pop duo KiSMiT Talk with TMI about their new single “Compass”

Credit: Melodie Casta

Hey Guys! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Hiiii! In spark note form: Carly Barnette is a Cali girl, Baz King is from Cape Town. We met in a songwriting class at Berklee, fell in love swiftly after that, performed and traveled to 20+ countries on cruise ships before setting anchor in Silverlake in Los Angeles. From this home base we write and produce our music, brainstorm and workshop our touring show as well as produce art centric events in our backyard.

Where did your love of music come from?

[Baz] The obvious answer is from my dad, who is has been a full-time musician for my whole life. The sound of a guitar was never far when growing up.

[Carly] Music has always been apart of my identity, my family gave me that narrative very early on “she’s been harmonizing as long as we’ve been singing lullabies to her!” My love of music comes from it being an outlet for my emotions, a way to turn all the dark into something a lot lighter and more beautiful, my superpower in way.

How did you meet & become a duo?

[Baz] When we met in that songwriting class, our career aims were pointing to different ends – Carly was deep in musical theatre and had her sights on New York City and Broadway, and I wanted to play guitar, travel and make money to pay back student loans. Cruise ships came calling and I started as a soloist, but before my first contract my mom said, “Why don’t you do this together? She sings and you play guitar!” We thought this idea was totally insane – “Work together?!? Yeah right!” It took just over half a year before we sent in our reel and got on a ship as a duo named ‘Carly & the King.’ Since the acoustic days we’ve grown out into a full-force band with more funk, R&B and soul yet always rooted from our inner singer-songwriters.

What’s the meaning of the name “KiSMiT”?

The definition that has struck the biggest chord with us is “unshakable fate”.

[Carly] There is a spontaneous twist of destiny that I’m in love with.

What has been your reaction to all the success you have been having?

[Baz] People have been very receptive to our message and energy. Our main message being that there are bigger forces at play, and all we can do is be in the here and now and surrender to what life dishes up, be it curve balls or layups.

[Carly] I’m just constantly overwhelmed by the love and support that flows in the more we commit to each other and this dream. As Baz said, we are two little pieces apart of a much bigger puzzle and positive feedback has come the more we detach from our egos and ownership of our work. This art moves through us, we are channels with sacred gifts, ultimately just trying to leave this place a little lighter and filled with more love than we found it.

What do you hope to gain out of your music careers?

[Baz] That from the platform of a stage and song, we can serve as a way for people to experience joy and pain and accept them just the same.

[Carly] Music has always been my medicine and it’s more apparent than ever that our world is hurting so I just hope to heal in whatever way I can – by belting my emotions out and providing a release for others, or shaking my groove thing and inspiring others to shake it off, let it go and be in the moment with me. I honestly have more than I could ever need so in terms of “gaining” I hope that it’s more connection, more friends along the wild ride, and always more peace and trust in the present moment and journey.

Your latest single “Compass” has gotten an amazing reaction from your supporters! What’s been your thought about the support for the new single?

[Baz] I’ve heard or personally witnessed at least 5 people who’ve cried when watching the video. Carly has magical powers of such honest expression that it gives others the permission to ‘go there’ too.

[Carly] Yeah, wow, honestly I’m still searching for the words. I have never shared something so personal and the love that has come pouring out in comments, personal texts, love notes galore fills me up inside. It’s clear a lot more vulnerability is on the way and will be the focus of all projects moving forward.  

The music video was just released as well 🙂 How did you guys come up with the concept for the music video?

[Carly] I wanted to treat this video as a test of trust and decided to challenge myself by improvising all of the movement so that I had no other option but to be in the moment and not high on expectations or “needing to get it right.” Those are big trigger points for me, areas in which I can beat myself up, and that’s so much of what the song is about. I can get in my way a lot, and am grateful for this love with Baz, specifically, and all the other loving angels I have in my life who remind me of my true north and help me see the bigger picture.

What do you think is the benefit of having a following on social media in the music industry?

[Baz] Social media for all of its pitfalls and the dopamine-addictions is a wonderful tool to reach and interact with people all over the world instantly. It has laid the foundation for taking our music and live shows to the countries and parts of the world that we have never traveled to before.

