thekavalord - "I will always love Hip-Hop & always love this journey I’ve now set in motion." - Stereo Stickman

thekavalord “I will always love Hip-Hop & always love this journey I’ve now set in motion.”


Backed by two new singles and a host of creative plans, Indie Hip Hop’s thekavalord kindly took part in an interview.

We talk everything from songwriting to stage names, confidence, live shows, Eminem, passion, process, and all that falls in between. Here’s how it went.

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Hey, great to finally chat! Congrats for the two latest singles. Just to introduce things, where did you grow up, what first got you into Hip Hop, and why the name The Kavalord?

First off, thank you for having me Rebecca. I feel honored and grateful to be here with you. Also, I really appreciate you saying that!

Due to my parents work moving around, I grew up moving around a lot. Bouncing around from Utah, Washington state, Oregon, and California (Nor-Cal and So-Cal) respectively.

“What got me into Hip-Hop was listening to Eminem around 9-10 years old. Eminem was and still is a huge influence on me and the way I write my lyrics/songs.”

The reason why I was so tuned in to him at a young age was because as a kid, you tend to have an unlimited amount of imagination (which I seem to still have now haha). But it was so unique to have someone rapping and these raps can create such an image in your head with just his words. Almost like you’re watching a tv show or movie in your head. It was so amazing to me and that’s really what sparked my initial interest in music.

So my stage name, “thekavalord” is a name that my older cousin passed down to me before he served his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The root of the name, thekavalord, is Kava.

Kava itself is a beverage (in some instances, you can find candy) that originates from the Polynesian Culture and the Pacific Islands such as Fiji and Tonga. From drinking this kava, you get a fade or tipsy as you would with alcohol but with no alcohol, instead it’s roots/plants of the Pacific Islands. You usually would have kava sessions with friends, special occasions, and with family.

So having my older cousin, Semisi, pass down his name of KavaLord and also asking for his permission, I decided to use that as my stage name for music.

Let’s talk about Love Is A Fool’s Game – great track, classic rap energy with comical traits and a slightly exotic beat. What’s the story behind the single?

Thank you and the story behind this song was actually using that same imagery lyrics that Eminem uses.

The song itself isn’t an exact replica of a story that happened to me specifically; with parts saying that I had an AMG or having been cheated on to that degree. I definitely don’t have an AMG let’s get that clear haha. But the song itself was for entertainment mostly and building that story from the Intro to the 2nd verse.

It was a fun song to do, especially with a beat like that. Overall, I had a blast recording this.

The music does remind me of some of the humorous mid-album tracks from Eminem’s earlier days – so he was an inspiration?

I mean yeah, spot on with that guess!

“The thing I love about Eminem’s music is how versatile he can be. He can put out a song called The Way I Am which is hard Hip-Hop and serious while having the ability to release goofy/fun songs like Just Lose It.”

I want to release music that I can passionate feel proud of releasing. Obviously I want to release music that means a lot to people who listen to my music through lyricism, storytelling, inspiration, but I also want to release stuff that’s fun and entertaining.

Do you produce your own tracks, and if not – how do you choose who to work with?

I do not produce my own tracks but I have one of the greatest producers that anyone can as for named Brian Altman! He owns a studio in Brentwood, California called “Altman Studios” and that’s where I do all my recordings where he does his magic.

He’s been super amazing, accommodating, and he’s been a great mentor too. Shout out to Brian!

For The Unprodigal Son, a brilliant track by the way, things get all the more contemplative, of depth and revelation, with a humble delivery. What inspired you to lay this one down?

This song was something I’ve been going over for a couple years. Originally, I had planned to release an EP called The Unprodigal Son with that song being the soul of the EP, but after releasing I’m the Villain! I had a strong urge to release something that was a little closer to my heart/soul. I even wrote this on my SoundCloud for the song bio:

“The track pays homage to some parts of my soul. From experiences of social complications to having to ponder and figure out who I want to believe with the first step being: ‘Got to move strong and got to believe, in myself and slowly proceed..'”

So instead of the song being on a big project, I chose to let the song be its own person humbly.

In what way did your mindset or performance mood vary from I’m The Villain to the likes of The Unprodigal Son?

I love this question!

