Kid Raiyan

By Jeremy Binning

Kid Raiyan, or KR for short, is nothing less than an interesting figure to say the least. Aside from the wild yet abstract posts that he constantly throws up on Instagram, KR has been making noise for the last year and a half as he has already released 2 albums this year alone. Born Ryan Santolo, KR grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York where he still resides. Unlike most artists, he produces, engineers, and performs all his songs on his own. Starting off as just a beatmaker, he gradually grew into rapping as he explains, “I had friends who rapped and sang on my beats but after I started getting good at making beats I just started rapping on my own.” 

After graduating high school life became a blur. KR spent almost three years in college before dropping out and deciding to pursue music full time. “I just felt school gave me a negative energy that made me not want to go,” He continues, “I knew what I wanted in life and I didn’t need school for it.” He works during the winter at a ski resort 20 minutes away from where he grew up and even during his shifts he still listens to his music. “Whenever I’m free at work, which is often, I listen to the recent stuff I made and basically plan out where I’m gonna move with it.”

The type of genre that KR has created is something of a mix of everything. It is hip-hop, but with the melodies and range of drums used in his beats, along with his interesting and absurd lyrics, you have a new wave of music that is ready to break through the scene with the right crowd. Songs like “Pure” of his album “I Never Exited the Woods” show his versatility as to what he can make. The melodic beat on this song is something similar to what his signature sound could be. But when you go further into the album with songs like “Friends” you see a different sound with a different KR singing. 

What brought KR’s passion for music is the therapeutic relief he gets from singing about what’s going on. Growing up, Mac Miller was his favorite artist to listen to. When Miller suddenly died from a drug overdose in September of 2018, KR began to shift his focus to what he wanted most out of music. “I was stuck in a mental loop where I would just stress myself over getting rich and famous to the point where when Mac died, I started to question  myself.” He realized what he wanted was peace of mind. “I dropped the mindset of doing it to get rich and just focused on being happy and it lifted me in so many different ways.”

He feels like making music is his form of therapy and credits a lot of his lyrics to helping him get through situations. “I would sing or rap about something that upset me or put me in a bad place. Then I would listen to it over and over again and it just gives me a euphoric feeling.” The power of creation creates a sense of achievement for him and it’s something that he never felt before. Regardless of how large his following is at the moment, he cherishes his abilities to be able to do so much on his own. “I feel complete as an artist because I can make the beat, sing on it and engineer it myself. I used to look at people who could only engineer or make beats and be in awe of them. Now I’m doing it all on my own and it puts the biggest smile on my face when I make something sick.” 

KR doesn’t plan on slowing down this year as he already announced on his Instagram page of the upcoming releases of two new albums yet to be named. Both projects are set to release before this summer. As far as performing, KR is aiming for his on stage debut sometime this summer where he plans on trying to complete a few shows in promotion for his latest albums. “I plan on doing a lot of big things this summer in terms of building my brand, I worked hard enough and I’m ready to push my game to the next level.”

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