Kodie Shane on the power of love, womanhood, and her debut album

Atlanta continues to propel endless new talent into the burgeoning hip-hop pool, and one of its rising artists is Kodie Shane. Coming from a family of music, with her father a member of the music group Rick, Ran and Dan and her sister Brandi Williams a member of the R&B trio Blaque, going into the industry seemed a natural choice for Kodie. The artist joined fellow Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty’s former music collective, Sailing Team, at only 16 years old, went on to get signed to Epic Records at 17, and now at 20 is debuting her headline world tour, for her new album Young HeartThrob.   

Breaking loose from the “bubblegum rap” brand inherited from her playful rhymes and honeyed-gleeful vocals on her first EP, Zero Gravity, the result is melodic flows, sentimental lyricism and a psychedelic intensity on Young HeartThrob. Kodie Shane shows maturity in an album rooted in love.

The rapper-singer might easily be mistaken for your average 20-year-old with her free-spirited energy, and regular use of the words “lit”, “period” and “facts”, but a quick look at her profile and it is apparent – compared to the rest of us 20-something-year-olds – Kodie Shane has actually got all her stuff together as she quickly makes her way up the ladder to success. The last stop of her Europe tour was in London, where gal-dem caught up with the young star, to talk on everything love, the album and women.

gal-dem: First, of congratulations on your album! Can you talk about the process and work put into making this project? Was there anyone special who inspired this album? There’s a difference there from your first EP, Zero Gravity.

Kodie Shane: We spent a lot of time recording every day, and the album just came out of that. When you say it’s different from my first EP, my album is such a miraculous growth spurt from my first EP. You can hear it, you can see it. Honestly, the album is a rollercoaster of emotions, so there was definitely a person in there who a lot of songs were inspired by, but it was also a lot of situations that have happened years ago that still inspired the music I was making.  

What song speaks most to you on the album?

Probably, ‘End Like That’ – you can take it in so many different ways.  

Coming from a family of music, was there any important advice that family members passed down to you when you decided to become an artist?

My dad and sister have always told be humble and sweet, so you are easier to work with, and enjoy it – and I live by that. I have my mum, who is my manager with me most of the time, to keep me grounded. And I got a lot of sisters, to not let me feel like I’m doing too much, not letting me get a big head. It’s not like I’ve got a million people around blowing my head up all day like half of other the artists, like a million people telling you, “you going let her talk you like that?”, or “you don’t deserve that”, or “you that n****”.  My sisters will tell me I’m an ass – it will be the ones with the whole bunch of yes men around them that get a big head. For me, the way I work definitely helps me grow – I’m not caught in this fake reality, you know, people can get caught in this fake reality about where they are and about who they are.

This is your first headline tour – what has been your most surreal or craziest moment yet?

Actually, the first day of tour in Sweden with this girl – she was cool but her vibe came off super stalkerish, like super determined. She came up to me and was like, ‘can I take a picture?’, and I was like yeah or whatever, and we took the picture and she was like, ‘can I buy you a drink?’ and I was like I’m good… I walked away and she standing there looking at me the whole time.  So then later she followed me into my dressing room and was just sitting there staring at me, and I had text my manager to get her out of here.

For women in hip-hop, it’s often been the case that they are forced to fit into a box – this is changing over time, and you are a clear example of that. How do go about not letting anyone put you in a box and breaking those gender stereotypes?  

That’s why I like to say I’m an artist, I don’t like to say I’m a rapper or I’m a singer – I like to say I’m an artist. It’s hard to break those gender stereotypes, I almost think they will never be broken – but at the end of the day, I don’t really care about anybody else.

Hip-hop still seems to be very much a man’s world, so how do go about finding your place in that as a young woman?

This is a woman’s world! Adam ate the apple right, but Eve got his ass to do that shit – that was a woman! Whether it was good or not, that was a woman who got him to do to that, facts. Women are running the world, women have the power, it just might be they running the world in the backseat right now, like me.  

Do you think you had it easier being on the Sailing Team and being embraced by those like Lil Yachty?

I don’t think I had it easier being on the Sailing Team, but I do think I had a one up on a lot of people – but if anything, that can be a façade sometimes.  

You’ve been open about your sexuality and expressive about who you are. How do you go about being comfortable in yourself and sharing that with others?

I’ve just been like that all my life – from my sisters, I’ve learnt to be confident in who I am and knowing I’m valid, but you’ve got to have those right people around you.  

What is the most important lesson we can learn about love on Young HeartThrob?  

Everything is love, this is love, the power of love, everything is real love. You should use the power of love to do everything, period. All of this, right now, is because of love.    

Where do you go next from here? What lies ahead for Kodie Shane?

I’m dropping way more music in 2019, the Young HeartThrob album is still streaming and the Young HeartThrob tour is going the States, I’m really excited about that. But we going to be dropping music, music, music, music! It’s going to be crazy!  

Kodie Shane’s debut album ‘Young Heartthrob’ is out now, you can listen now on Spotify.

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