So to answer this question, I’m The Villain! was meant to introduce an alter-ego or a side of me, that I felt would be limitless and unpredictable. A place where I would feel safe as an artist and person to maybe say things that I wouldn’t be say normally myself. Instead have a character that maybe I can be blunt to say certain things, dish out insecurities that I might have into strengths, and just being “that guy”. Not worrying or comparing myself to others, instead being the best that I know I am and stomp on others if they think of me less.

But mind you, it’s just a character and soon it’ll be a variant of me through my music. That’s just a little glimpse of what’s in store for that character in my future projects haha. The Unprodigal Son is more of me as a person. Transition life experiences and thoughts I ponder about. Not overconfident, not ballsy, not trying too hard to be someone I’m not, but who I’ve became from my past experiences.

I can go on and on with this question but I’ll stop myself. Thank you for the question, that was great!

Is there a longer project on the way, or do you just work track by track as and when inspiration strikes?

I’m glad you mentioned this because there are future projects that I am planning!

I’m honored to say this now and it’ll be my first time revealing this to the public. The most notable project that’s currently being worked on now is an EP for sometime later this year! This EP is something that’s so close to my heart and it’s a project I’m putting my heart, might, soul, mind, and energy in.

The name of the EP is… Stories of a Space Cowboy The name pays tribute to my all time favorite anime Cowboy Bebop. I don’t want to give out so much of the project, but the EP itself will have some of my best work as a songwriter. This is what I will say though; Essentially the EP is taking place during a kava session with 4 different variants of myself. These variants you’ll find out in of the tracks, but 1 of them is me as a the musician which is me, thekavalord.

Because of how connected thekavalord is to the other variants and universes (even beyond the other 3 in the EP), he shares his stories he’s built from his travels through constant need of inspiration that the others don’t have access to.

“To those who love Hip-Hop, to those who love music, to those who live lyricism, to those who love STORYTELLING, to those who love grasping images in their mind through words, THIS IS IT! You’re really in for a treat of artistry and I’m so excited myself to release it when the day comes.”

But since I’m coming back from vacation from Japan and work here in Kelowna, Canada, I have a single picked out next that’ll really be a blast. I’m bringing it back to the 90’s.. with some good old Boom Bap! This track is called Boom Bap Attack! So stay tuned and I really appreciate the love!

How do you maintain your enthusiasm and self-belief in Hip Hop when the genre is more globally popular than ever? 

Great question. This is something I actually touch about in my last song of my upcoming EP Stories of a Space Cowboy. But what’s helping me stay passionate about getting into this huge industry and genre is just having that love for making music.

As a small and independent artist, it could be discouraging many times because you compare yourself to others who achieve success. Such as signing with labels, popularity, money, dream features, shows, traveling, etc. But for me it’s about how much I love being able to make music.

“I have a passion and fire that I don’t think will ever give out. That one day when I’m 50 I can proudly say “I did that. I did what I love and I don’t regret it.” “

So definitely build your passion for what you love and no matter what, even if it’s only you that’s standing, believe in yourself.

Strength lies within yourself that only comes out when you need it to.

What would be your dream venue or event to perform at, and are live shows a big part of your plans in the next year or so?

Honestly, I can’t really think of any dream venues because it’s a thought I haven’t really thought about.

Also, absolutely! For a while, I’ve been wanting to release more music before doing any live performances but after my next single, Boom Bap Attack!, comes out I’ll definitely be looking for gigs and doing live performances so stay tuned cause it’ll be soon!

What’s your next step as an artist, and what’s the main thing you would like listeners to take away from your music?

My next step as an artist would be those live performances, Stories of a Space Cowboy, and also doing features with others. I haven’t done any features yet because I kind of wanted to establish myself as a solo artist on solo tracks but now I’m in talks with a few people that will definitely have features with me.

The main thing I want listeners, fans, friends, and family to take away from my music is how much I love music. How passionate I am and finding my soul in my music when they listen.

My goal isn’t to be the most wealthiest or the most popular. My goal is to put out music and achieve the love behind it everyday. Even if I’m a small and independent artist. To let my music be able to touch others, either emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or even through entertainment – even if it’s only one person.

I will always love Hip-Hop and always love this journey I’ve now set in motion.

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Find thekavalord on Instagram & Snapchat.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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