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Together with American Songwriter, we had the pleasure of interviewing Kidd G over Zoom video!
With a rare gift for turning his hometown experiences into natural melodies, Kidd G has found tremendous success by staying true to his roots. As a kid growing up in small-town Georgia, he first started creating his own songs at the age of 15, and soon arrived at a gritty but melodic sound equally inspired by classic country and hip-hop. On the heels of his chart-climbing breakthrough single “Dirt Road”—an October 2020 release whose video surpassed 5 million YouTube views in little over a month—Kidd G has now shared his debut EP; the powerfully heartfelt Teenage Dream.
Born Gabriel Horne and raised in the town of Hamilton (population 1,130), Kidd G got his start singing at the age of 11 with the full support of his music-loving family (his great uncle played bass in Fleetwood Mac, and both his parents are hobbyist singers). Within several years he’d set up a makeshift studio in his bedroom and started recording with his friends, partly mining inspiration from new age rappers like Juice WRLD. One of his first viral moments was his video, “Letter to Juice”, a minute-long verse over a melancholic beat paying homage to the late artist. But while early tracks like his debut single “Sorry” lean toward traditional hip-hop, Kidd G later brought an element of old-school country into his songwriting. “I love country because it feels so natural to me, and you can really tell stories in the songs,” he notes, naming Hank Williams Jr. among the artists he grew up on. As he continued posting his music on SoundCloud, Kidd G soon amassed a dedicated following undeniably drawn to his down-home charm and the honest detail of his lyrics. With the arrival of “Dirt Road,” that following grew exponentially as Kidd G saw the nostalgia-soaked track gain serious traction on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and land on coveted Spotify playlists like Fresh Finds Country and Next From Nashville.
Teenage Dream is a perfect showcase for Kidd G’s sound and sensibilities, merging potent beats with earthy guitar work and his warm yet dynamic vocal delivery. On the EP’s title track, for instance, Kidd G shares a poignant portrait of high-school love, beautifully capturing each memory in his bittersweet drawl and masterful flow. “That song’s about my truck, my ex-girlfriend, the place where I live,” he says. “I love my town because it’s simple and slow, but there’s always something fun going on.” Although he collaborated with producers like Morgan O’Connor and Bonnie Dymond on Teenage Dream, most of the EP was written solely by Kidd G, who purposely avoids putting any pressure on his creative process. “I really just go off my emotions and whatever I’m feeling at the time, then start laying down some ideas,” he says. “Once I come up with that main hook for a song, the whole thing comes together.”
Thanks to that deliberately laid-back approach, all of Kidd G’s music unfolds with a carefree energy that lightens any mood. “A lot of my songs come from me just getting stuff off my mind, and I hope it helps other people get through the day and get through their problems—maybe make life a little easier for them,” he says. But as Kidd G reveals, the ultimate test of a song’s power invariably happens in his hometown. “Most of the time when I’m making a song I’m thinking about how my friends will react to it,” he says. “That’s when I know something’s good: when I’m working on it and I start thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get back home and show this to my friends.’” And as he looks to the future, Kidd G plans to maintain that hometown spirit while massively expanding his musical horizons. “My goal is to get a platinum record,” he says, “reach No. 1 on Billboard, sell out arenas, and perform in front of millions of people.”
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