The Dinah Shore Celebrates 30th Anniversary Event With Headliner Act MK xyz

It’s the one thing we have missed the most during the pandemic – music festival events! But as the world continue to grapples with COVID cases, the need to vaccinate and staying masked up, there are a number of well-loved and iconic festivals that are navigating this new world as they plan events. We saw Lollapalooza get back on the scene in July, and now we can also look forward to the world’s largest and longest-running queer music festival – The Dinah Shore!

The Dinah is celebrating its 30th anniversary, taking place September 29 through October 3 in Palm Springs, California. Founded in 1991 by Mariah Hanson. This year’s 5-day event will feature old favorites and newer, rising pop stars, and celebrities (full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results will be required to attend the event). On that list is rising star MK xyz.

The half-Filipino, half-black recording artist and Florida native who proudly identifies as queer woman of color is on a mission to inspire others to be true to themselves and stand tall. She couldn’t have found a better home than the Dinah to spread that message of self-love and acceptance.

“MK” is short for Makaila, but everybody calls her MK. As for her intriguing last name, xyz, represents all the unique and diverse parts of her that bear no specific labels – the unknown variable that leaves no space for expectations and/or judgement. 

MK xyz has her eyes set on redefining R&B, and she’s doing it all on her own terms. The 22-year-old has already established herself as a triple-threat (she flips between rapping, singing, and dancing with ease) ever since the release of her 2020 singles “Lost” and “Pass It” featuring G-Eazy. Music’s soon-to-be new “it” girl released her latest EP titled “Sweet Spot” via Epic Records this past spring and has just been cast on Netflix upcoming drama vampire series “First Kill.”

“Sweet Spot” showcases all her talents and makes an unapologetic statement from MK xyz as an artist who is here to stay. We spoke with MK as she gears up for her Dinah debut, to chat about her new music and the message she hopes to impart to her fans.

MK xyz | photo by JACKSONXJOSHUA

Congrats on the announcement of your upcoming headliner performance at Dinah’s 30th Anniversary. What are you most looking forward to at the event?

The biggest thing that I’m looking forward to is performing! That’s where people get to know me and see everything that is XYZ.

The Dinah Shore has been a foundational event for so many queer artists and performers. What does it mean to you to be part of such an iconic festival?

This feels like a great opportunity, and truthfully an honor to be a part of something so celebratory and overall queer AF!

During 2020 you released 2 singles, “Lost” and “Pass It” featuring G-Eazy. Can you tell us what it was like doing all this during COVID lockdowns and how that impacted your music?

I felt like releasing both songs as an introduction to who I am. “Pass It” is more of a west coast vibe. I wanted to capture my 21st birthday and first time on the west coast. “Lost” allowed me to give something to all my fans amidst the chaos of COVID and riots. The ability to feel free and find an escape or safe haven during these tough times was important to me.

Being a queer woman of color in a music industry that still places so many heteronormative expectations on artists, how are you working to disrupt these standards and pave new pathways for yourself and others?

I have a vision of an XYZ future. A future where people don’t feel limited by what other have imposed on them. To find a way they can feel comfortable. I think my music and my artistry brings a level of freedom and unapologetic energy to the forefront.

Who are the artists you look up to and are inspired by the most?

I love a great performer. I grew up studying them, from Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Aaliyah, Ciara, Prince… etc.

Can you tell us about your EP release “Sweet Spot” and some of the messages you wove through your lyrics and music?

‘Sweet Spot’ teases you, giving you a full picture of this sexy, androgynous, BDE. I get to talk my ish- . Just catch a vibe and be myself.

Aside from music you will also be appearing in the upcoming Netflix vampire drama series “First Kill”. How did this role come about, and what can viewers expect from you onscreen?

The crazy thing is, I didn’t think I was going to get it at first, almost feeling like an imposter syndrome moment. It has been a challenging role, but it was one of the best first experiences I ever had. I am playing the role of Tess. We don’t have a release date yet, but I’m excited for everyone to see me step into that space.

As you prepare to bring your message of love and acceptance to Dinah attendees, what advice do you have for other up-and-coming queer artists?

Find that “XYZ” in you, that unknown variable that only you can define, and let that light shine through it.

Be sure to get all the most up to date info on the Dinah’s 30th anniversary event by visiting the website, and follow MK xyz on Instagram.

MK xyz | photo by Justin Jackson

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