Kidd Philippe: Taft’s New Superstar


The single cover of “Fast Life Livin” by Kidd Philippe and Max Van Mus

By now, the name “Kidd Philippe” is widely recognized by Taft students and teachers alike as the surprise guest on Toreador News who premiered his new song and music video titled “Fast Life Livin”. Demonstrating an insane level of production in both the song and the cinematography, Kidd Philippe quickly dominated many conversations among students across the school.

Taft Tribune recently sat down with Taft’s new superstar and talked with him about his past, prospects, and personal life. How did this mysterious student accomplish such a feat? And who is Kidd Philippe?

Kirill Vassilenko, widely known as “Kidd Philippe” (pronounced “fil-ee-pay”), is a student at Taft who some may not know. This is because he transferred into Taft after living a significant amount of his life abroad, mainly in Europe. Vassilenko’s life in Europe and in general was dominated by dance, and he was an extremely talented ballroom dancer for 11 years. However, living his whole life for one passion eventually led to a massive burnout, and Vassilenko ended his dance career. Only recently, after being strongly influenced by his older brother Maxim, did he discover his passion for music making.

TAFT TRIBUNE: So, your most recent project, “Fast Life Livin”, was promoted on Toreador News. How did that even come about?

VASSILENKO: My brother made the song a few years ago… it ended up being stuck in limbo and I was able to convince him to reuse the track a few years later, and we shot the music video over winter break.

TAFT TRIBUNE: Tell me about your new song. What is its message? What does it mean to you?

VASSILENKO: The philosophy of the song is to celebrate success, but to ultimately recognize that it takes a lot of work. And it’s not easy to be successful, it takes a lot of effort, and this philosophy is a huge part of my daily life.

TAFT TRIBUNE: This song was largely promoted due to you being in the Songwriting Club here at Taft. Can you tell the readers of Taft Tribune a bit more about what Songwriting Club is and what it does?

VASSILENKO: Songwriting Club was made to create a space for artists of any kind, just creatives who have any interest in music. It’s to talk about music, and it’s a safe space for discussions about music. This is a great environment for anything music related, for anyone who wants to begin music.

TAFT TRIBUNE: Your snippets and subsequent song have made you the talk of Taft as of late. What first inspired you to start making music?

VASSILENKO: Y’know, it was a long process. I was a dancer for 11 years, and I ended up working so much and the whole thing just became too much. I guess you could say I lost feelings from dance and from art in general. Music was a new avenue to express myself, and it helps me relax.

TAFT TRIBUNE: What made you gravitate towards emo rap?

VASSILENKO: “Fast Life Livin” is actually more like R&B pop, but you nailed the genre I’m going towards. My tastes are more like emo rap, [and I] want to focus on emo rap in the future. Emo rap spreads a message through the vibe and tempo and melody of a song… and helps contribute to the message of the dual nature of success.

TAFT TRIBUNE: What are your plans for the future in regards to your music?

VASSILENKO: I want to take it very seriously… actually, I do take it seriously now. I want to focus on emo rap/melodic rap, because a majority of the music I listen to relates to it. I want to be consistent with it and have a large reserve of music, and just always be in the process. I enjoy sharing my talents with the world, and this shows because I’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money into this most recent song. I want songs, music videos, dancing, and a lot of other stuff. I want to create a community and hear from other artists and have conversations about music.

TAFT TRIBUNE: Tell me about your brother’s role in your life and musical life.

VASSILENKO: [Maxim is] basically like my predecessor. I’ve been following in his footsteps, and it’s because of him that my musical journey started three years ago. I heard him playing music all day every day, and he had a very sophisticated taste… although I didn’t feel that way at the time. He was streaming music all the time, and years later, I started liking those genres. The development occurred with dance at the same time… and I found music to be a zone for relaxing. I would give Max around 90% of the credit for my music.

TAFT TRIBUNE: Does the name “Kidd Philippe” have any special meaning to you?

VASSILENKO: That’s a great question. “Philippe” is my middle name, and “Kidd” represents my unusual personality. I don’t think [being unusual] is something to be afraid of because everyone is weird, and everyone should embrace it. I spent 4-5 years in other countries for dance and living in those countries changed my view on the world. The accent on “Philippe” represents the European influence and diversity of culture I’ve experienced, and the unique part of myself I want to embrace.

TAFT TRIBUNE: You’ve just recently reached over 1000 followers on Instagram, so congratulations about that! What would you contribute most to your growth?

VASSILENKO: Thank you! To be honest, I didn’t really do anything though.

TAFT TRIBUNE: So would you contribute it mostly to Toreador News?

VASSILENKO: Yeah. Toreador News, and people talking about my music. It was really fun and nice to hear students talking about my song.

TAFT TRIBUNE: Do you have anything you want to add?

VASSILENKO: Shoutout to Songwriting Club! I didn’t really focus on the club this year just due to other circumstances, but next year I want to focus on creating a good musical environment for everyone.

Kidd Philippe can be followed on Instagram (@kirillvassilenko) and “Fast Life Livin” is available on major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. While he only has one song out now, “Fast Life Livin”, he has many more on the way.