I first saw Lily Kincade on TikTok and was so hooked by her angelic voice. She has this ability to take a universal feeling and make it feel so specific it feels like you really get to know her on a super personal level. Her new song "3 Months" details the feeling of a breakup that is so hard to shake, the promise of a future that ends before you're ready, and the thoughts the run through your head the whole time. We talked to her about her best breakup advice, "lucky girl syndrome," and having patience.
Lily Kincade: There wasn't a specific reason. I wanted to make sure it was the right time instead of rushing things. You can take time with things. Everything in our culture is so fast. Amazon, if it's two-day shipping, it sucks; that's crazy. Especially with art, you're seeing it as art instead of something that's just a product. I wanted to wait until it was the right time.
I feel like artists are pressured into releasing so much so fast. I think something you do really well is keeping up with your songs. I feel like so many artists move on to the next thing.
Lily Kincade: It is interesting because I feel like it's going to the opposite side. People want a whole story. I find artists I like, and they just have one song, and I want to listen to more.
And your new song "3 months" is about a breakup?
Lily Kincade: My writing is pretty literal, but this is the most literal song. I dated someone for three months. Writing this song, I was finally allowing myself to heal. I was like, "That hurt. I wasn't treated right." Before that, I was like this is silly. I shouldn't be hurt over that. It was so short. No, you're allowed to be upset over things. It doesn't matter how long it is. You have to feel and process those emotions in order to move on and heal from them.
It's like when people ask why Taylor Swift is upset over Jake Gyllenhaal when they didn't date that long.
Lily Kincade: It doesn't matter! I'm young, and I can look back at myself two years ago and think, "That was silly." You don't know what you don't know. Especially being a female in the music industry, it feels like your music gets brushed aside and everything gets brushed aside, for once allowing yourself to feel your feelings without overexplaining why. You don't have to have a reason. You can just be hurt, and that's okay.
Especially with breakups, it's so easy to think, "I shouldn't be upset," but we've all been there. Can you tell me more about being vulnerable in your music?
Lily Kincade: It's hard for me to be vulnerable in real life. I started writing music because I had all these feelings, and I had no one to tell them to. I always felt like the "mom friend," or I'd feel like I needed to take care of everyone else. Music is my safety blanket, I can write a song, and even though it's my real feelings, it's like, "Oh, it's a song." I feel like if I were able to express all my emotions in real life. I wouldn't have anything to say. It's probably a good thing. I wouldn't have all these emotions inside my brain coming out as lyrics.
Songwriting is such a good healthy emotional outlet.
Lily Kincade: When I'm writing a song, there are two ways it happens. I'll have a cool title and apply it to how I'm feeling at the time, or I'll put a voice note on my phone and sit down with my guitar or at my piano, and I'll be feeling so much that it'll come out. "3 months" was one of those songs. I got home at 2 am from a session. The boy I dated was posting stuff on his Instagram, and I was so tired, and I was coming up with random things, and the chorus and concept came from that random voice note in the middle of the night.
Wait, I need to know what your Zodiac sign is.
Lily Kincade: I'm a Pisces. I thought I was an Aquarius for the longest time because my birthday is February 18th.
Do you feel like Pisces get bad reputations, or do you relate to being a Pisces?
Lily Kincade: I'm a Pisces Sun, Capricorn Moon, Scorpio Rising. I will only feel my feelings if I can profit from them.
I feel like that's such a good songwriting combo.
Lily Kincade: It is because you can't be so emotional. Once I write a song and put it out, I've healed from it. I'm not embarrassed putting out a song of myself when I'm sad.
It never ceases to amaze me how people can do that because I know I never could.
Lily Kincade: It's just something that you're born with. If there was another skill I had, I would be doing it. If there's anything else that made you happy or anything else you liked doing, then you should go do that.
That's all I tell people. If you can do anything else, do that. You have to be born with a certain mindset, talent, and work ethic. There's a work ethic that people don't think of and that ability to release things into the world like that.
Lily Kincade: It's scary being vulnerable, but for me, the songwriting is the fun part. When I go on TikTok, I'm doing it because that's my job. I'm not going to put out something I'm not proud of. I feel like that was one of the things that I focused on. I could've put out stuff, but it wasn't the right time, and I don't want to be stuck with something that doesn't feel 100% right. Life is too short to do things so halfway.
You see these artists who have songs blow up, and when you see them perform them, they look miserable.
Lily Kincade: Make every song a song you love so much. I started writing music because I'd have feelings, and I couldn't find a song that talks about this feeling. I'm my biggest f. If I wouldn't listen to my own music, then why would I put it out?
What has been the biggest challenge for you?
Lily Kincade: Patience. It's hard when you know you're going to get somewhere and trusting to play the long game. You can do the short game and do something and get it to go viral. But if that's not who you are as an artist and that's people's first impression of you. I didn't put out music for a year and a half, but I didn't want to put out music just because everyone else was. I want to wait until it feels right.
What keeps you motivated since it's such a long game for you?
Lily Kincade: It changes based on the stages of what I'm working on, but motivation isn't reliable. If I only went to the gym when I was motivated, I'd never go. In music, there's a lot of time when I'm isolated for long periods of time. I can see details, I can see the big picture and details, but the middle, the gray area, is what's hard for me. So for me, it's not motivation. It's discipline. I would say luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Do you have a hot take on lucky girl syndrome?
Lily Kincade: It's not like magic, but a lot of people have self-limiting beliefs. If you think you'll fail, it'll fail because unconsciously, you'll be doing actions to self-sabotage. I think "lucky girl syndrome" is just thinking the best will happen instead of the worst, which is a good mindset to have. People ask me how I'm so positive, and I've trained myself. What's something positive I can take from this? Choosing to see the positive isn't saying the negative doesn't exist but instead saying, "What can I take from this to grow and learn?"
For my last question, what is your best piece of breakup advice?
Lily Kincade: Cry it out! I suppressed all my emotions, and I wasn't healed until I let myself feel things. Give yourself a deadline, or you'll drag it out forever. I had to accept that there are people I'll always love, but I don't have to be actively loving them. You don't have to hate people, AND how other people treat you is a reflection of them, not you.