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Vixen Initiation: Kyndall Talks The Purity Of Music That She Strives To Preserve

The rising R&B songbird has been initaited. 

Bold, wise and driven: Kyndall is unapologetically making moves.

The Houston-bred beaut’s EP Still Down that released a month ago with Atlantic Records is a permanent stamp for Kyndall’s enrollment in the game. Woven with her own sultry and trendy style, introspective lyrics, and undeniable vibes, she proves that she is more than just a pretty face behind a mic. Her latest video drop for the single “Close To Me” was a lens into her ability to capture attention behind the camera, amidst a gloomy day on the beach. The singer-songwriter has been in the game since she was 15, and her growth and overall experience has allowed her to bring a youthful wisdom to R&B music.

Vixen had the opportunity to interview Kyndall and discuss love, her purpose as a musician, and the purity of music that she strives to preserve, no matter what. Her down-to-earth and infectious spirit resonate in every word she spoke. Take a peep below of the rising star, Kyndall. – Olivia Jade Khoury 

 

VIBE Vixen: Congratulations on your latest video drop for “Close To Me.”  You looked amazing and I noticed it was recorded in your hometown of Galveston, TX. A lot of artists implement their region's style into their brand. How would you describe your hometown and how does it affect your style, or influence you, as an artist?

Kyndall: I’m originally from Houston but I do spend a lot of time in Galveston, so it is a second home. Houston is swang and bang. Swerve and vibey. I’m definitely a product of my city.

You’re 19, talented and very composed for your age. How do you think you are breaking barriers when it comes to age stereotypes in music? Has age ever been an issue for you?

Honestly, it hasn't been. I entered the music industry at 15 so I was forced to grow up quicker than the average pre-teen. Therefore, I'm a little more mature and composed than most. When you're in a room full of adults that are judging your music and putting money behind you, and providing an opportunity you have to know what you're talking about. I left high school very young but it all worked out in the end. It's been an awesome journey thus far.

Because 19 is such a vital age in of blooming into womanhood and creating your own identity, what’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself as a young woman during this journey?

So much. The biggest thing I've learned is that it's so much better to stay quiet than open your mouth and say the wrong thing. You know, kicking back, not saying anything and just observing and letting things marinate. I still have my adolescent moments, but overall I try to do a lot of more observing than talking, which I feel is a sign of growing up. I’m fiery! I go off and say whatever is on my mind. My Twitter goes crazy, but I learn by observing first so it doesn’t get me in too much trouble.
To be a singer-songwriter, it requires vulnerability. How do you deal with writing lyrics that are personal and intimate to you? And what’s your process?

I wish it was easy to be broken hearted and just write a song about it. I have my moments where I just freak out and cry. In those heated moments I take my iPhone and type up a bunch of notes of how I feel – it's all about not holding anything back. In the studio, I refer to those moments and write those feelings I felt. It's a raw process. It really helps me because I have to feel exactly what I was feeling at that exact moment. I can't hide anything, it's like therapy for me.

Who are your musical influences or someone you look up to in the industry?

Janet Jackson. I'm influenced by 90's R&B. That's when people were really writing and making crazy melodies and harmonies. I admire the fact that they were just being real about how they felt and putting it into song. In today's musical landscape I love Kanye, Travis Scott and Tory Lanez.

You’ve worked with amazing producers like Boi 1da and Maejor Ali, are there any other artists or producers you’ve got your eye on for future endeavors?

Definitely. It’s a true, hands on collab process between Chef Tone and I. We get in the studio, listen to a bunch of tracks, and do our best to capture the tone and the overall sound of the record. We just let it flow. There are so many people I love to work with, but my music is too delicate for picking people that just work. I'm not like that. I'm all about vibes and energy. It's about preserving the authenticity of the music and not compromising the music, ever. That's the real, unfiltered process.

What is your purpose as a young, female artist?

I love that question. There are so many young, female artists and we are all trying to find our purpose. I'm always finding myself at the end of the day. I want to be the homegirl that can get a gal through whatever she's going through. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that because I started in the industry so young and wasn't able to really have that core group of girls or best friend that I can go to so I have to be that for somebody. It comes with the territory. I want to be that honest person people can relate to. I want them to know they aren’t going through this alone. I'm singing word for word exactly what you're going through.

How do you deal with society’s standards of beauty?

