We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Toledo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Life lead me to becoming an artist. Music was always an outlet for me. I started out by writing poetry as a way to vent in a creative way. Eventually it became me recording, writing songs and producing my own records as well.
With photography and mixed media I developed a niche for myself the same way. Using a camera to capture things I felt were beautiful through my eyes became an outlet and a creative way to be outside and be productive. Being able to mix the visual aspect to what I do musically came together naturally because it was always personal for me.
What made me actually pursue these outlets as a career was the fact that I wish I could’ve started earlier, and due to life and a limited perspective growing up I didn’t believe that was an option or possible. I spent a lot of time locked in school, working jobs and finding professional careers instead of an artistic career because that was the realistic route for me, but eventually the artist came out of me and I found ways to balance and create a way for me to combine my educational/professional career with the artistic one as well.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m pretty hands on when it comes to my art and I like my art to be a reflection of me and my perspectives. I’m excited to share that my debut project, “Personal Project Demo” will be released on 5/22/21 and is entirely produced by me with the exception of two tracks which I still co-produced.
It’s been a tough journey of me finding my own sound, which is still developing as well. Taking matters into my own hands with this project was all about learning. Learning me, who I am, growing through this project, while also learning how to actually produce, record, write, mix and engineer for the whole project as well. I held onto a lot of unfinished product to eventually develop them into my debut EP as well.
In addition to the music, I visually am very in-tuned with all aspects as well. I create my own cover arts and creatively direct all of my own visual content as well.
I had rock bottom moments in my life to the point where all I had was my outlet to create and I had to really push myself to not quit or give up on myself. I was diagnosed with a mood disorder and depression on October of 2019, and although it was very circumstantial I was also not doing things that were productive to what I ultimately wanted for myself, which is to create freely and release my music. I was crippled by life circumstances, work/career stress, my confidence as an artist was low, and I just didn’t understand what my purpose was for a bit.
Eventually I kinda just rearranged my life, stop dealing with certain people that weren’t good for my soul, and I basically moved on with the music I had and took it upon myself to just do it with confidence to continue as well.
I had to stop caring about what other people thought of me and pay attention to the purpose of why I create. If there is anything I want people to remember me for is that I didn’t stop despite how sad things felt. I kept being positive, built healthier boundaries for myself and moved with good intent in all endeavors.
I want people understand that no matter what it is never too late. Ultimately our youth need examples and people with real life perspectives to look up to and I offer and encourage that, by expressing myself freely through all my artistic outlets in a real and relatable manner. That’s what I hope people take in when they digest my creative work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If you come to The Bronx I would take you to some of my favorite food spots. First we’ll go to Lydig Ave & White Plains Road for some amazing authentic Mexican Tacos from Tacos El Bronco 2, then some Samosas from Tandoori Place on Starling Avenue in Parkchester, I would also have to make a stop in Harlem for Pizza at Patsy’s on East 118th Street & First Avenue. Another food spot we’ll stop at Cơm Tấm Ninh Kiều on Jerome Avenue & 193rd Street for bomb Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwiches & Pho. For views and to chill out I would make my way to Ferry Point Park to be by water and nature. I’d also stop by at the Unique Thrift Store because it’s always nice to roam around and shop for some dope thrifted finds.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m very inspired everyday by many of my peers. I don’t wanna single anyone out or miss anyone to mention so I’ll say all of my homies that are creatives in their own light, inspire me. I’ll leave the real shoutout to my mom, my big brother, the ones who wish well over me, and send me prayers, and all the people I have lost near and dear to me that I live vicariously through every day. A book I want to shout out is The Holy Bible for always finding ways to keep me grounded and centered.
Jordan Bruno Swan @worthy.nyc Tyrone Hodge @ty.vision Kevin Toledo @nyctoledo