Kid Cole Interview
Kid Cole is a once in a generation talent sent here to do one thing and one thing only, make music. At only fifteen years old he has already become a therapeutic outlet for the youth. Cole is someone you listen to have a good cry, scream, rock out, and all of the above. He has become my guilty pleasure because I am so addicted to replaying his songs over and over again. Finding his first praise off his single Earth, the vibrant and intense imagery he paints with his melodies caught his fan's eyes. Now going through a phase of rebirth he has released his new single This is How I feel with the subject matter being exactly what the title of the song says. Cole takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of his inner thoughts regarding a day in the life of his trialing ex-relationship. Flooding our ears with what a lot of us are going through, but never get the chance to express. His youthful perspective gave me a lot of insight into my own life and I got to know the real Kid Cole.
Does the name Kid Cole have any meaning?
It essentially stands for, the kids who stand out. There’s an old saying, “a diamond in the rough, is a shiny piece of coal”. Hence the Cole, because “Kid Coal” would be a super lame name. For the longest time as a child, I felt indifferent from others, I perceived myself as weird and unlikable. I thought my differences, mentally specifically made me weird, until I realized that maybe it wasn’t a bad thing. The name is a rebirth in itself, essentially saying for myself that the things I struggled and dealt with as a child were for a reason, that my shadow in a crowd of light made me special, not weird. The thing I hated myself for, should’ve been the thing I loved myself for all along. Because for the longest time, I felt and saw myself as just a dull piece of coal in the mine, but it turns out, I was the diamond in the rough. It is a message and a statement I wish for all people who feel like me to follow, for them to know that their differences do not make them weird or bad in any sort of way. I encourage you all to embrace whatever you feel makes you indifferent, you are this way for a reason and you are going to do amazing things. The moment you see yourself as the diamond in the rough of coal is the moment you embark on the path of greatness. You are not unseen, you are seen, you are doubted because you are great. Show the world that you are the diamond in the rough and they’ll follow right behind you. Change the world, you can do it. I believe in you. My name is a message to myself and everyone else that’s like me. KID COLE is all of us. It’s who we can be.
Talk about where you are from and how it influenced you growing up and your music.
I’m from the forgotten burrow of New York called Staten Island, I moved around the state a lot as a kid and I’d frequently switch through schools throughout most of my early childhood. Doing so was tough on me because as a kid I never really felt like I had a solid support system or people I could relate to my age for too long. It always seemed that whenever I got comfortable, I’d always end up somewhere else. So after a while, I just gave up. Feeling like everybody was bound to be temporary and disappear at such a young age put a determinately harsh schema to the way I saw the world. Along with other things that I should rather not get into so early in this, I developed very unhealthy coping mechanisms being depressed from a young age. The first time I cut myself was when I was nine years old, I contemplated suicide frequently in waves throughout my late childhood and early teen years, even up until now. Even when I was at the point of settling down, I never truly felt like I had the comforts of relating to people. Going through so much at a young age put a big barrier between a lot of other kids my age and I, as they were very much more sheltered than I was growing up. They did not understand me. The conflict I embraced was an incredibly driving factor for the music I made, and it’s a big part of how it all started. I want my music to be a beacon of hope, and for myself to be a message to the broken, to the indifferent, to anyone who feels like they don’t belong, a hand reaching far out from a distance while a voice is saying “You are loved, you are accepted, everything’s gonna be okay”. My fans are my family, and I try my best to be as open and responsive to as many as I can. I want to show everybody they are not alone.
When did music enter your life and how did it impact you?
I grew up in a pretty musical household, my mom played piano, my dad would always sing old school R&B songs from the 90’s and occasionally play the explicit versions of Kanye West’s College Dropout for me as a kid. I was always inspired by music but I don’t think I really had a thought of making my own music as much as I listened to it until the late winter of 2018. I was very interested in making music around this time, I was about eleven years old and my uncle had seen me writing lyrics at this Korean Barbecue place while we were all out to eat for the holidays. He took his observation and basically told me that if I could write an whole entire EP by Christmas, he would buy me a microphone. I took him up on his offer and I did exactly that, I don’t even know if I had came up with the name “Kid Cole” yet but long story short, I started my career on this big ass USB-Blue Yeti microphone and it’s all thanks to my uncle.
