Coming off a explosive, 20-year ride with Tech N9ne’s Strange Music, Krizz Kaliko has officially graduated and is now launching his own label, Ear House Music.
His first release as a solo artist and label owner is “WEIGHT”, a track about vulnerability, self-acceptance, and empowerment. This powerful music video finds Krizz Kaliko baring all… in the literal sense as well. Kaliko has stripped back the exterior and revealed a completely different side of himself.
“When you see the word ‘weight,’ when you hear the word ‘weight,’ most people think heavy. The message that I want to send to the world is that weight doesn’t have to be heavy, but can be empowering,” Krizz said. “That is exactly what my single called ‘WEIGHT’ did for me. For the first time since I was 13-years old, I faced a heavy burden of showing my body to the world. I did a video, stripped down to my bare skin, and finally exposed all of me to my fans. Once I did this, I felt the burden lift off my shoulders. I finally accepted myself . As a man, we don’t usually show ourselves being vulnerable. Everyone has something that weighs them down or that holds them back, we need to risk being seen.”
We caught up with Krizz Kaliko to get the inside scoop on his departure from Strange Music, his new label Ear House, and getting buck naked for the world to see.
In 2019, you re-signed with Strange Music at a sold-out show at Red Rocks in Colorado and then followed it up with the release of “Legend”. What changed between then and now that promoted your departure and decision to finally launch your own label?
I did resign. I felt it was the thing to do at the time. Then Covid hit and made everyone have to pivot. Without shows, I barely had income. I never wanted to be in that position ever again. My thought was if I have my own company, I would never have to depend on anyone else or a company for income. I can control how much I work and how much I get paid. Plus, own my masters and the company to pass to my children.
What was Tech N9ne and Travis O’Guinn’s (Strange Music’s CEO) reaction when you told them the news?
Trav understood. We had several conversations about the business of the music industry, and as a businessman, he knew I would want to control my own destiny. As for my brother Tech N9ne, it was a much harder subject. We are of the greatest duos music has ever seen. To separate the chemistry was more than business, it was super emotional. It’s still hard and we still speak everyday. He is my brother and one of my best friends ever. I’ll miss him.
Tell us about the new label Ear House. What was the inspiration behind the name and logo?
I write and perform music from various genres. It has been a gift and a curse to my career. It was definitely hard for anybody to know what to do with me. I always knew. Go in every direction at one time. Everything you want to hear, every type of music you want to hear can come from me, and then it hit me, everything you want to hear comes from this house, which is where I am now making my music. My house. A graphic designer came up with the logo after I told him it needed to look like a house and have something to do with ears. I also wanted it to be simple. I pay attention to the branding of Nike, Walmart, Best Buy, Lowes and Home Depot. The designs are very simple, memorable and there’s always brand colors. When you look at my Ear House logo that’s what you see.
Do you see Ear House as a label just for Krizz Kaliko or at some point do you see yourself signing and developing new talent?
I definitely see myself signing and developing new talent. I just wanted to get my feet wet with me as the first artist at Ear House. I always feel like I have an eye for talent. In my show, talented people are on stage with me. I feel like I have an eye and an ear for what people want to see and hear. I will find those elite artists, team up with them and win people over.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration for the new single “Weight” and the movement that you’ve built behind it?
“Weight”, my new single, is another example of how I write about my life. How I am inside out when it comes to expressing myself on these records. I hadn’t taken my shirt off in public since I was 13 years old because of gynecomastia, which is man boobs. I was embarrassed of the fat on my body and on my chest. I want people to not be embarrassed of themselves, no matter what they look like. Of course, we should all strive for improvement, but there’s no need for us to feel uncomfortable in our own skin. That’s what weight is about. Also, I had a crazy idea to shoot the video naked. Strip myself down to my bare skin. I figured if I could do it anybody could and would do it. #RiskBeingSeen.
For the video for “Weight’, you literally stripped down buck naked reminiscent of D’ Angelo’s “How Does It Feel”. Walk me through that decision to show this side of you and what has the reaction been like so far from fans?
So for the “Weight” video, I knew I wanted it to be empowering to people. The guy that was shooting my third single “Kudos” video is a filmmaker out of LA named Ken Schoech (Shay). When I played him the song, he said you should strip down naked like D’Angelo. I was like hell naw. I could never bring myself to do it. When I was in Phoenix, Arizona shooting an entirely different video for a different song, I told that director about the idea that Ken had. He said “Let’s do it right now before you talk yourself out of it.” I stripped down right there and we shot it. It was so riveting I knew it would spark people to mimic what I did in the video and free themselves of security. Songs of mine like “Anxiety”, “Bipolar” and “Unstable” have already freed a lot of people from anxiety and depression. My song “Weight” is going to free them from insecurity.
What’s next for Krizz Kaliko?
What’s next for me is to get back out on the road with my brand new show and bring the joy the people have been missing during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine back to the world. Continue to drop more music than I ever have in my entire career.
Make your house a household name. Create musical stars, teach them the business by sharing in the company success by owning a share of their masters and shares of the company. I’m building a second legacy with Ear House like I did with Tech at Strange Music.