Jun 28, 2017 8:32PM

Kacy Hill Talks Bad Dancing And Getting Noticed By Kanye For Oyster #110

Full combo.
Fateful timing might just be Kacy Hill's best friend. It was an internship with a wedding photographer that landed her a casual modelling gig with American Apparel [in TK year], though modelling was never a true aspiration. She scored a spot among Kanye West's backup dancers, though, admittedly, she can't dance. Kismet peaked when Kanye copped an earful of the tunes she'd been making and signed her to his GOOD Music label. At just 22, Hill's already collaborated with Travis Scott and Kid Cudi and recorded a debut full-length album Like A Woman full of finely spun vocals and heaving, evolved hip-hop beats, which is due to drop June 30.
Hayley Morgan: What came first, American Apparel model or backup dancer for Kanye?
Kacy Hill: The modelling lead to the Kanye gig.
What are you more proud of?
I think the 'Yeezus' tour was pretty exciting, because that was the catalyst to what I am doing now. There were definitely a lot of moments there that I felt inspired to have that live energy for myself.
Which line of work comes with more obstacles: being a model or being a woman in the music industry?
Definitely being a woman in the music industry. It's a lot more traitorous. It requires more thought. I think that modelling, a lot of the time, is more of a gateway to other things. I never really saw it as something I was passionate about.
What were you doing before those things?
I was in high school. I'm almost 23 now. I moved to LA when I was 18, so I was just out of high school.
Do you come from a musical family? 
I went to this performing arts school in Arizona where I played the oboe and saxophone and sang in choir, but [that was] more something you do as a kid because it's good for brain development. I don't think either of my parents really anticipated me doing music, and I didn't either. I think it was just that everything fell in place. I know my parents were terrified when I moved to LA, it took me a while to prove to them and myself that what I was doing wasn't pointless. 
Which musicians were you obsessed with in high school?
I have so many. I used to spend a lot of time on Myspace looking at new bands ... I definitely went through a phase of everything. I had a little bit of a folk phase with Laura Marling and all that kind of stuff. 
And which film clips did you try to learn the choreography to?
I'm actually not a dancer, I'm an awful dancer.
Ok! So how did you get to be a back-up dancer?
It always comes off that I'm a dancer, but I'm not. It was more like static movement.
So what do you do in the club? Do you just do the sprinkler?
I mean, yes. Yes I do. I refer to myself as a "functional dancer", which basically means that I can move but I wouldn't tell my friends about it. I wouldn't be like, "Man, have you seen me dance?" But if I'm a little bit drunk I can get down; I can move.
Now you're releasing music on Kanye's GOOD Music label, does the man himself have a lot on input with your sound and look?
Not really, especially in the beginning. But back in June I was wrapping up the album and finishing production and I met with him for the first time. He kind of helped give it direction, which I really needed. I was, in a way, floundering trying to figure out what I was trying to be. So it was a blessing that he tied it all together.
I'm sure you're asked this all the time, but how did it all happen so fast? How did you get Kanye to pay attention to you?
Honestly, I don't even know. Maybe it was serendipitous. I don't want to say it was the right place at the right time, but everything came together at the right time. I was on tour with him and the same time, I put out my very first song. He just heard it through friends. The signing and stuff happened quickly, but there was so much work after that.  I was like, "Oh shit, I have a record deal and I don't even know what I'm doing!"
What were some of your influences while you were recording?
I think a lot of the influences came from going in the studio and feeling some type of way, and learning how to write as I went. It was my first time doing any of this, so I'd just go in and play with sounds. There wasn't a specific influence. It's a mixed bag; a lot of it is about me and figuring out my place in the world. There's a lot of stuff about feeling comfortable in being alone.
How does the record differ from what you've released independently? Have you seen some growth in yourself?
Completely. This is the first thing that I've really seen through to completion, with everything — the visuals and videos. I can't wait to have the videos out because they're so beautiful. They're my favourite things that I've ever done.
Who was more fun to work with: Travis Scott or Kid Cudi?
They're completely different people. I feel like Cudi is hilarious, always thinking of some kind of skit. Travis is a little more quiet and introverted in the studio.
What's the best piece of advice Kanye has given you?
He says that sentiment is what drives the project and is what people connect to. So you have to find the sentiment and make it genuine.
What's the best piece of advice you could give to Kanye?
Probably just to do things that make you the happiest, and be good to yourself.
Text: Hayley Morgan
Photography: Daria Kobayashi Ritch
Fashion: Sean Knight
Hair: Nikki Providence using Bumble and Bumble
Make-up: Amber Dreadon using Tom Ford Beauty