It's kind of an everyday struggle. For people to say we don't care about how we look is false. We all have those insecure moments. We want our waist to be smaller or butt to be bigger, our face to be clear, etc. I deal with this on the daily. I try and not to be affected by society’s standards, but hey I wear my waist trainer and work out everyday just like everyone else. But it's not that I'm being insecure, I just strive everyday to be a little bit better than I was the day before. I would say society's standards of beauty have pushed me to be better, but I disagree with the fact that it tells young girls how they're supposed to look. It’s a sensitive topic, but I'm in the stick of it. It's about balance.

What did your first love teach you?

He taught me how to lie and get away with it. I'm not a liar, but in him lying to me and cheating I got to take the backseat and observe how to get good at it. Now, I'm able to peep when someone is lying or deceiving me, you know? I got really good at picking the liars from those who are really real with me. That relationship also taught me how to love. He taught me what love should be when he wasn’t ready for it. He taught me what I deserve and what I needed, and now those are my standards. I stepped up my game. Funny enough, he raised the stakes of what I want from another guy. These days, I'm cool on relationships. I can deal with situationships not relationships. There's work to be done.

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to other young women?

Surround yourself with real people. Real trill n*ggas that care for you, that would take a bullet for you, that aren’t fake and  on’t talk about you behind your back. You cant change the way your life is going to go, but as long as you have a real crew then you can't go wrong. I hate dealing with things alone so I like to surround myself with real people. Bullsh*t is inevitable but with real people it's better.

 

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

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I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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Jeremy Allen

Volkswagen's Atlas Cross Sport Brings Adventure Back To Modern Road Trips

Crucial elements conjure a memorable road trip. For one, a definitive no-shuffle playlist has to hit all the right grooves. Breathtaking sights are a must and importantly, you need a reliable ride to bring it all together.

Before the coronavirus pandemic led to Canada’s closure of the border for non-citizens, VIBE took a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, where we tested out Volkswagen’s Atlas Cross Sport along winding roads, rain and snow. Hailed as the “boldest SUV in the Volkswagen stable,” the vehicle is worth the hype as its upgrade puts a spin on the modern SUV with its sleek design, three rows of comfortable seating for the crew (or your groceries) and amazing speakers.

Fender Premium Audio is also provided on the SEL Premium trim. Their dedication to sound is thanks in part to the collaboration with Fender and Panasonic. With 12 speakers in total, the 480-watt 12-channel amplifier brings the sound to an arena-like level so when you need Siri, she’ll hear you loud and clear. Woofers are in each door with two wide-frequency speakers and a subwoofer in the rear.

“Pairing high design with the distinctive driving dynamics and value the brand is known for, the Atlas Cross Sport allows you to show up without showing off,” Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America said in a press release. With a $30,425 starting price, consumers can get the best of both worlds in terms of style and substance. An all-wheel-drive SEL Premium R-Line is also under the $50,000 price tag.

But we know you have other questions. How was the ride? Did you meet Nardwuar? Do all Canadians have a sparkling patios accent like Drake?

Fortunately for you, we can answer two of those questions with confidence. While keeping a timestamp of the road trip, we enjoyed a few wild shenanigans, breathtaking views with the Atlas Cross Sport and plenty of songs you can add to your own road trip in the future.

Take a gander of our adventure below.

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5:55 am MST: I wake up ready for the day but there’s only one thing on my mind–how does Mountain Time work? The curiosity makes me hit the snooze button.

6:00 am PDT: Okay, I’m awake and as it turns out, we’re on Pacific Daylight Time. Welp.

6:45 am PDT: Okay, I’m actually awake.

8:30 am PDT: I befriended some other adventurous spirits last night and we agree to take the trip to Whistler together. Emma and Kai will split the driving and I will supply the tunes.

8:45 am PDT: We get a look at our ride and the midnight blue Atlas Cross Sport is a vision, even with the morning dew across its bumper. We’re going to call him Lil Atlas. We were informed of the ride’s Car-Net Remote Access technology, which is offered at no additional charge for a solid five years. VW’s Car-Net also comes with a solid GPS signal and cellular connectivity.

8:50 am PDT: After snapping a few pics with Lil Atlas, we’re officially en route! Our stops include Horseshoe Bay Park, Porteau Cove, Shannon Falls and lastly, the Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel for our winter activities. Myself, Kai and Emma are all scheduled for bobsledding. My mind is filled with Cool Runnings clips and the instant regret of not bringing a swagged out bobsledding outfit.

9:15 am: I’m reading the room and we seem to be typical millennials– meaning we have extraordinary music taste and a strong appreciation of all genres.

Now Playing: Major Lazer’s “Particular” featuring Jidenna, Nasty C, Ice Prince and Patoranking and Shakira and Maluma’s “Clandestino.”

