The Reintroduction of Kacy Hill
We caught up with the model and singer three years after gracing the cover of V103.
In 2016, singer Kacy Hill was the talk of every media publication. “Kacy Hill Is About to Take the Music World by Storm” was the proclamation of V with the launch of her fall issue cover story. Signed to G.O.O.D. Music at the time, Hill was often introduced as “Kanye-approved” or “Kanye’s protege.” By any standard, the artist was making a splash label dreams, with a rollout that would make any publicist drool. Everyone was excited to see what Kacy Hill would do next. Everyone, except Kacy Hill.
“I felt like I was on autopilot,” she says, recalling the time, adding, “I was so eager for other people’s validations that I wasn’t even really listening to if I liked something. I felt like I was seeking outside opinion before I was like, OK, how do I feel about it?”
“It felt like I was doing the wrong thing,” she continued. “Or like I was ungrateful or something because I wasn’t happy and I felt like I was in a position where I was supposed to be happy and like if I felt depressed it was like well you know so many people would kill to be in your position…”
Shortly after the release of her debut album, Like A Woman, Hill sought freedom from her contract. “I spent a long time trying to get out of my deal with G.O.O.D. Music and with Def Jam. And I think there were points where I was like, wow, I don’t know if this is worth it. It felt like it was overtaking my life. It was really defeating.”
While clearly serious about the effect the arrangement had on her wellbeing, the singer doesn’t hold any contempt for those eager to bring her success. She even has a sense of humor about parts of it: “I basically spent four months trying to get a meeting with Kanye, not that he was ignoring me or anything! He’s obviously such a busy person and how does anyone get a meeting him? I don’t know,” she says, laughing.
Now, completely independent, the singer is ready to reintroduce herself and make music that feels good. This past Friday, she released “To Someone Else,” written with Francis and the Lights, which was shortly followed by a music video she co-directed with Chuck Grant.
Comparing that time of feeling on autopilot, she says, “Now I feel like I will literally do anything that I have to do to make things happen and I like that I’m in control I like that I’m in the driver’s seat. [This album] belongs to a certain time period in my life, and it’s been really the one thing that I’ve worked on. It’s like I’m sending my kid off to kindergarten.”
“To Someone Else” captures a purity that Hill longed for after finally breaking free from her deal, a “coming of age” feeling born from the soul searching she’d done since that more depressive time. Her forthcoming record will be no different: “I made an album that is exactly what I wanted to make and exactly what I wanted to say. I genuinely think it’s the best thing I have heard in a really, really, really, long time and I’m just so unbelievably proud of it. I’ve paid for the entire album myself. I’m doing everything independently, and I think that for me it’s like such a massive feat that I’m almost like in disbelief of it. It is it’s huge! It’s crazy!”
While fighting for her artistic freedom six months after releasing Like A Woman, Hill was also tackling barbells in the gym. The singer started hitting up the gym. “I was really into working out, but I had this trainer who I asked to train me for a weightlifting competition because she did Olympic weightlifting. She trained me in for my first weightlifting competition like a year and a half ago.”
Hearing the story, it’s impossible to separate Hill’s parallel journey from body strength and artistic confidence. She agrees, “It’s quite similar to performing in a way. You get up on a platform in front of an audience and you get three attempts to snatch and three attempts at the clean and jerk and you just try and lift the heaviest weight you can.”
Perhaps that’s where the secret to Hill’s success lies. She analyzes her surroundings, takes them in, and just goes for it, no matter the obstacle. There’s no mountain high enough and no valley low enough to stop her from reaching the top, wherever that may be. Lies: conquering an obstacle no matter the effort.
Watch the video for her latest single “To Someone Else,” below.