Interview With Singer Kailian Abyssinian of The Hush
Silence Is Golden...
by Katherine Elaine Whittier
SOUTHWEST - GEORGETOWN - "THE HUSH" PIANO BAR:
I had the honor of catching up to one of Washington's more colorful and interesting up and coming artisans a couple of weeks ago in a local Jazz venue near Canal Street and M, one Kailian Abyssinian, whose local notoriety of late needs no introduction.
Below are the fruits of our rather candid conversation.
The following article deals with mature subject matter of a sexual nature. Discretion is advised.]
Ahead of me in line is none other than the British Bombshell, Lady Helen sans her playboy cousin, Jamison. Helen is wearing a silky red dress slit up to here and cut down to there. Her white blonde hair is swept up away from her face showing her high cheek bones and pale grey eyes. She is so blessed in her pedigree, and her features reveal this.
I enter the club, poised, alert, accompanied by a gentleman friend in a 3-piece Italian number hugging his middle aged frame as well as a Roman suit can save him. I continue in and look for an open table, which we soon locate and sit near the stage.
Helen checks her dark coat, and with her clutch in hand makes her way over to a small table near the dance floor.
I check my London Fog overcoat and angora scarf. It is quite bitter out tonight, not the sort of night to be outside for long. My cheeks are a bit pinked by wind whipping, hair tousled. I excused myself to the restroom, and 3-4 minutes later emerge, re-groomed and ready. I retake my seat near the stage.
Helen orders some fizzy, pale drink and folds her hands on the table demurely.
I settle in with my dinner guest and chat, lingering until a waiter sees to our table. I ask for the drinks and light bar menu and begin to peruse it, as we watch the next segment of the show.
Kailian heads back to the stage, from the bar, to do another song. He is dressed in a casual outfit of black, his wild Fire truck red hair braided back behind him. He whispers to the band what song to do, and begins to move towards the microphone.
I smirk softly, reach into my small clutch purse and slide out my brass business card case. I notice Helen watching Kailian's behind, gauchely if not somewhat appreciatively.
The young man begins to croon, unaware of the ogling going on just yards away. "Without noticing a thing, we casually bumped into one other; drawing closer to gentleness with each other, the hide-and-seek goes on--that's right..." Helen settles back to listen. I briefly look away to order dinner, as does my friend. I then slide out one of my business cards, putting the case back just as our cocktails promptly arrive. The Hush makes quite a mouth puckering Appletini, even if it is a very last season drink. I return my focus to Kailian. "No, wanna sell your soul, With a tasteful touch of yellow, No, forget smile again, I just want to keep on dancing forever...," he continues to sing.
My companion and I exchange brief glances of acknowledgement with Lady Helen, studiously busy ordering from the waiter, else pretending to avoid our notice. We then turn back to the show. "As we walk across today, will my voice, entrusted to the western wind, reach as far as the tomorrow that we'll run through? That's right--" the young man sings. I later inquired of the band, and found out the song was "Kinya Kotani's 'Superdrive'," a jazz-rock piece which is unfamiliar to me.
I am distracted for a moment by the arrival of appetizers. I have a small salad and shrimp cocktail, my companion has an antipasto and cheese and fruit sampler. Kailain continues, "No, wanna sell your soul, In this world of fairy-tales, No, forget smile again, I just want to keep on sleeping forever." I discreetly whisper to my friend, "He does actually have a decent voice." I was a bit surprised, expecting someone mostly making his 15 minutes by riding on the bed posts, or rather coattails, of another 15-minute man, Young Master Jones. He sings, "Hey, chasing after it -- chasing after it -- that pale wind... hey, I'm falling in passion, I'm falling in love, and I want to spread my wings. Hey, taking both the good things and the bad things, and adding everything together and dividing by two, and getting along great -- I want to spend my life that way.. with you."
At this point, Helen heads in back to powder her nose. I set up my tape recorder and business card strategically to my left, and continue to listen. "When we splash through a puddle, our hands joined.... let's go! The sky with a bit of a rainbow peeking through is a red thread binding us...That's right!"
Helen is seen chatting up friends on her way back, just as the song is winding down. "No, wanna sell your soul, Even if we look the other way in the rain, No, forget smile again We just want to keep on laughing. Hey, chasing after it -- chasing after it -- that pale wind... Hey, I'm falling in passion, I'm falling in love, and I want to spread my wings. Hey, taking both the good things and the bad things, and adding everything together and dividing by two, and getting along great -- I want to spend my life that way.. with you. I want to spend my life that way... With.. you." Kailian seemingly purrs out the last two words of the song and steps off stage, heading to the bar for a drink.
