Kubota is a Japanese-American musician, rapper, and composer who is located in Los Angeles.
For his part, Kingsford is a Vermont-based music producer and beatmaker that creates Lofi Hip-Hop and Jazz Hop beats for sale and collaborations with a wide range of musicians.
Thank You” is the follow-up to Kubota’s last EP, which has more than 120,000 streams as of this writing.
He talks to us about his music career and goals, as well as his most recent album release, in this exclusive interview.
What is your real name?
My real name is Riki.
What’s your official Showbiz name?
I go by Kubota which is also my last name.
How did you get into music?
I fell in love with writing music when I was in Elementary school. My parents made me take up piano lessons when I was really young but I never got into it.
It was when my dad showed me how to play the guitar that I really dove into playing and writing music, and this all happened during my elementary school years and onward.
What field or genre are you into and how would you describe it?
If you mean the genres I listen to now, I listen to a lot of Alternative Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, and variation of those styles.
As for my music, I always had a difficult time answering this but I think I’d fit somewhere within the Alternative Hip-Hop infused with Indie-pop and Bedroom-pop genres. Luckily, my close friends decided to coin the name Kiki-pop to describe my music so hopefully, that’ll catch on… we’ll see.
What were your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
I used to be in a metal band called The Trees in middle school. But if we’re talking about my first project as Kubota, I created my first EP called The Outlier EP back in 2014.
It’s not available on streaming platforms but you can find it on my Bandcamp. It’s honestly pretty embarrassing because it sucks.
Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
Music has been a pinnacle part of my life. It’s given me my identity, and it’s the biggest reason I had made the life choices I had made. From my college degree to my professional career path, music has been the backbone of all of my decisions.
It’s just part of me at this point, and my experiences in life are what inspire me to write and express my feelings through my music.
Any models you look up to? With reason(s) why?
Kota the Friend is someone I really look up to. When I first heard him, I really connected with his music both style-wise and lyricism. I also look up to people like Bobby Lee who have built their own empires through podcasts and other forms of entertainment.
I don’t have a set schedule for it, but I’d like to venture out to other channels like podcasting, streaming, and more.
What do you look out for in this line of business?
Music is what I love to do. If I can make a comfortable living from it, I’d be happy.
What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
There are far too many to name. I suppose the biggest is my financial stability. The concept of a “broke artist” is very true in this business, and to fund a music career requires you to basically hold two full-time jobs while looking for freelance work on the side.
What comes from this is a lot of anxiety and imposter syndrome but at the very least, you’re learning a ton of new things during the process.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
I think it’s a great thing. I feel that it has impacted the music business and industry in a way that favours independent artists. I certainly wouldn’t have the following as I do if it weren’t for the internet.
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
I guess I’d fall into the same category but I’d say, keep doing what you’re good at. Knowing your strengths will help navigate you to make choices that will help you grow in your career and skills.
What is your current project about?
Kingsford (@Kingsford.music ) and I got a song called “Thank You”. I think it should be out on all streaming platforms by the time this is out. We spoke about collaborating for quite some time and Kingsford handed me a few beats.
This beat specifically was titled “Love” which really fit the mood that it gave me. It also was a very happy song but I usually like to make happy, uplifting sounding songs and give them a sadder twist so I decided to write about breaking up.
I then thought that far too many breakup songs were about the bitterness and resentments people feel from the experience. To my knowledge, breakup songs with a more positive message aren’t as common so I felt more inclined to go with that approach.
So pretty much, the song is about breaking up but still appreciating your ex and the experience that you went through. It’s a bitter-sweet song that’s uplifting with a tinge of melancholy.
What are your hobbies?
Aside from making music, I think I’m pretty boring. I only do that and surf. I also enjoy making videos.
What do you do aside from this profession?
I work for a live events company that organizes concerts and events for musicians and comedians. I also work for a digital marketing agency that handles digital marketing for private businesses. Aside from my day jobs, I do freelance work as a mixing and mastering engineer.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
こんにちは – thanks so much for your interest in me. In 2020, I had no idea I’d garner even a single fan, so for those of you who are with me on this journey, I am truly grateful to have you by my side.