hang out with my cousins and friends back then. We all wanted to be like the rich guys back then… it was always our dream (to be like them), to own cool cars, bikes etc…

Then there are parts of the verses that are real as well… like “always had a dream just nobody body ever had faith in it” that was directed to my kids’ mother and my ex-partner, who both left me while I was trynah get us somewhere.

“But I stayed grinding and never stopped, now look at who you hear banging on the block” – obviously me now after I was dumped. “Still broke rolling in a benz ain’t that a b***h,” – as good as you think I’m doing in music does not mean my life is going good. 

 “I lost everything I had chasing this and can’t even say if it was worth it, or not. Cause music is all I have now, so tell me if you still think I’m the man now” – lost my own family as I said at the start. My kids my kids’ mother. I chased this music thing to share with my kids and family, but lost them in the process.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

The whole song.

Who did you write/record/produce the single with and where? 

It was produced by my brother Sonny Bishop, aka Next Wavez, who’s signed to DJ Mustard. Without him and my brother E.Flows I wouldn’t be where I am today with music. It saved my life in a way you might not understand.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

Just to listen and understand that my story is real life, not made up 

Who else is in your team?

Sonny Bishop, Trey Howearth, Baby Irish.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

Yes I do, but you’ll know when I drop content

With that background of challenge to your own music have you got any advice for others out there?

My advice for others that have a passion for music is to not worry about nobody’s opinion what they think or say. Drop your music as if you’re already on top, and keep dropping music to the point that they have no choice but to see it and click it one day.