In the blink of an eye, another season of Mood Live (presented by Mood Media in partnership with Austin Music Foundation) has come to a close! Our Season 3 finale event took place on October 17th, featuring AMF Artist Development Program participant and talented rapper/singer/songwriter Kydd Jones at the newly renovated Whip In.

Hailed for his lyrical ingenuity, Randell “Kydd” Jones started making a name for himself in music from a young age and (along with his LNS (Leaders of the New Skool) Crew) helped integrate hip-hop into the Red River music scene. He was even formally recognized by the City of Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler as a Creative Ambassador for the city! In recent years, he’s performed at major festivals such as SXSW, ACL Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest and many more. If you attended Weekend One of ACL Festival this year, you might’ve seen him take the stage as one of Gary Clark Jr.’s surprise special guests!

Since Mood Live is primarily a showcase for our music-loving team, Kydd had to bite his tongue a few times to keep the performance relatively PG. But that didn’t alter the vibe of the set. His unique mixture of R&B and hip-hop had our team (and a sampling of Kydd’s dedicated fans) groovin’ from the first beat. Fellow LNS Crew member Haris Qureshi provided the tracks while Bomani Ray Barton accented the rhythm on his guitar. It was their first performance with this configuration, but I doubt it will be the last because the camaraderie was palpable.

Kydd’s set featured a mix of released and unreleased songs, including fan favorites “Icon” and “Dripped Up” from Homecoming along with a new freestyle named “Gold Roses.” “Jordan Moment” and “Blink Away” also made an appearance on his set list. After asking the audience if they were familiar with James Baldwin (to which several of our Music Designers raised their hands), Kydd performed an original inspired by the author and activist. He also debuted a new rap about his recent experience in the ICU, where several emergency throat surgeries left him in fear that his voice would never be the same. Luckily for all of us, no damage was done and Kydd can deliver the same fiery performances…this time with even more gratitude for the opportunity to share his passion with the world. After nearly 45 minutes, Kydd wrapped up his set with a song meant to introduce him to those seeing him for the first time. The tune detailed his past while incorporating snippets from Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” and A Tribe Called Quests’ “Can I Kick It,” which elicited an enthusiastic call-and-response with the audience. We have to admit that aside from the delivery of Kydd’s masterful lyrics and catchy melodies, a highlight was when his adorable son “stole the show” (his words!) by running onto the stage to get in on the action. All in all, it was an amazing way to end our third season.

As we do with all of our Mood Live artists, we asked Kydd Jones (an Austin native) a few questions to get his insight on the local music community. Read on for his answers…

You’ve relocated several times…what brings you back to Austin? Austin is home! Austin is where my family is. When I moved to Atlanta, I felt like I could’ve stayed there and raised my son. I was in a good situation, recording and working out of one of R Kelly’s mansions that they had converted into a studio. My manager at the time was a VP of A&R at Epic Records and things were going well. One night, my neighbor got into a domestic dispute and set their condo on fire. We lived in condos/townhomes attached to each other so my house was on fire also. My son was 5 months old and we moved back to Austin soon after. The smartest thing I could do at the time was to make sure he had a roof over his head. If that fire wouldn’t have happened, I probably would still be in Atlanta trying to make things work.

What is the most unique thing about the Austin music community? It’s so diverse with so many genres trying to make it out of the city!

Is there something you’ve seen/experienced in other music cities that you wish existed in Austin? Although we are the “Live Music Capital” of the world, I just wish we had more music industry here searching for talent like Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Nashville! I think it’s coming, slowly but surely.

What have you learned during your time in AMF’s Artist Development Program? I’ve learned a lot about trademarking, management contracts, publishing and much more! The conversations we have there are super informative and interesting.

Who are your favorite Austin artists right now? My favorite Austin artist is my good friend Gary Clark Jr!

What’s next for you? I’m getting ready to release my next project ONYX D’OR along with my next international tour!

We’ve had a blast showcasing Austin’s premier talent with our friends at Austin Music Foundation. One of the benefits of this partnership is that Mood Live artists are licensed and included in our global programming…which is heard in 100 countries around the world. Soon, you’ll likely be hearing Kydd’s songs on one of our many Hip-Hop and R&B Core Programs!

Kydd Jones with Mood CEO David Hoodis

We couldn’t do this series without the steadfast support of AMF, Cultural Arts DivisionDay Dreamer and Whip In. Stay tuned for our Mood Live highlight reel that’ll give you a taste of this incredible season.

– Submitted by Jessica Reed, Marketing