When Melisa Young, aka Kid Sister, released her breakthrough single “Pro Nails” back in 2007, hip-hop, pop, and dance music all still existed pretty much in their own lanes, and blending them together the way she did was still a largely unexplored idea. The song obviously didn’t take itself too seriously— it’s about getting your nails did, obviously — but it was revolutionary in its own low-key way, and after Kanye jumped on a remix, it became a smash hit in the club scene where a new generation of rappers and dance DJs were just starting to mingle.
“Pro Nails” led to Young being signed to Downtown Records, but despite the backing of a big label, production work by future EDM superstars like A-Trak, Rusko, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso, and a plethora of hooks, her 2009 debut album Ultraviolet failed to live up to its high expectations. As the hybrid style she’d developed spread from the underground to the Hot 100, Young herself faded from the public eye.
At the end of August, nearly five years after Ultraviolet dropped, Young released DUSK2DAWN- The Diary of Jane Jupiter, a mixtape that finds her going harder than she’s ever gone before, with a new sound with a noisier edge and a newfound interest in writing on topics far deeper than manicures. EW got her on the phone to talk about the transition.