This time, we get to know Kristian J. His track "ON&ON" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:
𝟭. Where are you from and what is your hobby?
I'm originally from the-middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania but grew up for most of my life near Philadelphia and in Manhattan, New York. Most of my family lives in Korea, where I also lived recently for two years. I spend a lot of my time making music and even more time tearing my hair out trying to promote it, and that alone usually takes up most of my day. When I do have spare time, though, I like to exercise, hang out with friends, learn languages, and power through my frequent existential crises.
𝟮. How did your get into music?
My mom always said, "Graduate college first, then pursue your dreams." I listened to her. Did I regret that decision? I'm still not sure. But it was always my dream to make art of some kind and to perform in front of people. I grew up singing in super whitey white choirs and playing classical piano, and that was honestly all I knew about music for a long time. Later in college and after, I started taking pop lessons in voice, piano, and guitar to finally widen my skillset. Took long enough, right? Then, after graduating college with my highly (not) coveted anthropology and linguistics degree, I said "fuck it" and decided to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time musician (while working many odd jobs on the side). I did this for a few years in Korea, and during this time released two albums of music independently. I honestly didn't know what I was doing for much of that time period, but I learned so much about songwriting, producing, and releasing music independently. I still have some ways to go, but now I approach each new project with more confidence than before.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
I've always been the biggest Lady Gaga fan. Yes, I am gay, thanks for asking. Lady Gaga's been my number one influence for the longest time, ever since I was a shy, closeted middle schooler. Her theatrics, creative lyrics, and message really spoke to me. If anyone ever writes an article describing me as the male Lady Gaga, you can take a knife and stab me because then my life will be complete. I listened to a lot of pop and rock growing up, and more hip hop and R&B once I got to college. I have pretty mainstream taste, so my greatest influences are all the people that everyone knows, like Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Rihanna, and Drake to name a few. Oh and the Beatles, duh. When it comes to writing lyrics, though, I'm inspired most by what I see in my dreams.
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
My main goal is to become a popstar and to basically have people know my name. I want to be able to put on a great show for people while also putting out creations that speaks from my heart. Right now, my main goal is to start making money from my music, and well, wish me luck with that. I also want to start getting some more gigs amidst this godforsaken pandemic.
5. If you could choose a location to perform at, what would it be?
Coachella. Madison Square Garden. The Superbowl. Give me about ten years. I definitely want venues with a big space for me and all my backup dancers.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
I honestly don't understand how people can pick an all-time favorite song. If I listen to a song enough times, I know I'm going to get sick of it. My dad barely listens to music. His favorite song is "Hotel California" by the Eagles. Maybe I'll go with "Telephone" by Lady Gaga?
7. Most embarrassing moment?
In fifth grade, my class was lined up in the hallway waiting to enter one of those annual book fairs. Our teacher was lecturing to us about how to act once we got inside...and she just wouldn't shut up. Honestly how much is there to even say about book fair etiquette? Anyway, I was really shy back then and was too scared to raise my hand and say that my bladder was about to burst. My legs kept shaking, and the teacher kept talking, and boom, I peed my pants in the hallway. Even worse, we were standing on a ramp, so the stream of urine just took a direct route past all the kids' shoes down to the lower level. I must've been dehydrated too because it was like a really bright yellow. And then I broke down in tears. lol. I've come a long way since then. Honestly, though, I've heard much worse bathroom-related horror stories so this probably isn't even that bad.
8. Proudest accomplishment?
I'm not sure if other musicians will relate to this, but my proudest accomplishment was building up the courage to drop everything and make the dumbest decision of my life: pursue music. Just kidding. If you enjoy poverty and instability then this path is perfect for you. Frankly, I was pretty scared of pursuing my dreams for a long time because nobody I knew was doing it. I also went to Columbia University (*gasp* I finally said it, I went to an Ivy League school!!), where the attitude was pretty much "Follow the recruitment cycle and get a job as soon as possible or grab a noose and kick the footstool because your life is basically over." So yes, graduating from a top school and then making the conscious decision to make music and be poor was a little embarrassing for me. But as I embraced the lifestyle, I slowly learned to shake off all the pressures and barriers that were holding me back. Now, I've come to place where I'm incredibly insecure, stressed, and worried about my future, but at least I'm FEARLESS and LIVING MY TRUTH. And I'm genuinely very proud of that.
9. What is something about you that might surprise someone who knows you the best?
I believe I have an ability to sense the future. When I make big decisions, I try to put as little thought into them as possible, and do whatever feels right. Somehow, things always pan out. For example, two summers ago, I had this sudden urge to move to Korea, and it literally shocked my parents. They thought I was crazy. But I got my paperwork together, packed my bags, and took a plane over. That following March was when COVID broke out, and Korea ended up being way safer than back home in the U.S. My hypochondriac parents were freaking out in quarantine while I was going clubbing every weekend yelling "I told you so!" through KakaoTalk. Then, a few months ago, I felt that it was finally time to come back home, so I packed everything and flew back to the U.S. The very next day, the number of COVID cases spiked in Korea because of this delta variant that I was only vaguely aware of. Now Korea's undergoing its record peak in cases. Anyway, seeing all of these outcomes really convinced me to follow my gut whenever possible, and I now accept payments through PayPal for tarot readings.
𝟭𝟬. What is your dream collaboration?
I would do anything to collaborate with Lady Gaga. We'd make an absolute banger together. Dear Gaga, if House of Gucci flops and you need a comeback in your career, just hit me up. I can do better than BlackPink.
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