A "Quick Six" with Lili K
The very first sentence of Milwaukee High School of the Arts' mission statement states that their existence in Milwaukee is "to provide an educational experience which enables all students to nurture their academic and artistic talents to the fullest."
This is the goal of MHSA graduate Lili Kryzanek. She, like many who attend or have attended Milwaukee High School of the Arts, has dreams of taking her years of training and turning it into a career in music in some capacity.
After taking the next step in her progression by going to college to learn about the business side of music, she put herself around other talented individuals by attending Chicago's Columbia College.
What was born out of this experience was her current project, "A Prelude To Hello," as well as another EP and a full-length album – both of which are scheduled to come out over the next season or two.
Before checking out Lili K's "A Prelude To Hello" here, check out her "Quick Six" with OnMilwaukee.com.
OnMilwaukee.com: How influential was attending Milwaukee's High School of the Arts in the furthering of your musical dreams?
Lili K: Attending Milwaukee High School of the Arts made a huge impact on my life, both professionally and personally. Raymond Roberts, our vocal teacher, challenged us daily and pushed us to reach our fullest potentials. He not only taught us vocal techniques, different musical genres and music theory, but also about professionalism, building character and a strong work ethic. I definitely thank all of my teachers and classmates at MHSA for helping shape the person I am today and giving me the tools necessary to pursue a career in music. I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am today without the "Arts" experience.
OMC: What led you in the direction of making soulful music?
LK: Life! My mama brought me up with such a diverse musical background: Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Gladys Knight; soul music kind of embedded itself in me. I was into rock music for a while and my life was changed forever when I discovered hip-hop, but falling in love with jazz was the pivotal moment in my very early music career. When I heard Ella Fitzgerald for the first time, something just clicked. I knew I wanted to sing. I wanted my music to touch people the way Ella's touched mine. Later I discovered neo-soul, a genre that incorporated everything I loved. From then on music became my entire life, and I wasn't playing when I said that life influences the soul of my music. My lyrics are my heart; my lyrics are real. I put my soul into every song I write.
OMC: How did you link up with Peter Cottontale?
LK: In August of 2009, I moved to Chicago to study at Columbia College Chicago, where I major in Music Business. In February of 2010, I started working with the band Peter was in at the time. Around the same time, a good friend of mine passed away and I asked Peter to help me write her a song. After that, we never stopped writing together. We started our own band and finished an entire album by the end of the summer of 2010. We have continued to write amazing music together and are blessed to have become such good friends.
OMC: Your EP "A Prelude To Hello" is your introductory project before the release of your album "Hello Goodbye." What led you to do an EP first?
LK: Well, I need to make my presence known! "Hello Goodbye" is my baby. It's a 12-song album of all live instrumentation. It's not something I want to give away for free. However, I can't expect people to buy an album from an artist they've never even heard of. I made the EP not only to build a buzz for myself, but also because I really wanted to play around with some other genres. I frickin' love hip-hop, and doing the EP was the perfect opportunity to incorporate it into my sound. The album, although it is finished, will not be released for a while. I have some more work to do. My next step is to release another EP with Peter Cottontale. This project, entitled "Metal Petals," is an electro-soul work that strays away from the whole story of "Hello Goodbye" and has its own feel to it, something a little different than anything I've ever done. It will be released this November.
OMC: What are listeners going to hear on the album that they didn't get on the EP?
LK: "Hello Goodbye" is a little more jazz and a little less hip-hop than "A Prelude To Hello." It still has a super soulful vibe to it, but I believe that the album appeals to an even wider audience than the EP. Listeners are going to hear intricate compositions, thanks to the amazing Mr. Cottontale, with heart-wrenching lyrics that are accompanied by beautiful solos and improvisation. The album, as opposed to the EP, is all live instrumentation, meaning the keys, bass, drums and horns were all recorded live by members of my band. Although the two projects have slightly different sounds to them, the listener will find a signature sound and be able to relate to the message in both.
OMC: Sum up Lili K in one sentence.
LK: Lili K is a vocalist with a vintage soul, expressing herself through a modern sound.
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