KAIRO Is Aiming to Be the Pop Stars They Never Saw in the Mirror [Q&A]
Twin pop sensation KAIRO pay homage to their Houston home, Nigerian heritage, and the pure essence of love with their debut EP, Love Letters From Houston.
Living a bright life of color and play, what makes their music so infectious isn't just the way that their angelic vocals swirl together in perfect harmony. Their music is only an extension of their devotion to living joyously, curiously, and graciously.
Generating attention on TikTok with their clever hooks and racking up hundreds of thousands of Spotify streams, the brothers remain effortlessly grounded in humility. With so much of their career still in store, it's a pleasure to see their goodness remain good, a nod to a well-nurtured upbringing.
Influenced by the pop artists they grew up listening to, the brothers fell enamored with a genre of music that didn't reflect back many artists that looked like them, but the most beautiful part of their unfolding story is that they didn't cower away from this.
It's been said that our purpose in life is found when we become what we needed as children, and that's the exact call to action KAIRO took. They are what they needed to see and now give so many boys once in their position permission to do the same.
Simply put, KAIRO embodies the liberation that comes from being led by truth, committed to your authenticity, and forever rooted in love. We got the chance to sit down with their brothers ahead of their EP release to talk all about their musical journey.
Ones To Watch: Your EP Love Letters From Houston is finally here! Walk us through the process of creating this.
AK: So for every song on this EP, the idea stemmed from Houston.
EJ: Yeah, I wrote most of the hooks in Houston and then we'd take those ideas and we'd go to flesh them out with our producers. So eventually we thought, why not name it Love Letters From Houston?
What's special about love in Houston? What is love like in the south?
AK: Love down south has a lot of intentionality! It's slow.
EJ: Even the people, too! LA is really dope for connections and business but it definitely is a fast-paced, transactional lifestyle.
AK: Yeah in Texas it's like, I'm gonna get to know you, it's slow.
Love down south seems more home-cooked. Speaking of love, what happens when you guys are in dissimilar places with it? Have you ever had one going through heartbreak while the other is still falling and you still need to write the same love song?
EJ: Yeah that's happened a lot and it's kind of funny when we try writing in the studio and one of us is like "I'm so happy!"
AK: While the other is like "I'm not happy at ALL right now!" But we come together, you know. If we want this song to feel a way, we'll write towards that goal.
And I'm sure there's a lot to take from each experience! What do you think are the beautiful parts of heartbreak and the ugly parts of love?
AK: I think the beautiful part of heartbreak is rebuilding yourself and getting a better definition of yourself.
EJ: When you're in love and infatuated with somebody, you might let a lot of things slide. And when you're heartbroken, you get to take a step back and say "Okay what did I like, what did I not like?"
AK: I think, with love, you're signing up for the possibility of you losing this person, but you're okay with that. You're deciding to cherish every moment.
That's beautiful. So being that you guys are family, are you able to shut work off when you get back home?
EJ: Honestly, no, haha. It bleeds into everything. When I was younger, I used to beatbox a little and then he’d start singing a melody and we'd record it on a voice memo. We were always singing around the house.
AK: Yeah, our friends get annoyed by it but we know it works.
You guys shout out Houston, but I know you also honor your Nigerian heritage. How do you maintain that connection to your roots?
AK: When we meet new people, in LA specifically, when they ask where we're from we make it a point to say we're Nigerian from Houston.
EJ: For us, we grew up on every American artist. Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, so I think it's cool to see a Nigerian artist making pop music.
Representation is so important, especially being at the intersection of African and pop. Who were some Black artists that gave you permission to make your art?
AK: From our high school days, the person we looked up to was Khalid. He was in pop and no one said anything because it was objectively good. And we thought "Ok, we can do that now."
EJ: Through him we saw that it was doable. In elementary school, I was listening to Justin Bieber and my mom had a wig that looked like his hair, so I would put it on and flip the bang like I was him. So I'm happy that we weaned off of that and are able to make our music with our skin, our hair, our real appearance, and be confident.
That's so important. You guys living in your truth and authenticity is giving so many boys that look like you permission to do the same.
AK: That's the goal, that's all that matters. We always say, imagine two black boys looking at us, like our younger cousins or even our sister, seeing us and seeing that it's possible for them.
Who are your Ones To Watch?
EJ: There are a lot! We have two friends Scott Moon and Rishy, they'll be opening for us. They're super dope. Also a collective Glenhaven, and our friend Tommy Richmann.
KAIRO's Love Letters From Houston is available everywhere you can stream it.