I met K Mo writing in LA shortly after I had moved here… and thank God for that. It’s hard to write a great song, and harder to find a great friend.
The fact that both of us are West Coast Canadian girls chasing the same dream in this big, bad city is an endless comfort to me. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and inevitable discouragement that lurks when you have the balls to live your dreams. K Mo has reminded me to laugh more, work harder and never forget how lucky we are to get to play in a studio every day.
You’ve written for massive artists like The Chainsmokers, DVBBS & Blackbear. How did you find songwriting and end up in LA?
K: I’ve been writing since I was 14 and borrowed my Grandfather’s guitar for the summer. I was always drawn to it. I used to study the credits on my CD’s as a kid and think about how cool it would be to be one of the people artists trusted to share their music with and as soon as I picked it up, I was totally addicted and started to pursue my career as an artist. That eventually led me to the people in LA I still work with today. Once I started doing trips down here it was harder and harder to leave. There’s always so much going on creatively. The level of talent and drive is so inspiring and has always pushed me to do my best work so I eventually just decided to stay.
What was the process for songs like these coming together? Do any of them have similar stories of creation or are they all different?
K: I always try and start my sessions by talking for a while, figuring out where everyone in the room is at emotionally and then building chords and free styling melodies/lyric ideas on the mic based on that and whatever feels like the most present story to tell that day. Obviously sometimes it’s slightly different and an artist or writer comes in with a title, melody or concept but if we’re starting from scratch I tend to do it like that most of the time. To me, emotion is the most important element in a song, it will always trump the perfect concept or melody. It doesn’t matter if it’s a perfectly crafted, poetic song. If it doesn’t make you feel something, then it’s missing something. So for me the most important part is getting to know and connecting with who you’re writing with so you can write something truthful and meaningful for the people in the room.
You have one of my favourite up and coming artist projects around. Do you know in the process of writing if you’re working on a song you want to keep for K Mo or does that become apparent after you get the demo?
K: I’m definitely usually in a certain mood, where in my head I’m like, “okay my turn, I have some shit to say today and I want to say it however I feel like it.” Those usually end up being the “me” songs but I often don’t know until the session is over. Its hard though, the more I write the less attached to any song I feel so I have a hard time holding on to ones for me sometimes. I just want the songs out in the world and being listened to by as many people as possible, that’s my priority at the end of the day.
What’s the hardest part about living in LA?
K: I feel like LA exaggerates all of your emotions. When you’re happy you feel like your dreams are coming true and you’re in the best place in the world. When you’re lonely in LA you feel SO lonely. When you’re even a little sad you feel like you’re miserable compared to your previous high. At least for me I find that aspect of it really intense. There’s such an expectation of success, happiness, and wealth here that I find it hard to be present in my emotions until they’re at one extreme or the other.
K: Rihanna, no doubt.
You’re one of the most fun people I know. When we wrote Radio Silence it was such an enjoyable day that I don’t even really remember writing or cutting the vocals because we were having so much fun. Are most of your sessions like this?
K: Haha if people will go there with me I will always try to take them but I also felt like you and I just clicked and had the same sense of humour from the jump. I try and maintain a bit of child like curiosity and silliness in the studio, because while I want it to be real and emotional I want everyone there to remember to not take the whole thing too seriously. I genuinely got into this because I love people and music, and hanging out. I never want anyone to feel pressured, I want them to feel safe and enjoy the time we spend together. That’s more of my priority than the actual song. That will come, but almost always after you establish some kind of relationship with whoever you’re working with, and when the pressure’s off.
Worst session and why?
K: Ugh I’ve had so many with dudes who just literally do not pay attention to me or take credit in the room for my ideas. That’s the worst. I don’t really like being in the room with more than two guys unless there’s other girls in the room. They so often band together and make you feel excluded and that frustrates me.
Favourite song of the last five years?
K: I’m actually so stumped on this. I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one song, can I say an album? SZA!! Something SZA.
Favourite songwriter and why?
K: John Mayer, I always strive to strike a balance of metaphorical and real life descriptives like he does.
What advice would you give to yourself at 17?
K: FIRE EVERYONE ON YOUR TEAM. Don’t be in a rush. Stay and finish your last year of school. Listen to your parents. You don’t need to lose weight.
K: There’s just no imaginable other choice. It is the love affair that never faded, it’s what I’ve chosen to give my life to, and as difficult as it is sometimes, I’ll choose it again and again. Music is what gets me out of bed every morning, I can’t imagine my life without it!
Keep up with K-Mo on instagram, @kallmekmo
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