From Vee to Q
Music and valuing the freedom of self-expression
By Sarah Nelson
I come face to face with 30-year-old Kiran Vee. His jet black hair is pulled back into a messy bun. His eyes are a sunken in.
Glowing sunshine soars through his living room windows, feeding the wide array of plants and succulents clustered together on the floor.
Wooden elephant figurines are displayed on the coffee table, tiger portraits hang on the wall, and a painting above his production desk depicts a scene of straw hut houses surrounded by palm trees in the Philippines.
“My grandfather was in the U.N., and my dad would travel all around the world with him collecting items from different places,” Vee says.
His home is the incubation space for his new solo project, Q the Sun.
Until recently, Vee was a founding member of the Milwaukee, indie, hip-hop group Fresh Cut Collective.
Now, as Q the Sun, he is a crucial member and producer for New Age Narcissism (NAN), a collective of Milwaukee’s own talented singers, rappers, and beat makers. The group includes artists such as Lorde Fredd33, WebsterX, and Lex Allen. Q the Sun, is a chaotic mix of everything. His trap tracks infuse antiquated radio shows, spy-noir beats, big band samples, and Audrey Hepburn movie soundtracks.
“Genres really kill the spiritual meaning of things,” Vee says, “There is a collage mentality to producing my music. It doesn’t have to be one beat per song. It can be an orchestral piece with ups and downs.”
There is a dark ambiance between Q the Sun and his musical partners.
Lorde Fred33, who Vee calls the “mantra constructor,” infuses mantra in his raps. Tracks such as “Gravvy” and “Tupacalypse” lead the imagination to a place of trippy, murky fog with rays of sunshine rapidly peeping through like a strobe light. Vee portrays a hint of spirit jazz – think Bollywood, the Beatles, and hallucinogenics.
Over tea, he begins to show me songs he has been working on with Lex
Allen and Lorde Fred33 over the past few months. One song in particular, a mash-up with Lex Allen, stands out to me. It sounds like a hip-hop, trap Creedence Clearwater Revival song with poetic lyrics about dark waters, and strong vocals that exude a country-like vibe. It is unconventional, but that’s just Q.
His goal to break conventions manifests in the improvisation of his live shows.
“The show is so connected, in that space. There is a funnel of energy you can just feel from the audience while performing and see when you are on stage,” Vee says as he repeatedly swirls his pointer finger in a circle like a spinning top.
He is a performer, a producer, a singer-songwriter, and a youth advocate to boot. Vee participates in media-based workshops with children, and speaks out against youth gun violence. His journey to SXSW earlier this year, his upcoming solo album, and three collaborative EPs are an indication of his well-deserved ubiquity.
“I feel you in my heart. I see you in my heart,” Vee says poetically, covering his heart with his right palm. There is much more in store for Vee.
Anticipation is expected, expectation is naive.