[Carly] I think it’s a great self motivator to share, rather than waiting for a label or anyone else to promote us, it has been the outlet most holding us accountable. The following & interest grows and we have even more of a reason to deliver and stay consistent in what we are sharing!

What’s the feeling you guys get when performing in front of your fans?

[Carly]  JOY JOY JOY AND MORE JOY! There is no greater rush or feeling than sharing my soul and knowing I’m connecting with the lovely folks who’ve taken the time to come out and party with us. It is my happiest place!!!

Does your fanbase have a name?

[Carly] OOO what a question! Baz….now we have homework!

[Baz] Cosmic lovers? Do they name it or do we name it?

[Carly] This is fun and the answer might be no for right now but report back soon!

How do you want your relationship to be with your fans?

[Carly] Honest & real, like you know you can lean in for a hug and come over for dinner because we are friends who have met before.

[Baz] …and there’s always more than enough to eat and share.

What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans?

[Baz] Definitely instagram.

What was the craziest fan encounter you guys have had?

[Carly] I was targeted by some scammer via email….they were posing as a student and hit me in all the places that hurt (flattery and a mutual love of pink) Who ever this scammer was wanted a pen or some token of a reminder of KiSMiT so she would feel joy through the stress of school and I of course wanted to help in anyway I can! But as it unraveled, it was more and more obvious that it was a scam….That’s a bummer fan story for sure.

Best fan story that rings most recent is when my uncle printed his OWN shirts to wear to our EP release….I still smile at the thought of that memory.

Will there be an ep/album out soon?

[Baz] We are dropping one single+video  every 6 weeks or so until June. They will potentially accumulate in an EP or potentially our debut album but we are letting that unfold as it will. We’re constantly making songs and seeing which ones fit together, which ones fit with the band in a live setting and which ones are better catalogued on the shelf.

What’s an average day for you guys look like?

[Carly] Let me paint this picture: EXT: The morning sun peaks through our blinds, BAZ gives CAR a morning kiss and promptly jumps out of bed and goes to get his morning meditation on, CAR snoozes 5 minutes longer and joins him or trots off to yoga (Baz also does Ashtanga yoga as his morning ritual – they say those that yoga together, become yoda together…jk I just made that up but I like it) BAZ eats his beloved daily granola, banana & nut mix while CAR dances around the house a crucial part of her morning routine.

[Baz] HA! You see I get all of the entertainment that Car shares with the world for an hour during our live show, but all the time 🙂

After breakfast I attend to my due diligence of drawing up quotes (for our cover gigs), sending emails and general admin. The fun begins when I descend to our studio in the garage, light some incense, do my warmups, and start either writing, producing or learning music (depending on what’s calling to be done).

[Carly] Lots of my days are filled with content creation whether it be writing new music, recording new song nuggets, dressing up for a photoshoot or shooting live or planning music videos. We are constantly striving for more creating and less time spent stagnant doubting the process.

Where do you guys hope the band is in 5 years?

[Carly] I hope to be on our world tour in 5 years. I assume at this point we will have already had a smash national tour and hopefully played shows in Europe and Asia. I hope to be working on our 3rd full length album and to be supporting a tribe of incredible artists who are our #kismitkrew and team.

[Baz] In 5 years I see the band’s full show with lights, visuals and dancers having many major festival dates under our belts; Asia tours (Philippines especially – I’m half-Filipino), having played the Kirstenbosch summer series in Cape Town (other half South African!); South America tours; tours through Europe. Touring everywhere!! I see us having a full e-motion picture, visual album. And I see us with a sustainably-sourced clothing & merch line. A lot can happen in 5 years.

Do you guys have any last things you want to tell your supporters?

[Carly] Go after the wildest dream you can think of and be aware of all of the cosmic coincidences or “kismet moments” that start to happen when your heart fiercely goes after what it wants. The universe wants to support you and will only send help when you are honest with yourself and leading with love!

[Baz] Whenever you’re faced by big questions, sit quietly, ask for help and stay open to answers from all avenues and not just friends and family (whose opinions can sometimes add to the confusion): passing conversations, movies, or a feeling that arises from within. We’re not alone.

Thank you guys for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions.

Thank you SO much for taking the time to dive in deeper and get to know our dorky selves. We are so grateful!

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