• Bridney Casillas

Naturally Hypnotic: The Lively Sounds of Urban Music Duo HYPE

Members KIINGA & JayLing Discuss the Origin of Their Name, How They First Met, & Upcoming Projects in Exclusive Interview

By Bridney Casillas

Meet HYPE: KIINGA poses peacefully with her hands in her pockets while JayLing stares off in the distance.

What's all the HYPE about? Members KIINGA and JayLing have the answer, as they are both rising artists in Southeastern Connecticut.

Their music is centered around themes of self-worth, love, and determination with the help of catchy and swift rhymes, 808s, and bass-boosting instrumentals that add a refreshing blend of uniqueness to the local music scene. They have released a string of songs that have been well-received by the community.

As a duo, HYPE has released an EP and two music videos. Their EP Be Right Back... was released on July 31, 2020, containing some of the duos' favorite songs, including Here We Go, No Mercy, RVD, and Culo.

Their first music video for their song Hit My Line, released on November 20th, 2020 allowed KIINGA to showcase her singing vocals while JayLing rapped. The music video has since reached over 10,000 views on YouTube, adding to the duo's rising popularity.

In December 2020, they were allowed to play Hit My Line and some of their unreleased music on 92.9 WDUP, a local radio station based in New London, Connecticut. HYPE were also guest featured on the Bone Apple Tea podcast, where they discussed their music and how they first entered the rap game.

"Don’t let others around you determine the outcome of your career. You could be as big as you want, you have to really and honestly work for it," says KIINGA.

Kelsie Rivera, also known as KIINGA, is in her 20s and is one half of HYPE. Hailing from Connecticut, she grew up in a musical household where her father created beats in their basement and wrote raps that corresponded with his instrumentals.

Her sister sang along to their father's songs while KIINGA wrote rhymes. Her father built a small studio set-up where his friends would come over to the house to record and write music.

As a child, KIINGA knew she wanted to pursue a music career, and as she got older, she started taking it seriously. Growing up, she listened to rock music, specifically rock bands from the early 2000s and old school Hip-Hop once she turned 13. She quickly realized the harder she worked on music, the more determined she felt about following her dreams as an artist.

"All I knew as a kid was music to escape everything painful... It’s always been the only resource of escaping anything negative in my head, or my life. can’t live without it, and I honestly never have. Some things you are just born with and music is definitely the only thing that has never gone away for me," says KIINGA.

Born and raised in Sanford, Florida, JayLing Hopkins, also in his 20s, came from a musical household and was a member of the school band in middle school. He started writing music in middle school and continued to write about his life experiences into adulthood.

After perfecting his craft, he decided to migrate to Groton, Connecticut to establish himself and his music career. Once he settled there, he became acquainted with KIINGA and felt a connection with her inner-drive and confidence to becoming an artist.

"Music heals because it touches your soul and makes an unmatched connection," says JayLing.

They first met through a mutual friend who was dating JayLing and was also best friends with KIINGA at the time. They soon become co-workers at a pharmacy and became best friends. At that time, KIINGA was quietly working on her music and later opened up to JayLing about her love for music as their friendship progressed.

Once JayLing was informed that KIINGA created music, he decided to work with her on some music collaborations. He found that working alongside Kelsie was refreshing, exciting, and he felt a sense of accomplishment each time they completed a song.

After collaborating on a few songs, they realized they worked well together professionally and decided to form a music duo. They settled on the name HYPE after agreeing it appropriately fit the genre of music they make, a mix of different genres including Hip-Hop, R&B, and Rap, a genre they refer to as being "uniquely its own."

The name HYPE describes JayLing and KIINGA's artistry. For them, it represents how their supporters and followers felt when they listened to their music, a sense of intense energy and powerful emotions behind each song.

"I personally feel like we have invented our own genre and we haven’t come up with a name for it yet. We are indeed too diverse to be categorized, but If there was a genre we would be in it would be all genres mixed in one. Our music is exact, emotional, intuitive. It is extremely vibey, which gives you feels and hyperactive energy," says KIINGA.

Currently, HYPE is working on a group project behind the scenes and has actively worked on solo projects and features in between. As a solo artist, KIINGA has been featured on songs with other local artists, including Young Paradox, Clara K, and Primo.

In January 2021, JayLing released his first single as a solo artist, Love Them which was met with positive feedback from his friends and fanbase. A melodic song featuring a Spanish guitar and an R&B instrumental, his new single showcases his singing and rapping skills.

As a collective, their latest release is a new music video for their song March Madness. Released on January 29th, the music video features HYPE dancing on top of a white jeep on an empty road at nighttime and rapping in front of the side of a brick structure.

They look forward to having a great year expanding their fanbase and gaining more opportunities. They also look forward to having a great 2021 and hope to release music that will reach a wide variety of audiences.

"Once our project comes out, it’ll give a bunch of insight into who we truly are as artists. Our genre is definitely going to expand from Rap to R&B to Techno to Rock... Just all over the place. (laughs)" says member, JayLing.

You can hear more from HYPE on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. You can see more from HYPE by following them on Twitter and Instagram @kiinga860 and @jayling_.

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