Rapper Averagekidluke built his name, at least in Finland, by rapping in English on a Finnish remix of a Swedish hit. That may sound like a strange puzzle of languages and nationalities, but really, that's just what the world is these days. We meet up with the artist, recently signed to Parlophone UK, to talk about the power of chance encounters, growing up in hip hop – and of course fashion.
Swedish-Assyrian rapper A36’s single Samma gamla vanliga became a huge hit in the Nordics in the spring of 2021. By the end of the summer, Samma gamla vanliga was remixed, or localized, to a Scandic version (with the help of Danish Branco and Norwegian Kamelen) and also a Finnish version with Cledos, Ibe and Averagekidluke.
The latter debuted at number one on the Finnish single chart, stayed in the peak position for 13 weeks and has streamed triple platinum.
“It's crazy how we went from bedroom studios just last year / To remixes on platinum songs out here in Sweden”, Averagekidluke raps on the track.
“At first I shunned the idea of hopping on a remix of a tune that's already huge. Later on I learned that it really isn’t an automatic key to blowing up, like a lot of people in the music industry, including me, may have thought”, Averagekidluke says laughing.
Averagekidluke, real name Lucas Kihlman, was born in 2002 to a Swedish-speaking Finnish father and an American mother in Helsinki. He speaks Finnish, Swedish and English fluently, but decided early on to focus in English as his primary and most natural language when rapping. And networking.
Averagekidluke landed his spot on the remix, at least partially, thanks to his rapper friend who was building a career in Sweden. A36’s A&R manager had heard this artist's demo tracks, out of which several featured Averagekidluke. And when the A&R was handed a shortlist of Finnish rappers suggested for the remix, Averagekidluke’s name was the only one familiar to him.
Hail to England
Averagekidluke's journey hasn't been limited to Finland or Sweden. He has actively expanded his network and connections worldwide. So far, his willingness to seek out opportunities has led to writing for artists like Iann Dior and Internet Money.
“We’ve submitted tracks that we’d like to hear. I think that has resonated. We’re not trying to write songs that especially sound like something Iann Dior would do, like hundred other songwriters”, Averagekidluke says.
In the music business, chance encounters and random opportunities often play a significant role in an artist's success. Averagekidluke knows this and has actively tried to be in contact with artists who are visiting Finland. Some encounters don’t bear fruit right away, but Averagekidluke says they’re worth it anyway, as he trusts his name will be familiar the next time it comes up, like it did with with Samma gamla vanliga.
Abroad, telling new people I’m from Finland resonates differently than for example telling them that I’m from Florida. They might know 20 people from Miami but maybe one or zero from Finland.
Averagekidluke recently inked a deal with Parlophone UK – the first Finnish rapper to ever do so. He recognizes the importance that the UK plays in his career and understands the value of integrating into the British music scene. Word of mouth remains a powerful tool, even in the digital age, and his Finnish origins make him a unique and a memorable figure.
“Being Finnish plays an integral part of it. Abroad, telling new people I’m from Finland resonates differently than for example telling them that I’m from Florida. They might know 20 people from Miami but maybe one or zero from Finland. And I’m that guy from that point on”, Averagekidluke says.
Passion for fashion
Averagekidluke says… Wait up. Let’s discuss his stage name first.
We live in the age of “flex”, at least when it comes to rap music. When bling, drip and cream seem to be the essentials, the term average isn’t usually associated with a rapper’s stage name. Averagekidluke laughs and takes us back to his teens.
The name’s origin starts with a simple text conversation with his mother about school grades. The word "average" struck a chord with him, and it felt like the perfect name for his clothing brand. Thus, his Instagram handle became "Average”.
Fashion still is a passion for Averagekidluke, even though his Average brand’s life span was only one “drop” of print t-shirts. He remains involved with a friend's clothing brand, but wants to keep this aspect of his life discreet – at least for now.
Averagekidluke says that both fashion and music are integral parts of his identity. He approaches all his projects with patience and dedication, emphasizing the lasting importance that fashion has in his life. Career in music is his primary focus right now, but he talks about getting in the world of fashion at some point.
And that brings us on the “kid” part of his stage name. Averagekidluke started his career as a kid but is now in his early twenties. He has pondered the idea of shedding the “kid" part, reflecting his evolution from adolescence to adulthood. This potential transformation symbolizes the artist's growth and willingness to adapt to change.
“AKL”, Averagekidluke says without flinching. We might know him soon enough by this acronym.
Consistency over experimentation
Averagekidluke’s career has been transformation, learning by trial and error – and success as well. Michael Jackson and 50 Cent were his primary influences, he loved dancing and freestyling, and started rapping to Jay Z’s Dead Presidents beat.
He and his friends soon got an opportunity to use a vacant studio at a production house. Averagekidluke says that he embraced the possibility and didn’t take it for granted.
“I wanted to develop my skills, evolve into an artist. I realized that I had to fully commit myself to working there, several hours per day, every day”, Averagekidluke says.
Before, I may have listened to producers' wishes too much. Now I’m trying to keep my head and proceed as I feel.
That didn’t go unnoticed and Averagekidluke soon signed a deal. After his record deal he has worked with different producers, multiple rappers and released a steady string of singles. Samma gamla vanliga remains his biggest hit but he has three singles getting close to platinum status in Finland.
“I think that I’ve only just found my own style. Before, I may have listened to different producers' wishes too much. Now I’m trying to keep my head and proceed as I feel”, Averagekidluke says.
He says his next goal is expanding his fanbase all over Europe and making his music more familiar to his old fans.
“I want my fans to know what to expect from me. Consistency instead of experimentations”, Averagekidluke says.
“Perseverance, but only one step at a time.”