Creativity has always been at the foundation of what makes Kayshli move through life. Whether it was sweet rainbow-tailored ensembles or her innate love of all things music, she had a spark that shone brightly throughout her life. Today, she’s focused on blinding the world with her immense talent as an independent artist heating up the pop scene with her Latin flare and Reggaeton beats. We talked about her artistic ways, representation on a few fronts, all the musical endeavors she’s had as of late, and much more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: Who were some of your early influences that got you interested in making music and eventually led you to pursue a career?
Kayshli: Mainly the bands I listened to growing up around my early teens like Paramore, Bring me the Horizon, Falling in Reverse, and many more pop-punk, and post-hardcore bands that gave me a whole new feeling about music. It was empowering, and it influenced my sense of style.
I have always had a wide variety of tastes in music because I find music inspiring and see it as the path to people’s minds. A big inspiration at least in the Reggaetón scene was Wisin y Yandel. I have been listening to them since their album, ‘De Otra Manera,’ which was released back in August 2002. Another big inspiration in my strong personality would be Gloria Trevi. Her powerful voice reflected strength in a way that I too, wanted to obtain. A certain sense of confidence that simply shone on me and motivated me to become confident in my own craft.
It wasn’t until 2018 that I attended a concert and got to spend time with some of the band members that played in the venue. Being surrounded by people that I had been listening to for over 10 years, and seeing the interactions between the teams, producers – light crew, and soundcheck crew really changed my life. I said to myself that if they could do it, I could too.
It was a realization that artists are normal humans with extraordinary dreams, and a willingness to pursue those dreams. It was the moment I began composing, which is why my first song was in English, and not Spanish. From composing melodies from the only four chords that I had learned on YouTube for my ukulele, to going to studios and recording professionally has been a blessing and an incredible journey for me as I took it upon myself to make music without even knowing how to do it, but having my family’s support was the main motivation to pursue a career.
Kendra: Your style shines bright with Latin flare and Reggaeton. How do you feel those genres – overall – are implementing themselves in the mainstream music scene?
Kayshli: I feel that the industry is meshing well with the mainstream music scene as we’re seeing more bilingual collaborations like Drake and Bad Bunny, Pop Smoke and Karol G, and Billie Eilish and Rosalia.
Something that a lot of non-Spanish speaking people that have seen me performing my songs live or listened to my music have told me that although they might not understand what I am saying, they felt the energy in my songs, and loved it which is why now artist collaborations are more common because it’s not about language anymore, it’s about connection, and energy.
One of my favorite artists, Chris Brown, collaborated with Rauw Alejandro, and that gives me hope to be able to collaborate with recognized artists like Ozuna, Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, The Weeknd, and many more that I would love to work with. It has always been a part of the culture to do crossovers between English and Spanish, but now we are seeing more acceptance of it.
Kendra: You’ve dropped two singles so far this year, “Consciente” and “In a Dream.” Each showcases a new side of your artistry. Are you the type that doesn’t like to get comfortable, like you enjoy pushing yourself in new directions with your craft?
Kayshli: I like challenging myself to do something new and fresh. I really do think about the message I am trying to portray, which is based on real emotions. My music is my gateway to the real me, and a window to my deepest emotions, because I want to express them, not repress them, so I do it in a creative way within my music. I always think of my music as a lesson to be learned, or a story to be told. I have many ideas, and many projects that allow me to be as creative as I want to be. In my mind, there are no limitations to what my craft can become, as the idea can always evolve into something like “Consciente” which I composed back in 2020, but evolved into what it was released as, now in 2022.
I am open to any genre and have composed more than just Reggaetón. I compose anything that comes to mind, but I just do not release all those projects as I have been focusing mainly on Reggaetón, and the Latin Music genre since 2018 when I began my journey. I believe the electricity, and my vibrant sense of style makes me stand out and allows me to represent Latina talent, which to me is the main inspiration. Being able to represent Puerto Rico, and our culture positively.
Kendra: On the Latina side and representation, I’d love to get your take on representation. In the past few years, we’ve had some amazing TV shows with great characters that repped Mexican-Americans, people from the Dominican Republic, and Cuban-Americans that were all canceled. I often think of how many Black people came out for ‘Black Panther’ and how many Asian people sold out theaters for ‘Crazy Rich Asians.’ Why do you think we don’t see that same fervor for Latin representation in pop culture? Why aren’t these shows trending as hard when premiering? While on the flip side, I do feel like we see it with Latin artists like Bad Bunny. He is selling out huge venues!
Kayshli: I think that things are slowly changing for the Latin community, especially the movement of Reggaetón upcoming females. There’s a wave of new Puerto Rican artists that are showing their craft which reflects our culture, putting Puerto Rico on the map as the home of Reggaetón.
Artists like Jennifer Lopez, Daddy Yankee, Mark Anthony, Cardi B, and Bad Bunny have opened many doors for Latinos not just in the music industry, but in every way. They have done things that hopefully inspire others to pursue their dreams no matter what limitations society might portray for the Latinos.
As far as Latin representation in films, I believe that with such influences collaborating with other recognized artists will inspire other Latin talents to keep pushing toward more recognition in cultural influences and embrace diversity of any kind, and not just in music. I believe we will continue to see more upcoming Latino success in film, music, and all the entertainment industry as we are seeing more support from all over the world, although it might seem like baby steps, Latinos are definitely continuing to excel in a new era of acceptance.
Kendra: Now back to you and the music, you’re in Kissimmee which is pretty close to Orlando. Do you have any favorite Orlando spots for live music?
Kayshli: I love going to Downtown Orlando. There’s always something going on there. Many venues always offer the opportunity to have live music, but the best spot I have enjoyed the most is The House of Blues in Orlando. They definitely allow local bands to perform, and I always enjoy discovering new artists and vibing with different types of artists from upcoming independent artists to more recognized local bands.
Kendra: Side note time – with September being a Back 2 School month, I’d love to know your favorite field trip or just school memory.
Kayshli: I always loved school, and really enjoyed being part of the art club. I truly don’t remember many school trips, but I do remember during my Senior year in 2013, I decided to run for “Most Creative” for the school yearbook. I remember in high school wearing handmade bows I made out of Skittles Candy wrappers and acquiring the nickname “Skittles.”
I ended up being chosen for “Most Creative,” and it sparked a lot of confidence within me. I always said, “I dress to express, not to impress” and that mentality has always carried me through my music career, and my sense of fashion while having the liberty to always allow myself to confidently be my most authentic self.
Kendra: Lastly, with two singles out now – what are your plans as we head into the fall?
Kayshli: Fall is the beginning of my favorite time of the year. I have been working on a lot of projects which I will be announcing sometime by September. I don’t want to give out too many details, but I am working on my first E.P! I have been working on it and dedicating most of my time into this, but also been working on various collaborations with other local artists.
“Consciente” and “In a Dream” were only a sneak-peek of what’s to come from Kayshli, baby. I have been working on my merch, which I have some handmade, custom designs, and continue expanding my brand as I keep getting opportunities to show who Kayshli is while continuing to grow in every way while enjoying this journey.