I approach him at the bar and ask him for an interview. He takes my hand and gives it a light shake, his hands very soft.. almost feminine to the touch. I ask him if we can talk, but he still has the rest of his act to finish. "Well, I am working.. I should be finished in about 3 hours... will you be around then?" he says.
I agree to stay, leaving him with my card, and he finishes his water, returning to the stage. Helen retakes her seat sometime during this exchange, now accompanied by her cousin Jamison.
I remain for the rest of his set, though my friend ends up having to leave early. We are treated to a delightfully fresh, if not occasionally off-beat mix of jazz, show tunes and eclectic ballads.
Finally, Kailian leaves the stages and proceeds to slump into a chair at my table, obviously exhausted.
I slide the recorder towards the middle of the table and look over at him. "You have a naturally gifted voice, if not perhaps classically trained."
He blushes. "Why, thank you..."
I ask him, "So... is this a good time to talk then?"
"Yes.. I think so.. mind you I'm a little tired," he giggles, "so my tongue might be a tad loose..."
Just how I like them.
I smile and nod. "So let's start with the basics then... Are you a Washington native?"
Kailian shakes his head .. "Nope, I came from up North."
"Up North... Canada?" I ask.
"Nah.. Maine," he smiled, and pulled his hair down, letting the red hair fall around his face.
"So what brings a boy from Maine to the heart of our fair nation?" I ask him. At this point, a couple of new faces take nearby tables, but no one yet of note. We continue to chat.
"I suppose a sense of adventure... when you're a farm boy, a city is certainly a mysterious place... I think I'm a tad naive about the whole thing, still."
"So you grew up in a country lifestyle, then? Do you have any siblings? Is your family still in Maine?"
"No, I don't have any siblings.. and as for my parents.. that's another reason I left...." he says.
"Oh... didn't get along?" I asked. At this point I noticed Helen and Jamison leave for the evening without a single incident under their belts. Quelle dommage. Next time, perhaps.
"Aye.. I didn't get along well with them..."
Interesting that he uses that word, "aye". He has no other accent save his country Maine twang. I ask him, "Were they .... forgive me, abusive or something, in any way?"
Kailian looked away for a moment.. and then he looked back staring at his feet.. "Yes..." he murmurs.
"I see... When did you end up leaving home?" I ask him. As I turn my head, I note that the good parlor prestidigitator "Professor Aephaestus" has joined an unknown young lady at the next table. She looks to be in her early 20's. She wears a floor length black skirt with high leather boots under it, and a soft chenille sweater that clings tightly to her upper body. Her long black hair hangs loosely to about her hips. It seems to have a very deep luster that holds the light of the room. Her dark green eyes seem very intense as she looks about. Nice voice, though.
I return my attentions to the interview, as things are starting to clearly heat up in the conversation.
"I left when I was 16..." he sighed.
"And how long ago was that then?"
Kailian smiles and wiggles his eyebrows. "One never reveals their age to a reporter."
"So you have something to hide about your age then." I notice he is growing nervous now.
"I didn't say that ... it's just impolite to ask someone their age..." he evades.
I happen to know from certain parties that he's about 19. I do not bother to confess this. "I'm not here to make friends, Mr. Abyssinian. I am here to find out information our readers want to know. You are now a member of the show business community. It would be naive to assume these things won't be asked, and won't be able to be found out." I notice about this time, the entrance of Gabby Wildwood's pet bouncer, Raine something or another. He walks in, dressed per usual save for his fedora, which he always wears when frequenting such places. He tilts the fedora low over his eyes, then slinks his way to the bar and slides on a stool. "Let's move on, then. How long have you been in Washington?" I ask him.
"Uh.. that's a tough one... I'd say.. 6 months, give or take..." he replies.
"So where else have you worked in the area? Any other local clubs, shows, weddings, bar mitzvahs... metro stops?" I counter.
"Nope.. jjuuuust here," he drawls.
"Indeed. So will you be singing more often now that star chanteuse Sable Valentine has jumped ship?"
"I'm assuming that will be the occurrence..."
"But they haven't said yet? I mean she's been gone a month now."
"You know managements."
I don't know what he means by that yet, but I smile and nod. Oh yes. So, how did you become interested in singing?"
"Kailian smiles, "Blame that on my first boyfriend. Heh."
He catches me off-guard, but only for a moment. "So, tell me about this first boyfriend, how did ... he... get you involved in music?"
Kailian snickers at my response. "He dragged me to music classes back in high school.. that is, until I left."
"So you were openly gay in High School then?"
"Yes, I was..."
"Was that the source of some of the strife with your parents then?"
Kailian nods. "Bingo... don't you read into everything..." he mutters, teasingly.