9:20 am PDT: The sights between Vancouver are so quaint and refreshing. It’s commendable to see so many local shops being embraced by residents. Horseshoe Bay Park is just as calming, despite the heavy overcast.

Now Playing: A Kaytranada back-to-back session featuring his remix of Teedra Moses’ classic bop “Be Your Girl” and Bubba cut “10%” with Kali Uchis.

9:56 am PDT: The turn up to Roddy Ricch’s “The Box” is real...a bit too real.

10:08 am PDT: Kai’s super cool GoPro has fallen off the side of the car. Turns out this timestamp is a good idea as we used it to help backtrack our time on the highway. Yes, the GoPro fell off on the highway.

10:14 am PDT: As Emma turns Lil Atlas around, Kai and I scale the roads for the GoPro. Luckily for us, we were on the shoulder which means it fell on the side of the highway not the middle of it.

Now Playing: Silk City’s “Electricity” featuring Dua Lipa

I’m not sure if the melodic vocals are hurting or helping our search.

10:19 am: It helps, we found the GoPro!

10:28 am PDT: We’re feeling relieved and relaxed. Maybe it’s the heated seats or the notion that we didn’t lose a pricey gadget.

Now Playing: Beyoncé’s “Freedom” with Kendrick Lamar and Jorja Smith’s “On My Mind” with Preditah

10:40 am PDT: Pulling up to Porteau Cove looks like every mountain graphic tee I’ve ever seen, minus the wolf. With so much interior space, we’re able to pick up another media pal and take a few pics with Lil Atlas.

11:30 am PDT: After stocking up on some road trip essentials like wet wipes, vitamins and coffee (tea for me), we’re off to Shannon Falls.

11:45 am PDT: We arrive at Shannon Falls but we’re craving one more adventure before our bobsledding appointments.

12:04 pm PDT: Going off route was a great idea as we uncovered a forest dripping with moss and fresh air. As we get some shots of Lil Atlas, I feel inclined to hug a tree.

12:46 pm PDT: We’re back on the road and I miss an opportunity to play Gucci Mane and Drake’s “Back On Road.”

I. Had. One. Job.

12:50 pm PDT: There’s still some Drake love.

Now Playing: Drake and Future’s “Life Is Good,” Pop Smoke’s “Welcome To The Party”

1:00 pm PDT: We’re just a few minutes away from the Summit Lodge when we learn the tale of Hut Man. According to legend, there’s a man who has lived in a hut in Whistler and takes trips across town on foot. This is rather interesting but also a bummer as the roads get foggy by the minute.

1:04 pm PDT: As we ride up to Summit Lodge, we have an opportunity to take a trip back in time. I decided to take us to the early 2010s when everyone had EDM fever (including us) and a fascination with ombre hair.

Now Playing: “Clarity,” by Zedd, Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding’s “I Need Your Love,” Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child,” Krewella’s “Alive,” “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey and Cedric Gervais, and Major Lazer’s “Lean On” featuring MO and DJ Snake are in heavy rotation.

1:25 pm PDT: We depart from our good friend Lil Atlas. It was a long ride but we’re ready to chow down, specifically Kai.

 

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Breakfast of Champions here in Vancouver @olympics city🏅 fueling up before sliding down the bobsled with @teamcanada & @vw on the world’s fastest ice track! ❄️🇨🇦 #whistler #winterolympics #KaiEatsBC 📷 @desire_renee

A post shared by Kai | Fitness Fashion Travel (@kaieatsworld) on Mar 2, 2020 at 10:29am PST

3:02 pm PDT: We en route to Whistler’s Sliding Center, the world’s fastest track. Whistler played host for the 2010 Winter Games which means I’m 10% more athletic.

 

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A post shared by Whistler Sliding Centre (@slidingcentre) on Mar 15, 2020 at 1:58pm PDT

3:18 pm PDT: We get a quick lesson in bobsledding and we’re learning the basics.

Get big in the sled (hold on to the ropes and broaden your shoulders) Keep head low Keep head low

It’s about to go down...the slide that is.

4:15 pm PDT: There’s no bobbing around on the sleds. We sign on our permission forms and we’re ready to go. With my amethyst close, “Mortal” plays on a loop in my mind.

4:46 pm PDT: The slide was less than 50 seconds but was thrilling as I felt gravity keeping my butt to the sled. If I could compare it to anything, it would be Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster. I know I’m going to feel this in the morning.

While a very long day, Lil Atlas kept our minds at ease and the sound system kept our spirits high. Cheers to Lil Atlas and the chance of doing this again in the future.

Learn more about Volkswagen’s 2020 Atlas Cross Sport here.

Listen to the playlist below.

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