Hi Uncle Ahnmin. Being able to freely make music impacted my life in so many ways, it was exponentially freeing and I felt like it was the therapy I had been craving all those years as I never received actual professional help. If I had a bad day, if I felt as if the past was holding me down, if I wanted to say something, I could say it. It felt like a fantasy world where I could finally paint the reality, the nightmares, the visions of my head and articulate it in a listenable way, almost as if it was my very own journal. To be able to find the words to the feelings, to say those words was healing. It didn’t destroy any sort of pain I had or have, but it brought me a form of peace in the loudness of my head. Music changed my life, it saved my life, if I didn’t have music I probably would’ve killed myself by now. It came into my life in the very moment that I needed it the most, and I haven’t lost my interest since for too long.
Was there a specific moment that you made say this is what I want to do with my life?
Probably when I started releasing my music consistently onto SoundCloud and I saw people become drawn to my music. It was whenever my comment sections went from SoundCloud sex bots to actual supporters telling me how much they enjoyed the shit I was making, that was when I was like “Oh fuck, maybe this is something that could go somewhere”, the support only continued to grow and so did my motivation to keep going. I think the first time I really felt like I was in anyway meaningful was when I received a DM from a fan telling me that I saved their life with a song that I had made. Without going into too much detail, the supporter has described a long history of suicide ideation and depression, when they told me that my music made them feel better and understood. That’s truthfully when I decided that this is what I wanted to do with my life, be the therapist because this wasn’t just about myself anymore, the entry’s to my journal were helping other people cope as well.
Describe who you are as an artist and what direction you want to go with your image/music?
As an artist, all I really aspire to do is make other people who feel like me feel understood. I want everyone that’s listening that feels the way I do to know that they are not alone, their voices are heard, they are worthy of love and a wonderful life. I want to be that escape, whether it’s you tuning into the music or my Instagram where I try my best to share how I feel with the people that support me. The music I make is my own personal journal, but in my head, the way I see it, hopefully me making it public for reading will put some hearts at ease. The truth is, we’re all fucked up and depressed. Everyone’s got a story. And the bigger truth is we can’t go it alone. We’re all in this together and I couldn’t be more vocal about that. This is a journey for all of us people who are sad as fuck to take on together, on the pursuit of happiness in the form that is real.
Talk about being only 15 years old and creating music that speaks to so many people.
I love it. Like I said earlier, if I didn’t have music I would’ve probably killed myself by now, but if it was just the music I don’t think that’d be enough for me, it’s the kids and people of all ages who I know that I’m helping just by being around, doing what I do best. I’m grateful to be fifteen and to know what my purpose is. I want to share that joy with everybody.
What roadblocks have you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
I struggle with depression, PTSD and social anxiety. Of course with that comes a lot of self-hate and suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it’s hard for me to engage in everyday activities and I have tendencies to want to isolate. At times it also affects the music drastically as though music is my form of coping, I do not have the motivation to get out of bed and record. I’m going into sophomore year now, but when I was in middle school I could never get up out of bed, I was always late or absent. I got into trouble with the school frequently as well. I never liked school, I think it’s close minded. School was always an obstacle to me mainly for the fact that nothing I was “learning” felt productive to me as an artist. I felt and have always felt like a prisoner to the system, school doesn’t want you to think outside the box, they’d rather a strict order and a column of ones and zeros. They kill your creativity and crush your spark. It’s all just a ploy to perpetuate capitalism, school is not for the creative hearted. This is no way saying fuck school, because it does work for some. But if you have a feeling like it isn’t, and you have something else in mind, just know that you aren’t wrong. They are against you and they are trying to make you conform. Never let anyone disrespect you period, I do not give a fuck if they are your age or a thousand years old, without basis, they have no right to be demeaning towards you. Say your peace right back, I got in trouble for this in school because the truth is, they want you to be their little bitch walking in straight lines and excusing yourself by the bell. Teachers wonder why their students don’t respect them and it’s because of the system they’re in. Why would anyone like someone they have to ask to use the bathroom or raise their hand to speak. You are not a slave, you are a human being.
What artists do you draw inspiration from?
When I was a kid, I listened to basically everything but a few artists that genuinely inspired me were probably X, Eminem, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Boys 2 Men. Taylor Swift too, that’s not even a guilty pleasure, I feel like you don’t like her music there’s something wrong with you. There’s a ton of others but those were the main inspirations in terms of starting out. Now I occasionally dabble into those artists but the stuff I’ve really been on lately is the Alternative Rock/Indie genres of music. I am almost very certain it shows in my music. A couple artists I’d recommend you to listen to that cause inspiration for me currently are: Beabadoobee, The Fray, Rex Orange County, Aries, Jean Dawson & Dominick Fike. I listen to everything but the daily duality of my music palette lately has just been that, or whatever the fuck my best friend Jamie has on her playlist. Sometimes we literally just go out with one air pod in each person’s ear and take the train random places listening to old bands, sad pop artists and rap from when we were first introduced to it. There are so many great in our bag or turnt the fuck up memories I have to those songs and the stuff she puts me onto genuinely influences my music a lot.
