MK XYZ is a fireball when it comes to music, dancing, energy, and her personality. Formerly known as Soul Floetry, the Duval County, Florida native is proud as hell to be a queer woman of color, inspiring her fans to be themselves and love who they are at all times. At 22 years old, MK has signed a deal with Epic Records and is ready to take over.
While she goes by MK, XYZ represents the part of her she cannot define. The half-filipino, half-black recording artist and dancer states, “It’s honestly about that space where you can’t really put a name to it, but it’s strong and it’s present. It can be anything. It doesn’t have to have labels or be put into a box.”
It’s all about bending that expectation and finding that XYZ within you. Now, the Florida native returns with a straight banger titled “Pass It,” featuring the Bay Area’s own G-Eazy. The visual itself depicts her unwavering, fearless energy as she flexes her choreography and performance skills, leading up to G’s fire verse.
Flaunt caught up with MK XYZ via Instagram Live to discuss her name, her upbringing in Florida, linking with G-Eazy, goals, and more!
How’s it feel to change your name from Soul Floetry to MK XYZ?
Honestly, it’s empowering. It’s like the phoenix that rises from the ashes, only because Soul Floetry was a huge part of that identity I had when I was younger. As an adult, as an artist, as a creative, as me, the MK XYZ brand fits. It’s more authentic.
Hailing from Florida, what was the household like growing up?
I was born and raised in Jacksonville, but I left towards the end of elementary. I spent half and half growing up, I was in Jacksonville but mostly North Carolina. As a child, I was all over the place. I’m half-filipino, half-black so I was always around cultures. Always being exposed to music and arts, always staying on your grind.
Biggest influences growing up?
More old school: TLC, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott. Then early 2000’s, the period that I grew up to. Definitely Ciara, Rihanna, Beyonce, all of them.
When did music become real for you?
I’ve been singing and dancing since I was 3. I’ve always been natural at the gift of being an entertainer and a performer. I was in school but as I got older, I really locked in. My mom was basically doing artist development, which I didn’t even realize as a kid. I was always doing dancing or singing videos and putting them on YouTube. I started tapping into different social media markets like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, all these new platforms you can use.
Congrats on the release of “Pass It,” talk about recruiting G-Eazy.
It was so much fun. I’m from the East Coast, never been to the West Coast. When I went, I was with Hitmaka. The song’s made with him, Cardiak, and my boy Crishan. All of them are so talented. We were at Palms in Vegas, it’s my 21st birthday. Of course, I was lit. I had to have a classic West Coast record for the culture. That West Coast energy, someone has to pop the cherry with me on the West Coast shit. Hitmaka played me this joint Cardiak did, I’m like “oh my God, what are we messing with right here? What are you doing?!” I jumped in the booth, we thought “we gotta have G, that just makes sense.” This record has to introduce MK, we can’t play it safe. When you think “who are you? What does it look like?” Boom, the song and video because it complements each other perfectly.
He snapped, what was your reaction to his verse?
G was in his fucking bag. I’m a dancer by nature so when I hear a pocket and somebody’s riding a pocket, I’m in your pocket with you. I caught you slipping, don’t even tuck the pocket. He’s in his pocket, that‘s one of the things that I really appreciate. When he’s saying “zip, zip, zippin’ through the traffic in my whip, whip,” he’s hitting. It’s so snappy. [snaps] I had the pleasure of working with Sean Bankhead with the choreo, we were in that zone.
How long have you been dancing?
I was 3 years old, it was this little bop then a little jig. My mom and my dad were dancers. This Asian, Filipino guy was a bboy, so deep into hip hop from graffiti to Adidas sweatsuits to breakdancing. Wherever it was, he’s going to show up and show out. My mom did ballet, definitely tried to teach me but it’s not my thing. It was having this twist of all the elements, and learn too.
You were serving looks in the video, what’s your love for fashion?
Oh man, I’m still gagging over this. Although I’m active in these looks, serving them on a silver platter hot and spicy, every time I watch the video I think “damn, who is she? My n*gga got the denim on.” It’s definitely interesting because it’s pulled from Asian and Black influence. I always have to have this duality. I have to find the sweet spot between that side of me and this side of me, but also I’m R&B and hip-hop. I have this flavor, but it’s classy. I can go from super street and super rugged, but it always has some type of pulled togetherness. Aye papi, what you wearing?!
What does it mean to be a queer woman of color in the industry?
It means everything, more than anything because of what’s going on. Having a voice and platform is super important right now. Yes, music’s my passion. Music from what I’ve been witnessing has been the safe space, the freedom for everybody. When you’re in quarantine away from everybody, what do you have? You have Netflix and chill and you got a record. Sometimes when you need to be still and silent, you need to hear something that’s going to elevate you, that’ll take you to a certain place. In college, science was my main focus but I was big on queer studies. I learned about Black history, queer history, political history, all these different things. Right now, it’s crucial to be heard and to show that because women couldn’t do that. Even then, it’s policed. In times like now, it’s super important.
You studied biochemistry in undergrad, that’s hard sis.
It is hard. [laughs] Not going to lie, it was kicking my ass. The thing was, I was good at it. I had a lot of scholarships to go to college for being a queer women of color studying science. I wanted to be in medicine. My ultimate thing was I wanted to research same sex reproduction and practice medicine. At some point along the way, I was putting out so much content and being so consistent, I found my manager and my managing team that led me to where I am now.
3 things you need in the studio?
Acqua Panna is #1, this will never change. That’s my favorite water, I know it sounds super bougie. It hits different. I have to have quality spring water. I used to use my iPad for all my lyrics, but I’d be so hyped that I can’t hold my iPad in one hand. Definitely need Notes on my phone. Then snacks, I used to have these chocolate roll crepes. To top it off, a comfy ass hoodie. You know it’s cold in the studio.
Best encounter with a fan?
I ran into a girl in LA before a photoshoot. I was literally on the way to meet SoundCloud, I was out shopping in the cut. It’s always the moments where you’re ducked off, “I’ma go look for a pair of shoes real quick.” I’m sitting down waiting for my Uber, this girl comes up. I had on custom Air Force 1s. She said “I really like your shoes, where’d you get them?” I said “oh my friend made these, they’re custom.” She says “oh those are sick, I collect shoes.” I said “that’s really dope.” She goes “I want to tell you I love you so much.” Her head drops, she goes “mom, it’s really her! Everybody at my university loves you, you’re amazing. You should come see us, you’re everything.” She gets a little teary-eyed, tells me “everybody loves what you’re doing, I just came out.” It’s so beautiful for people to feel that energy with me, be on the same vibe and really connect. It’s all spiritual. People don’t stumble upon you for no reason.
Goals for yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I have a dope single coming out. My album Sweet Spot coming out, we got some heat coming. I got the privilege of working with Pharrell. He’s different, very talented. Looked up as a mentor to me, very inspiring all-around. Ultimately, growing and elevating. I already know who I am, it’s taking that to different levels. Letting the world see that, feel that, connect that. You see a lot of surface level things, that’s not me. It has to be a deep connection. Taking the music, keep going. Keep elevating. Keep evolving.