She has been on stage with Michael Bolton and Beyonce. Her new album, “Here With Me” is a flugelhorn instrumental delight. She is a Ninja Princess and a mother. She is the multi-talented Kiku Collins.
AMR.com: Mel Broiles, who is he and what does he mean to you?
KC: Mel was the principal trumpet at the Metropolitan Opera here in NYC for many years, and a very influential teacher of mine.
AMR.com: Was it always your aspiration to be a trumpet player?
KC: Since I had started high school I knew it was what I was best at, and what I enjoyed doing.
AMR.com: Who were some of your favorites trumpet players growing up?
KC: I always enjoyed Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Maurice Andre, Bill Chase, Randy Brecker, and so many more!
AMR.com: “Here With Me” has received great reviews and is definitely a classic! How important was it for you to release this album?
KC: For years, people asked why I didn’t have a solo cd or project. I didn’t record or release this for them, but I felt it was finally a good time in my life to create my record. I wanted to create a simple block of music that played like a vocal album, without a lot of complicated pieces that only musicians seem to understand.
AMR.com: Is there additional pressure to raise the bar and to be better than your male counterparts?
KC: Not as much as when I was growing up. It seems more women/girls are playing more “male dominated” instruments these days. It’s really inspirational to me to hear from young girls who are playing the trumpet, and I’m honored to be a role model.
AMR.com: How did a “Jersey Girl” get the opportunity to tour with Michael Bolton?
KC: I fit the job description and the gig fit me!
AMR.com: Can you talk about your experience working with Beyonce?
KC: It was great, it was a huge opportunity and an amazing learning experience.
AMR.com: Is there any one in particular you would like to collaborate with?
KC: Not really, I admire so many musicians and styles of music. I like working with people who enjoy what they do, respect the musicians they hire, and truly enjoy their art.
AMR.com: What is Fire Island, The Live Show about?
KC: It’s a multimedia play that will run in April in NYC.
AMR.com: Of all the instruments you play, which one is your favorite?
KC: Trumpet is what I play mostly, and I do enjoy it a lot. I’m not sure one can have a favorite though – that would be like having a favorite child!
AMR.com: You are a versatile artist but if you were given only one choice of music to play, what is it?
AMR.com: Any chance of you passing the torch to your daughter?
KC: Only if she wants it. She is musical, and is starting to read music and loves to play the piano and drums. She’s also toyed with trumpet and trombone.
KC: I’ll probably sing on my next album but of course I will play quite a bit of trumpet and probably trombone and flugelhorn as well.
AMR.com: When you’re not composing and performing, how do you spend your time?
KC: I practice! And I dedicate my time to being Mom as much as possible.
AMR.com: Who is Kiku Collins?
AMR.com: What advice do you have for younger girls who want to be the next Kiku?
KC: I’d say to be You. Take aspects of people you admire and incorporate them into your evolving self, let them influence you but not dictate who you become.
AMR.com: Are you proud to be a totally tacky Sprite girl?
KC: Who wouldn’t be?