Australian-born, Los Angeles-based producer Kito released her new EP, Blossom, today via Astralwerks. She also shared visualizers for three of its seven songs: her new single, “Tongue Tied” (ft. Terror Jr), “Locked On You” (ft. BROODS) and “Always Been You.” Additional collaborators include ZHU and Jeremih, VanJess and Channel Tres and Bea Miller.
The songs feel familiar and irresistible—swirling up lyrics about love and loss while pulling from the visceral dance songs of Kito’s past and the emotionally rich futuristic pop she devours now. She teams up with Terror Jr, the pop duo behind such dance hits as “3 Strikes” and “Come First,” on her new single, “Tongue Tied,” which enraptures with its ethereal instrumentation and distorted vocal chops. The infectious “Locked On You” features evocative vocals from acclaimed New Zealand duo BROODS, who also collaborated with Kito on her 2018 EP, Haani. “Always Been You,” the EP’s leadoff track, is a soulful celebration of those who can be truly counted on, even amid life’s storms.
At that time she’d just graduated Harvard and was releasing her EP Time Of Our Lives. The EP featured singles “Miss You”, “Internet You”, “Tongue Tied” and “Might Not Like Me.” Elliott toured extensively after the EP came out.
In February Elliott launch her “Tell Me I’m Pretty” Scholarship. Today she releases her new EP Can I Be Real? The new EP includes singles “Tell Me I’m Pretty”, “Letter to a Girl”, and “Without You.” She is releasing the single “Can I Be Real” today.
Elliott worked with a different team on the album including producer Monarch, and songwriter Michelle Buzz (who is executive producer of the EP). The new EP presents a calmer, more confident Elliott asking questions of herself and the world, and looking for a genuine truth.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Can I Be Real EP?
BE: The biggest challenge in making Can I Be Real? Was figuring out what I wanted the theme of the EP to be. My first EP was easy in terms of finding things to write about because I wrote it during my time in college and the songs followed almost subconsciously. For this EP it was different. I really thought about what I wanted to say and the experiences I had since the last EP. And I realized that I lived in this state of performance and people-pleasing for two years promoting my first project. So when I sat down to write the second I wanted to make sure that what I was saying was real and authentic to me, and to what it means to be human. And that ended up being the main theme of the EP.
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn making your first EP that helped making the Can I Be Real EP?
BE: When I was making the first EP I learned to be very specific with what I wanted each song to sound like. Finalizing the production of the project was just as involved as writing it. And so I knew I wanted to take that same mentality with this EP – not just telling a lyrical story, but a sonic story as well.
FEMMUSIC: What was your goal for making the Can I Be Real EP?
BE: I think I started this EP by saying “I want to make an EP of hit songs” which is a very silly thing to say. I am not sure I at all succeeded in that goal but what I did do once I started writing was really surrender to what needed to come out of me in my songwriting. I don’t know if these songs are hits, but I know they are songs I needed to write and there’s a lot of satisfaction in that.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about The Monarch? How did you meet? What did they bring to the project?
BE: I met the Monarch in one of my first sessions with Michelle Buzz in Los Angeles back in 2019. They bring this perfect balance between ease and intensity to songwriting sessions. They are both very relaxed but will speak up if they think we could write a better verse or chorus. That’s such an art in and of itself and I think the creative environment they foster really made me feel like I could trust them. So when it came to producing the EP I knew I wanted them to be very involved. I think they are geniuses at production and I am very honored to have worked with them on this project.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Michelle Buzz? How did you meet? How was she to work with? What did she bring to the project?
BE: I met Michelle Buzz for a session for the first time in 2019. It was honestly the most magical thing when we met. We sort of look similar and so we had to take a moment and make sure we were not part of some kind of Parent Trap situation – twins separated at birth. And then we just started writing that day and it was so exciting for me to write with someone who was at the very same stage of life as me. We related so much that first day and became fast friends. I hope to write songs with her for many years to come.
FEMMUSIC: FEMMUSIC featured the “Tell Me I’m Pretty” Scholarship. You’ve spoken before about how you got into Harvard. What was your goal in setting up a scholarship?
BE: My goal in setting up the scholarship was to do (in an extremely small way) what the people who have loved me most in my life did for me: they encouraged me to pursue my dream and calling. I hope that my music encourages women to live the life they are meant to live and the scholarship was a more practical way for me to engage with women in that way.
FEMMUSIC: “Letter to A Girl” is a letter to your younger self. Tell me how that song developed?
BE: “Letter to a Gir”l was the first song I wrote when I started writing again after being on tour for those two years. I opened for Why Don’t We. They have the most incredible fan base, the majority of whom are teenage girls. I remember wanting to write a song for them and for my younger self – because I saw so much of my younger self in those girls every night on the tour. So the song is really all of those things I wish I had known then with the main theme being about beauty. I wanted this song to encourage people to know that beauty is so much more than physical appearance. Beauty is a broader concept about stewarding a good and true life and that’s what I say in the song. You are beautiful because you are human. Beautiful is created in your mind and your outlook on this precious life.
FEMMUSIC: Touring is returning post-COVID. You toured extensively with Time Of Our Lives. What are you most look forward to in touring? What do you dread?
BE: Touring is my absolute favorite thing to do. I look forward to every aspect of touring in this post-COVID world. I think we are all longing to be together again. I really can’t say that I am dreading anything regarding getting back on the road.
FEMMUSIC: What has changed about you & for you during COVID?
BE: I have experienced a lot of loss during this covid season. I lost my dad and my grandpa. I think the biggest thing that has changed for me is that I want to make the most of my life. With covid, we were all faced with the preciousness of life. So that fact has just fueled me and encouraged me to fight harder in this life and keep going.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
BE: I would love to see the music industry continue to give opportunities to women. The industry has come a long way in this regard and I feel very grateful to have a majority female team. But there’s always more work to be done allowing those historically underrepresented to have a seat at the table and I look forward to that work continuing.