"That's my job, Kailian.... do you mind if I call you that?"
"Not at all... just out of curiosity .. how old do you think I am?" He was clearly fishing for either a compliment or reassurance.
"College age. Roughly." Which was true, though he barely looks it.
Kailian nods. "At least someone thinks I am. Most people think I'm a kid," he shrugged.
"Why do you think that is, Kailian? You do have a very youthful appearance. Some performers covet that, actually."
"I'll admit to that. And that I also am a very.... open, friendly and... on a few occasions, I've been called innocent." He shrugged once again.
"So you believe that you come off rather wet behind the ears, then? The wide eyed farm boy in the big city?"
"So, this boyfriend got you into music classes... I take it you left him behind in Maine, yes?" I distinctly felt, at that moment, the sensation of something tiny pelting my shoulder. I turned slightly but didn't really see any cause for it, and returned to my interview.
"Ya.. he and I had.. difficulties with each other's parents... and he got sent away to a boarding school.. and I stormed out....and left."
"So then, you came to Washington. Are you still staying at the Comfort Inn?" Just then, a beer nut bounces off my dead Appletini glass, from somewhere behind me at or near the bar. I turn to look. There are a few scattered patrons back there. Raine, still. A swarthy older man just entering the club, who I discounted. And, of course, the Professor and his random brunette. I find nothing and look back at Kailian once more, muttering apologetically, "Someone's had a few too many it seems. Where were we? Ah, yes. You are still at the Comfort Inn?"
Kailian blinks. "You seem a tad.. tense."
"Someone keeps throwing beer nuts at the table."
Kailian nodded. "Haven't had much luck with finding another place to live."
I feel yet another beer nut hit me. I can't seem to catch whoever it is. "For what the Hotel costs you a month, you can't get a roommate somewhere in the suburbs?"
"I've been looking...but .. I don't know very many people."
"`They have roommate matching services in the area." He seems unresponsive to that. "Let's move on from that for a moment. Let's talk about your singing." I feel another beer nut land in my hair, which I tug out, and try not to go postal in the middle of work.
"What do you want to know?"
I pull out my compact and pretend to check my contacts, though I am really looking to see who is throwing the beer nuts. I've narrowed it down to The Professor and Maryanne (unlikely), the dark skinned man (too new) and Raine (no proof, but he is smirking at me.) "What genres do you do? Just Jazz, blues, torch singer stuff?" I flick a nut off the table onto the floor.
"I do a tad bit of everything, really.. no particular genre, really."
"So what other genres do you do then?" The swarthy man leaves. I put the compact away.
"Whatever the demand is, really.. I'm more into the heavy metal, personally, though." He says "really" an awful lot.
"Have you considered playing the Web of Night, or The Black Cat, or one of those harder clubs?"
"Yes, I have. And when I go to offer my services, I'm hoping the pay there will be better then here, or at least the employee arrangements will be better."
"You are unhappy with your situation here?" I check to make sure the manager is not in earshot, which to my relief, he is not.
"Too .. uptight for me."
I don't find this surprising. I then feel another beer nut graze my head, and by 20 minutes of the process of elimination, I know it is Raine. Gabby, you must be so proud of him... I rise and snap at him, though I play it as if I don't know it's him. "Whoever is doing that, please grow up. I'm sure the Web of Night is open if you want to act like a child. Thank you." This, of course, causes me to be the center of attention, which is the last place I wished to be. "Some people... Uptight you said? How so?"
"Well, the dress code and ....such." He is vague.
I am not sure what he really means. I notice that after my rebuke, Raine leaves, and magically there are no more flying beer nuts. That's a man I would entrust my personal safety with, really. "You are a performer. Certain shows obviously require a certain look... surely you understand this?" While he may be mentally backwoods town, this boy dresses like he's working 14th Street, frankly. Leather and shorts, tasty.
"I know... but I get bored of wearing the same things."
"Then maybe it's time you branched out? Just a suggestion."
"Any suggestions in particular?"
"Well I don't actually listen to Heavy Metal, but it seems the musicians in this town either seem to be at the Phantasm or the Web mostly, or Capital Hill, but that is most assuredly NOT Heavy metal. If you are looking to get into the Metal scene in Washington, I could make mention of it in the article, perhaps something will come along." There. I've mentioned it. Someone hire this boy, please. And get him a costumer. No doubt when this hits print, he'll be out of the only meager job he has to live on.
"Why, thank you."
"So... You've obviously been to the Web before though... I mean, that's where you met Robbie Jones, isn't it?" He just nods. "So, tell me about that."
"What do ya' want to know?"
"Whatever there is to tell... How'd you meet? What drew you two together? How long did it last? What was the real story about the hotel picture? What went sour? In your opinion, is Robbie Jones really gay?"
