For our 2019 ‘Friends and Family’ issue, we asked eight families—from multigenerational clans to collaborators who lean on each other like kin—to share what they’re giving and asking for this holiday season. Contributing editor Karin Nelson sat down with each group to paint a picture of their relationships and what they’re getting up to this year.
Kilo Kish, the multidisciplinary artist best known for her music, doesn’t quite know where her skill set comes from. Her parents both worked in tech; her older brother played sports. “They were all into very noncreative things,” she notes. “There wasn’t anyone who was even a good singer.” But Kish—short for Lakisha, her first name—spent her childhood days in Orlando, Florida, drawing, choreographing dance numbers, and creating plays that she would perform for her younger cousins. She followed her artistic inclinations to New York, where she attended Pratt Institute, and then the Fashion Institute of Technology—and where, at a N.E.R.D. show in 2008, she met her best friend, J.Scott. “We were born eight days apart and are both Tauruses through and through,” she says. “We clicked right away.” When Kish started making synthy, singsongy rap out of her Brooklyn apartment, Scott was right there with her, helping to articulate her vision. Since then, he has been her manager and main creative partner, collaborating on all aspects of her career, including the music videos she directs, art activations she creates, and Aggy, the cartoon-inspired line of merch that she designs. “We speak like eight times a day, bouncing from project to project,” says Kish, who recently mounted an audiovisual installation in L.A. that explores the creative spirit and released two tracks, Nice Out and Bite Me from her forthcoming EP, Redux. “If it weren’t for him, I’m not sure anything would ever get done. He’s like a second me.”