By Donovan Levine
KU student Clyde Killebrew has started a rap career under the name CozyClyde all while being a part of the McFarland Student Union, Connections Orientation, ResLife and the Student Government Board but rap has become his leading passion. He’s released two EPs and his nine track mixtape “CozySeazon,” so far.
Despite being the personification of student involvement and a well-known, likeable influencer, there’s a side to Clyde that isn’t as well-known and can only be expressed through music, as most musicians would agree.
“I can attest to that 100%,” Clyde said. “I see a bit of a freedom, a sense of freedom when I’m creating music on my own, and I think what helps with this confidence is the fact that last year I wasn’t doing this at this pace. I was doubting myself a lot with it. So seeing my growth from year to year and seeing how much better my music is through time, that’s always my outlet.”
For all four years of high school, Clyde participated in marching band and theatre which he says helped build his confidence and experience as a performer. In theatre, he played Benny from the musical In The Heights.
Clyde’s first rap performance was at KU’s Got Talent in 2019, a talent show contest he ended up winning first place in. He then went on to perform at Berks’ Got Talent, Bearfest, Pridefest, cookouts for the Black Student Union and his own exclusive showing in Schaeffer, where his supporters got a chance to come support him following the release of “CozySeazon.”
When asked about the motivation for his music, he mentioned how much he wanted to write about topics that resonated with people, and showcase someone’s journey through their own personal struggles.
“The main topics I talk about with my music is more about determination. Acknowledging I have faults, acknowledging I’m not where I want to be, but that isn’t the end of my story. I see where I go from a place where I feel like I’m discouraged, where I feel like I don’t want to write anymore, where I feel like I don’t want to express myself anymore, going from that spot to going to a whole different place.
“Take ‘CozySeazon’ for example. It tells the story of a young kid who has all these talents, these hidden talents, and he acknowledges them, but even within himself intrinsically, he doesn’t acknowledge them as talents he wants to show to the world. He doesn’t acknowledge himself as, you know, somebody worthy, and it takes you on a journey how through time he’s able to be confident in himself. And that music also resonates with folks, and they feel galvanized by it, and that’s part of my motivation. I watch a lot of GaryVee and a lot of Eric Thomas, and that carries over.”
Clyde also has tips for those who struggle with time management when balancing a music career with other jobs and responsibilities.
“It’s definitely a lot of trial-and-error. It’s not easy. I know personally for me, it’s a lot easier to be at the studio making music or in my room writing music than it is to be carrying on responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean that’s okay. So, I obviously have to take a lot of time to get my work done, be at meetings, being punctual. Usually if I’m in an organization, I’m probably gonna be on the e-board, so I have to be punctual or running the meeting. But if I have time throughout the day, or in my free time, whether I’m at lunch, I try to write a little bit, as much as possible. Listen to music. I just make myself feel good by listening to myself. I think that a lot of the stuff I’ve learned has been through listening. Through my old music and seeing what I didn’t like and write a different story about how I’ve grown.”
Clyde visits the home of his producer Nate Kobain (insta: @natekobain) every week to put down new songs using studio equipment, which he admits “can get expensive, but that’s part of the business, budgeting my time and energy.”
If you want to support Clyde and his music, see CozyClyde on SoundCloud.