"Well, its like this... we met, we fooled around.. and I wanted more then he was willing to give, so he left."
"So, you wanted a relationship?"
"Yep. And Robbie wasn't interested." He pauses, thoughtfully. "Well, there were multiple reasons, I think."
"Such as? Besides the relationship expectations, obviously."
"I believe I sensed a hint of jealousy at some points, when we were together."
"He was jealous of people you were seeing?"
Kailian pulls closer, whispering, "Let's just say, I think that if he was in a relationship with a guy, he would want that guy to have a smaller cock them him."
I am completely dumbfounded by this, in that Barbara Walters sort of way. I can feel myself blushing, no mean feat at my age, and simply reply, "I.... see." I then gather the strength to press on. "So, Robbie was the dominant partner in the relationship then?"
Kailian smiled. "That would be a yes," he purred. He leans in, conspiratorially, smiling like a cat with canary breath. "Not only that, but... he sucked at it."
"Interesting... so he's submissive with women but a top with men then, so to speak?" Kailian nods. I continue. "So was his failure as a lover part of the reason for the breakup as well?"
"Ya'." At least he's stopped saying "Aye." "I was tempted to pull the whips and chains out for my own amusement. He was doing such a piss poor job... and, just for notification, it's much harder for a guy to fake a orgasm."
"I am aware of that basic biological boundary, thank you. So you are into the Bondage fetish scene as well? I am surprised you two did not meet at Bound rather than the Web, though the two clubs do share clientele and styling, no?" At this point, I note the Professor's companion leaving. I still didn't catch her name.
"It's not a boundary, just a barrier few men learn to go around." He's purring again. "And I wouldn't know about the Web and Bound's clientele. I've only been to Bound once."
"Really? What was it like?"
"Interesting, to say the least."
"Do you know anything about this Dominatrix Robbie was seeing?"
He winks at me. "And, just for the record, I'm bisexual, not gay."
I am curious if he is making advances to me in public or if he is truly that sexually fixated and unaware of it. "Is that right... So, you play both sides of the fence, then, do you?
"Yes. I do play on both sides. As for the Dominatrix, I wouldn't know anything."
"Just wondering. Some have said there's a serial killer out there, targeting Dommes."
"Well, I'm glad I'm submissive with both genders, then."
"Ah. So you are a bottom."
"Guilty as charged. I think a tad too much information has leaked out. Some that will be kept to the private files of memory... hmmm."
"Beg your pardon?"
He giggles. "Publish it all, if you like. I don't really care."
"Indeed... Anything else you think our readers would be interested to know? About you? Your Career? Observations? Famous friends?
"I don't think so. You've learned just about everything, unless you wanted to go into favorite things." He laughs.
"Certainly. Like what? Color? Foods? Movies? Positions?"
"Sure. Well, my favorite color happens to be Red. I love Mexican food with a passion... movies.." He pouts. "I'm a guilty Star Trek fan, so shoot me... positions..." He whistles, "I don't know what you're talking about." He smirks.
"Of course you don't."
At this point, the Professor is eavesdropping out of boredom, since he is alone. I note his chuckle and raised brow at the Star Trek comments. "Aren't you Professor Aephaestus?" I confront him.
He nods. "Yes, you are correct, Mademoiselle journalist."
At least this is a man who knows what he's buying. "I saw your show at the opening of Capital Hill."
"I hope it was to your liking."
"It was. I understand you are occasionally playing the Phantasm, though I have missed your shows." I offer him my card across the aisle. "Perhaps we can get together and chat about your work sometime, Professor."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it, and yes, I'm performing at the Phantasm every now and then." He takes the card. "It would be my pleasure, but I doubt your readers would actually find my life off stage interesting."
I smile and nod to him, trying to wrap up my work. I look back to Kailian. "So you enjoy Star Trek?"
"Ya'. It's a interest."
The Professor interjects. "In any case, allow me to give you one my own cards so you can call me if you wish to do an interview" He hands me one of his own cards, then rises to depart.
"Certainly Professor." I accept it and discreetly refocus on the subject at hand. "Well, if that is about all for now... I think we've covered, or shall I say, uncovered, quite a goldmine here, wouldn't you agree?"
"Aye, I'd say so."
Is it going to be Aye or Ya with this one?
I decide to get a look at this den of iniquity myself. "You need a lift back to the hotel? I'm heading that way."
"How kind of you. I'll gladly accept."
At this point I turned off the tape and gave the poor urchin an uneventful lift back to the Comfort Inn, far more enlightened than I ever imagined.
And there, dear readers, is the inside exclusive. Enjoy!