What are your thoughts on mental health awareness and where do you stand on the topic?
I’m depressed, so I can pretty much understand almost anything in this arena emotionally. I think it’s important for mental health awareness to be vocalized but I do think it’s being poorly done. The psychiatric system at times can be very troubling and frightening to young people because of how cold and unprofessional it is. I don’t know a single teenager who goes to therapy and feels better, same goes for medication or psych ward. This is not an anti-anything, it’s purely just a statement regarding the environment and climate of the mental health crisis. What eleven-year-old child with family trauma should be put on anti-depressants? We need to do much better and we need to realize people as people, not patients with numbers on their face. I always encourage people to receive help, but sometimes it’s best to talk to the people you love and trust, and if you don’t have those people, you can always message me on Instagram, my direct messages are always open. Let's make mental health something that’s taken seriously but is responded to emotionally not just scientifically, half the time, the anger and frustration is the feeling of being misunderstood. Anxiety is not a reality it’s a distortion, the only way to combat emotional distress is with emotional comfort. I’m not a psychiatrist, don’t take anything I say as credible, I’m just stating an opinion I have. Stop drugging kids up.
What do you think about risks in life?
Everything is a risk. If you live life in fear, you won’t ever live at all. Take those risks, just be smart about them. Follow your heart. Just try to come back in one piece for me, okay?
Talk about your new single “This Is How I feel”. What's the story behind it?
This Is How I Feel was a journal entry I wrote months after the event of. Something I do on significant days is, write songs in the form of journal entry’s. You’ll see it a lot on my album. This is probably gonna get too personal and will cause some sort of trouble in my life but fuck it, first interview gotta give the people some drama. At the time of writing this, I am on my third week of a breakup with my ex-girlfriend of six months. This is kinda fucked up, but I made that song about her while I was still with her. We had been fighting a lot and she seriously hurt me in a lot of ways, I put it into the song. This Is How I feel was made in twenty minutes, all mixed and recorded within that time frame and released literally immediately after it was done exporting from my computer. I saw her not even an hour after it dropped and just pretended it was about nothing. It was kinda like one of those “Say fuck it, this is how I feel” things, hence the name of the song. I was pretty much at my breaking point with our relationship and we broke up not too long after that, but yeah. Now you know.
What do you want people to get from your music?
The feeling of company. I want people who listen to my music to feel and know they are not alone with their feelings and thoughts. To know there’s hope for them. I want to uplift people, this is my therapy and I want to extend the feeling of comfort to the people who are listening as well. Depends on the song though, if you’re putting Timberland on the aux, I want you to go beat someone’s ass, but if you’ve got my sad stuff on, I feel you, I’m depressed too. We’re in this together.
What’s next for you? Any concerts, music videos, or new songs coming in the near future you would like to talk about
“This Is How I Feel” music video is being shot in July, also working on getting some shows done in New York and other places for you all. Multiple music videos in the works; OnlyFans soon ;) jk “INDIEWORLD22” THE ALBUM, & MOVIE COMING THIS SUMMER.
Kid Cole asked that there be a dedication column in his first interview to his closest childhood best friends:
FOREVER IN MY HEART, THE PEOPLE WHO BREATHE LIFE INTO ME
MY FAMILY FOR LIFE
Jamie Redding, my next door neighbor on the right, best friend of thirteen years and non-blood-related older sister for life
Thank you for always believing in me, I would not be alive without you
Our bond will last a million lifetimes
Rocco Centola, my next door neighbor on the left, best friend of thirteen years and twin since childhood. You are the realest person I know and have believed in me since the start.
Justina Granda, The most genuine and supportive friend i’ve had since the very beginning of my career. A person who has seen me at my lowest yet almost knew what my highest could be. She was there for me when no one was. Every person needs a justina in their life. She truly brings life and energy to my career and life. I couldn’t appreciate her more. Justina is my personal hype man and is one of the most resilient people I know, she taught and helped me learn how to be myself, what it means to be yourself. I could never ask for a better friend, wherever I go, i promise you that you’re gonna see her name. If you ever hear the tag “Kid Cole, you’re such a disappointment” That’s her.
Nicholas Castro, the newest but one of the best in our friend group, a person who barely knew me however stepped up and was there for me in one of the darkest times of my life
Arianna DiPaula, a friend of countless years and someone who was nothing but a good friend to me throughout the last eight years, she watched me grow up and she bullied me into being a better artist