You’re in the car with your mother on your way to first grade. Erykah Badu is bumping through the speakers, your legs are dangling off the seat and you’re gazing out the window; care free. Life. Is. Good. Because what’s better than starting your day letting the lyrics of “Tyrone,” consume you? Lauren “Kittens” Abedini, 23-year-old tastemaker and DJ among other things, recalls listening to Ms. Badu and being taken to Jazz festivals when she was just seven. We sat down with Kittens to discuss what the Los Angeles DJ has been getting into these days as well as forthcoming projects. She dished on everything from being mentored by Usher, to her favorite artists and what she would like to see more of from women in the music and entertainment industry.
The bubbly beauty talked about working with Usher and Diplo, two huge names in the music industry. “Usher has been mentoring me for like the past year. Listening to the process and learning all of the production stuff and just really being able to absorb all of this crazy process…which is so bizarre and awesome. She also described her goals, “My whole goal is to be producing and DJing but basically my long term goal is to be female Diplo, and be a tastemaker,” she added.
While Usher and his camp are helping her to learn everything necessary to make it all happen, Kittens also dished on what inspires her to do what she does. “It’s always been music. I grew up dancing; I competed and did ballet training. The main thing that made me love dance so much was being able to really experience the music in a different way than just listening to it.Then I was like what’s another way to experience it while creating it ?That’s why I’m going down the production route now.”
Her mother used to hang out with Jimi Hendricks! Yes, Jimi Hendricks. Hendricks, Badu in the first grade and Jazz festivals?! Sounds like the life.“I come from a really musically passionate family. I’ve always been around it and had a passion for it,” she said.
With Hip-Hop taking on a completely different role these days, we we’re extremely interested in hearing some of Kittens favorite artists out today. “I love ScHoolboy Q,” she admitted. (Ma-Ma-Ma Man of the year!) “I love Drake and I’m not even ashamed to say that, he’s so dope I don’t care,” she said with a laugh. “Rico Love and everything like that to older stuff like Cam’ron.” (Dipset!)
The dynamic between Hip-Hop then and Hip-Hop now is pretty much transparent. “I’m not mad at commercial hip-hop right now. I come from the Dilla produced stuff and like obscure madlib beats and just wanting to listen to Gang Starr all day. Things are different now but I think it has another quality to it that’s enjoyable, maybe it’s not as deep but still enjoyable.”
With the abundance of commercial rap today, Kittens is more so rocking with the up-and-coming artists. “I’m more inspired by the up-and-comers and the people who are a little bit more on ground level, just like pushing the sound and boundaries and not making the same damn track over and over and over, that shit bores me…So I feel like up-and-coming artists are way more inspiring because I know they’re writing their own shit.”
From loving commercial rap to being inspired by newcomers, Kittens also shared how huge of a Michael Jackson fan she was as a child. But the question of who she most definitely had to work with did stump her just for a few seconds. “Oh shit, that’s hard! Honestly…Usher, can’t really go much higher than that one!” A really big laugh followed that response, for obvious reasons. “Can’t really work with Michael Jackson, I’ve always been a huge psychotic Michael Jackson fan…like dressed up as him every Halloween as a kid, so I’m kind of jealous of Justin Timberlake right now,” she admitted.
As the interview winded down she discussed women in the music and entertainment industry today and what she would like to see more of, “Less fear and less comparing them to stereotypes and expectations. Not thinking you have to act a certain way or dress a certain way just to come up.” Well said.
Of course we couldn’t end the interview without asking about celebrity crushes.“Oh man, my girlfriend is gonna be so mad at me if I say something.” I have a feeling she’ll get a pass for J-Lo. “J-Lo is looking so good lately. How do I look like her?!”
A question I’m sure we’ve all asked a number of times. What’s next for Kittens? You can look forward to a mixtape called Athletixx. “It’s all LA Club music, everything from Electronic, Trap to Hip-Hop to throwbacks…It’s like future dance music for a music savvy crowd.” Kittens will also be touring in Canada at the end of June, beginning of July. “It’s gonna be dope!”