Kota The Friend is a 23 year old hip-hop artist on the rise; with more than 10 big blog names attached to his resume and rising Twitter followers by the hour, he is definitely Brooklyn’s next big thing. Hailing from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Kota has been involved with music from an early age. His parents encouraged his interest in the trumpet, which led to his interest in other instruments such as the piano and the guitar. Kota went to the Brooklyn High School Of The Arts in Boerum Hill, and during his teen years his interest in being a hip-hop artist flourished. His idols were big names such as Jay Z, A Tribe Called Quest, and Nas, as well as The Beatles, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse. He combined all of his musical interests and cultivated his own sound under his early alias Ave Life in his band Nappy Hair (click here to see some early work from him!).
While in High School, he created his own clothing line that would later on be the staple in his hip-hop career; Flight Boys (FLTBYS). While he was only selling T-Shirts in the beginning, it soon expanded to a big underground hip-hop showcase where he would give his peers a platform to perform in front of neighborhood locals and big name bloggers. Kota debuted some of Brooklyn’s most talented young artists who had their first show at Flight Night. Capital Steez, Phony PPL, Dyme A Duzin, and more were around for Flight Night’s rise, and Kota was known for bringing the best of Brooklyn together for one night only. Flight Night went on to continue giving rising artists in New York City a platform to showcase their talents, and it also served as a mini pop-up shop for the FLTBYS apparel that Kota renewed for every show.
In 2012, Kota took a break from music, feeling that is was going no where fast. He decided to come up with another plan for the time being; he sold all of his at home studio equipment and invested in a Canon 5D MK II to create a music video company from the ground up with his female business partner and girlfriend named aiPandChimp. Together, they have created music videos and commercials that went viral overnight. When his girlfriend decided to leave the company in his hands to pursue other dreams of her own, he took it over and continued to make music videos for artists such as rapper Blu, Asher Roth and others. With the skills he mastered from countless hours of shooting and editing videos, he decided that it was time to get back into music. In the year 2015, Kota decided to come back to music knowing that he could now shoot his own visuals even better than before. He used his money that he made from video to buy a whole new home studio, and went to work.
Kota The Friend is a self-made, resilient, and head-strong individual that does not take “No” for an answer. With his diligence and patience, he plans on returning to the music world with full force and way more wisdom that came with hard work and age.
Take a look at our interview with Kota The Friend below, where we speak about his current plans, his goals for future Flight Night Shows, and the release of his debut EP, Palm Tree Liquor. Enjoy!
*Photo by Danny Caicedo*
Pia: Your last Flight Night showcase just passed on July 14th, what was the best part of that night?
Kota The Friend: The best part of the night was when it was over *laughs*. I felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. It was extremely stressful, like planning the event and keeping up with 10 different artists while finishing my project and keeping up with my day job as a videographer.
Pia: I heard you have a big announcement for future Flight Night shows. Tell us what’s up!
KTF: From now on, Flight Night will be a private event only for day one supporters of myself and the Flight Boys brand along with bloggers, select creatives, and photographers/videographers. It will no longer be open to the general public.
Pia: What inspired you to go that route with Flight Night?
KTF: I just decided to start keeping it simple to just focus on the people that really support my friends and I. I just want to connect us with other people that are really progressing and trying to make something of themselves.
Pia: Palm Tree Liquor debuted on Billboard Music’s website, which was major. What’s your favorite track on the EP and why?
KTF: My favorite track is “Sunny Day” because I feel like it opens up the EP perfectly. It basically sets the tone for what the whole project is going to be like. It’s the perfect introduction to the story that I am trying to tell.
Pia: Before Palm Tree Liquor it was Mountains, a full EP that you released as a visual EP. Why did you decide not to focus on that EP anymore?
KTF: Well, those were my first recordings when I got back into music and as I was finishing that up, I was making more music. My sound was getting more refined; the original Mountains EP was more of a traditional boom-bap “Golden Age” sound and a lot of the new songs that I was making were just on another level so I chose to focus on new stuff.
Pia: So far, you only have one music video out for your single “Customs”. Is there another video coming? What’s the next single?
KTF: I don’t know yet *laughs*.
Pia: What do you plan on doing in the meantime while your EP flourishes?
KTF: I plan on making more music, doing more shows, and working on my beat tape. I’m also just going to enjoy whats left of the summer, I’ve been working really hard.
Pia: When can we expect a Kota The Friend tour?
KTF: Neverrrrr *laughs*. Nah but for real, I have no idea. I’m actually working on it now.
Pia: Any last words for your fans?
KTF: Peace Kings and Queens! And make sure to bump and share Palm Tree Liquor!