Meet Willow Kayne, the Unapologetic Gen Z Artist Rewriting the Rules

If you were a stranger to Willow Kayne, her track, "Opinion," deftly introduces you to her motto and unabashed perspective. "Your opinion don’t mean none 'cause we don’t care / Bitch, you’d better run, know you dumb, take it elsewhere / We don't give a fuck, wish you luck with your judgment," sings the rising UK pop artist. The sentiment proves to not only be a running theme throughout her debut EP, Playground Antics, but also the key to Kayne's life mantra.

"This first project has been in the works for almost a year now, and the name Playground Antics seemed to be the perfect fit. The project revolves around my life in the past year, and the social changes that have taken place in it. When I began pursuing music as a career, I started noticing how some peoples' behavior around me had changed and was reminiscent of the bickering that would take place in the playground. It's a little nod to my childhood, looking at the underwhelming adult world through the perspective of a young Willow," shares Kayne.  

Kayne credits her mom, who previously worked on music videos for artists in the '90s, for being one of the principle reasons she was inspired to create music in the first place. Aside from her mom, she recalls resorting to music as a means to cure her boredom, leading to discovering DIY production and the endless possibilities that the world of SoundCloud had to offer her. To her surprise, her music quickly gained traction, and she soon found herself performing at underground London shows with like-minded artists.

At her core, Kayne is a pop experimentalist who thrives when pushing herself in every creative direction possible. Aside from acting, designing, and writing, Kayne's forte also lies in her ability to mix and balance a landscape of sonic aesthetics both nostalgic and novel to create one holistic vision that is unique to her and her generation. At only 20-years-old, Kayne's undeniably infectious confidence is refreshingly admirable, especially during an age of self-comparison. "This is my film you're an extra!" proclaims the provocateur over a blown-out bass.  

Aside from her tongue-in-cheek lyrics, Kayne's unique style draws from a landscape of genres, giving her the ability to pull from a reservoir of disparate sounds. Blending genre-defying tactics that elevate her playful ultra pop aura, Kayne's work is reminiscent of MIA, Tyler, the Creator, and Charli XCX while still staying true to her own cutting-edge, developing brand.

Kayne says that this unapologetic attitude towards living her life without regret comes from her desire to feel undefeatable. She recognizes the strengths of her generation but also doesn't shy away from GenZ's flaws. "If I'm not feeling great, I want to make music that makes me feel invincible. I don't want to push this narrative that I don't ever feel sad - of course, I do - but my way of dealing with that is to act as confident as possible. It's important for people to feel like they can tell others to fuck off", confesses Kayne to NME. "It's something people my age definitely need to do more."

The rockstar pop enthusiast is reworking how her generation views themselves and what it means to be self-confident. Her vision is best summed in her debut EP's final track, "Jealous," "My mummy said it's a compliment / She said I'm living in their heads but I'm not paying rent / She said don't worry bout a bitch who isn't willing to fight ya."

Listen to Playground Antics below:

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