Article: Kid Sister | Work Hard. Play Harder.

photo by Martha Williams

Forever Young

Her career’s gotten serious, but Kid Sister’s still all laughs.

By Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 11.18.09

TOC | Kid Sister

“I haven’t had my Red Bull yet,” Melisa Young offers by way of apology. With her nights increasingly spent as her lovable rapping alter ego, Kid Sister, the energy drink has become an integral part of her mornings. But this is the day before Young hits the road for a U.S. tour in support of her eagerly anticipated (and long overdue) debut album, Ultraviolet, for Downtown Records, and she’s taking it easy.

We’re sitting in the Chicago native’s sunny Albany Park condo, a modestly sized place decorated in pink hues that seems lived in but not too lived in: The spare bedroom is still empty, and in Young’s own bedroom, we spot an open suitcase, its contents spilling out. We’re here to talk about the record, why it’s been delayed for so many months and how she feels about the result, but Young’s mind is elsewhere. Barefoot and still in her pj’s (tank top and sweats), Young floats around the house, loading the dishwasher and telling us how excited she is that people are getting back into dance music. “People like Lil Jon are doing techno now,” she says. “Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, my God, these kids are starting a revolution with their dance music, I hope I’m not too late to the party.’ ”

Dance music’s climb back onto the charts is old news to the 29-year-old. “DJ Enuff—Biggie Smalls’s old DJ—did an interview with me in ’97,” she says, taking a seat at her glass dining table. “He was like, ‘I know this sounds silly, but we look to you because we’re fathers and mothers now, we’re old.’ I think of him as a visionary, and he’s looking to me now.”

Which makes sense, given how Kid Sister’s album shifts seamlessly among house, electro, pop and dubstep. But she dismisses these genre tags out of hand. “I guess we do have all these little flavors, like a Neapolitan pack, but really it’s all just electronic hip-hop,” she says. Still, when the producers span from underground U.K. dubstepper Rusko to Brian Kennedy, the man behind Rihanna’s “Disturbia,” well, that’s quite a range. Yet Young makes it work. And that, she explains, is why it took so long for her album to come out. “We pushed the album back because there were songs that stuck out, that didn’t flow.”

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