It’s no secret that the dance music world is dominated by straight men — something that Mad Decent artist Kandy is ready to change. The Long Island native just came out to his family — and with his new music video for “Feelin’ KNT,” he’s coming out to the world.
The clip is a showcase for drag talent of NYC, a scene Kandy says he fell in love with over the past couple years. To celebrate his “Feelin’ KNT” video, premiering today (May 3), the producer talked to Billboard about his fascination with drag and how it feels to open up about his sexuality: “It’s very scary to come out in a field in music that’s dominated by straight men. You don’t know if they’re gonna treat you differently.”
Watch “Feelin’ KNT’ below.
“Feelin’ KNT” was inspired by the drag scene in New York City. How were you introduced to that world?
My best friend introduced me to it. He’s actually the vocalist on the track in the middle section. He came out to me about a couple years ago, and I came out to him — he was the first person I ever told. So he was like, “You have to come out with us, let’s get out of Long Island and go out to New York City.”
It was kind of like our getaway place because we knew everyone from Long Island. So to be in New York City, it’s a lot bigger and we didn’t know many people. He brought me to a couple of places out there. We would just go out pretty much every weekend. I stopped making music for like a year straight to find myself and just enjoy that scene. And that’s kind of where it all came from. I threw these vocals on a track, and out came the track.
How did you cast the music video?
All the drag queens in the video are close friends that I’ve made relationships with over the past few years in New York City and stuff. It’s really cool that they wanted to be a part of this and make it into something, you know?
Are you familiar with Ladyfag? She throws events and a bunch of the drag queens host her parties. So from going there and meeting them we became close friends, and they’re really talented. I wanted this video to showcase that scene because I think that they deserve to be seen as well.
So what does the song’s title, “Feelin’ KNT,” mean to you? How would you describe that feeling?
Well, feeling c–t obviously like, all the gays know that it means — it’s kinda like feeling yourself. You know, when you put on a nice outfit and stuff and you’re feeling confident. You’re ready to take on the world.
And that’s how I feel after coming out to my family and everything. I’m way more confident than anything, you know? I’ve never felt the way I feel now.
You just came out to your family recently, right?
That was very hard, as you can imagine. And I mean, they’ve taken it really well. They kind of always knew. When I told them, they’re like, we knew ever since you had to be like, Princess Peach when you were playing Mario Kart when you were younger. [Laughs] And my mom was like, “You were playing with Barbie dolls” — which I don’t even remember, but…
I wish I had came out earlier. That’s the one thing that I wish. I feel like everybody says that they wish they did it earlier.
Totally. The world of dance music is dominated by straight men right now. What’s it like being a gay artist in that world?
There’s so many people that are looking for somebody to look up to. I’ve been doing dance music for six years and there is nobody to show that this is okay to do. It’s very scary to come out in a field in music that’s dominated by straight men. You don’t know if they’re gonna treat you differently. You don’t know if people are going to support your music the way that they used to. So I wanna be the person that lets people working to be big name producers know that it’s okay to be yourself.