Kodie Shane Is Having Fun Being the Underdog
'Young HeartThrob' finds Kodie Shane maturing with her music. Her new video for "Flex on Me" is a middle finger to anyone who doubted her.
Kodie Shane is the epitome of unbothered. When she walks in the Noisey office, she yawns before she manages a hello. The 19-year-old (a few days from entering her twenties) is dressed in a cozy, all-black ensemble. It’s the type of outfit even the fashion illiterate can tell is effortlessly stylish. But based on Shane’s demeanor it seems chosen for the comfort. This disposition is a bit unexpected at first; she introduced herself to the world as a high-spirited teen on her 2016 debut EP, Zero Gravity, a five-track prelude that sounds like Shane is bouncing off the walls. But even her speaking voice is breezy, which isn’t a surprise when she rattles off the artists she listens to daily—she favors sensitive types. “Frank Ocean, a little bit of Maxwell, and Thugger. I can’t go a day without listening to Barter 6,” she says.
Shane’s ready to show off some of her quieter side on her debut album, Young HeartThrob, due November 9. “I’ve been saying ‘young heartthrob’ since like 2014,’” she confesses. “Somewhere in the world a heart is throbbing for me right now." The release for Young HeartThrob finds Shane at a pivotal point in her life. She’s got one foot in adolescence and the other in adulthood. Written over three months between Los Angeles and New York, the record shows Shane in a lighter than we’ve seen her before.
“It’s definitely a little romantic, she says. “It’s the feeling of being a heartthrob but lowkey still being heartbroken.”
This is the duality of Kodie Shane. There are songs like “Sing to Her,” where she’s willing to serenade, while she’s brash on other tracks like “Flex on Me.” “How the fuck could you flex on me?” she asks on the hook. Directed by Child Artt, the video for “Flex on Me” takes us to a wild party where just about everyone seems to be flexing on Kodie Shane. She arrives to a party full of dirty looks, but is unfazed. “I cannot stand being lonely / You cannot stand being with me,” she screams on the track. When the cops arrive and the partygoers flee, Shane doesn’t seem to notice because she’s been her own world the whole time.
Noisey: Zero Gravity had a really rambunctious energy and Young HeartThrob is a bit more mellow. What was your approach for this album?
Kodie Shane: I definitely think Young HeartThrob is more of a matured sound, down to the production. This album has been something I’ve been working on my whole life. Everything I’ve done musically feels like it was to get me to this point. I was inspired by love and heartbreak. The whole album is just me growing up.
I read that you said if your mom likes it, then it’s lit. Is that your gauge of how you’ll keep material?
Yeah. A lot of times if she likes a song, I’ll know it’s a go. But there are times that she won’t, and I’ll still think it’s a go but then she’ll come to her senses. It depends on how she feels that day.
What was her opinion on Young HeartThrob?
This album is definitely her favorite. She was involved with the song selection and she listens to it all day, every day. It’s lit.
You come from a musical family. Do you feel pressured although you’re not making similar music?
It’s a whole different time. When it comes to my dad’s side of the family and my sister [Brandi Williams of Blaque], it’s very important to me that they like my music. I bring them to the studio and let them listen, but at the end of the day this is on me. You might think it’s the best song ever but if I don’t like it, it’s probably not going to make it.
In the last year there’s been some pretty phenomenal debut albums. What do you want people to take away from Young HeartThrob?
It would make me happy if people took anything away from it. Sometimes I listen to music and I don’t feel anything. I don’t want it to be like that with Young HeartThrob. I can’t tell you what to take from the album, but as long as you take something then I did my job.
How did you manage to be vulnerable but still make bangers like “Flex on Me?”
I’m turning 20 so I’ve been working on being more vulnerable and show people that I feel. I’m on Instagram but I keep a lot of myself from myself. I’m trying, man.
You consider yourself a pop star. What do you think it is about the pop genre that makes you more uninhibited?
No disrespect to all the rappers, y’all are lit. But if I call myself a rapper and I start singing they’re going to ask me why I’m not rapping. I don’t ever want to put myself in a box. When you consider yourself pop you can pretty much do anything. Justin Bieber can come and rap right now and we won’t be mad. It’s just what he’s doing today.
I saw a couple of tweets that seemed like you were pretty upset with the industry and upset with your peers. What’s your relationship with Yachty like now?
Yachty, that’s my boy. We’re still close. That’s what Twitter is for to be able to be like, ahhh! Twitter thumbs. The industry is so weird, not the industry people, but the actual artists get so weird. Not Yachty, that’s always going to be my boy. It’s so weird and it’s fake. But I love music, that’s what I do. I can’t give up on music just because the industry got me down.
The last time you talked to Noisey, you spoke about your frustrations with your song with Uzi and Yachty. What do you think it is with artists where once you get to a certain threshold, you act weird?
It’s the clout. The clout is turning everybody into monsters. That word wasn’t even a word a year and a half ago, or two years ago. It was a word, but nobody cared about it. People get besides themselves, like an out of body experience.
How do you make sure you don’t become a clout chaser?
It has to do with the people you keep around you, hyping you up. I can count on one hand how many people I keep around me in my day-to-day. I try to stay grounded, listen to my mom, and not go ballistic. Once you get lit, you can wild. Once you get to a certain level they’re really just giving you all the tools to be an asshole, or all the tools to be the greatest person ever. It’s up to you how you use all of them.
You’re considered the Sailing Team’s “little sister.” How does it feel that you might have to come out of that shadow one day?
Everybody has a make. If you don’t realize your make, you’ll probably never get out of it. Everyone has one. You have to use this to do this. You need a spatula to flip your burgers. Everybody needs this to do that. Yachty did a lot for me. I’ll never be mad about that, I just think it’s something to grow out of.
There will come a point where the men who consider you “lil sis” will start to realize, “Oh shit, she’s my peer.”
I’M BIG SIS! [ laughs] What’s funny is that I’ll be a year younger than someone, or I can even be older than them and they’ll still call me lil sis.
What do you attribute that to?
Honestly, they’re not going to see I’m in the same realm as them until the music makes them think that. There’s never going to be a guy that’s like, “Kodie’s on the same level as me.” That’s just male ego. When it’s so many people counting you out, when they realize you’re lit it shocks them. Being the underdog is so much better.
Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.