WRITTEN BY: Caitlin McGeehan
Kaash Paige is only 19, and she’s already mastered her mindset. The Dallas native’s stage name stands for “Kill All Arrogance Stop Hatred,” a mission she has already faced head-on in the music industry. Her track “Love Songs” blew up on Tiktok last fall (yep, the “I miss my cocoa butter kisses/ hope you smile when you listen” song), which allowed her millions of Spotify listeners (3.5 million monthly listeners at the moment). Upon the release of her debut album Teenage Fever as a Def Jam artist, Kaash Paige held a press conference to talk about the lustful title, and her dive into the music industry.
To the singer, the words “Teenage fever” indicate a state of mind. “Teenage fever lasts forever,” she said, you “always have that young side to you.” Ultimately, it’s up to the album listener to claim their personal definition of ‘teenage fever,’ but as long as it makes you feel lustful and free, it’s on point. Kaash set out to create a vibe of a late summer night with friends on the album to make listeners feel timeless. Kaash seems to take inspiration from seasons. The lighter, summery ambience of Teenage Fever contrasts that of her first EP, Parked Car Convos released last fall, meant for a late night drive on a crisp fall night.
Fall is significant to Kaash, as last October “Love Songs” blew up on Tiktok with its accompanying dance. She was in shock at her homecoming dance when she found out the track was trending on Apple Music, and of course extremely grateful. When thinking about her future after high school, Kaash knew something big was going to happen with her music. As her manifesting proved, it did. Def Jam reached out, offered her a visit New York to negotiate a deal, and the rest is history.
With quarantine, it seems like the world came to a stop, but not for Kaash. She created more music while spending time with family. She is a family-oriented person, which helps “protect her peace and energy.” Kaash realizes that if she wants to keep all the she has (a record deal, opportunities to make music), she has to stay grounded.
More than anything, Kaash hopes that listeners relate to her and her music. “When a song makes you feel a [certain] way, you love it more,” she noted. Some of the album tracks, like “Breakup Song” illustrate heartbreak for fans to hear and think, “damn, I’ve been there before.” To harness these emotions, Kaash draws from artists like Drake, Frank Ocean, and Mac Miller. In the studio, Kaash is a freestyler. She plays a beat and asks anyone in the studio–usually her friends–what comes to mind, which she takes into the recording booth. That’s how most of Teenage Fever came to life.
Throughout the press conference, Kaash stressed the importance of putting out good energy into the world. Good energy includes believing in your dreams and successes. That energy will come back to you because anything can happen. That’s why her song “Grammy Week” featuring Don Toliver is so significant– she’s manifesting a Grammy in her future! With her power to sense the Def Jam opportunity coming, there’s no doubt her Grammy prediction will come true.
To get there, “success is a marathon.” Kaash’s stage name originates from the different opinions about how she should think or look, rooted in outsiders’ arrogance and fake love. She learned what she really wants and had to find her happiness as who she is, while realizing that may not satisfy everyone. But Kaash realized, “you’ve gotta keep doing you,” despite others’ opinions of what you should be, which is great advice for anyone.