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Australian producer, songwriter, and DJ Kito merges forward-thinking dance music with bittersweet pop. First active as a dubstep producer, she achieved commercial success making electro-pop with vocalist Reija Lee, including the 2011 hit "Sweet Talk." She has produced or co-written songs by artists such as Jorja Smith, Banks, and Mabel, and her music has been sampled by rappers like Trinidad James and Big Boi. After issuing the 2018 EP Haani, which included collaborations with Hudson Mohawke and Broods, Kito released Billboard-charting dance singles with Empress Of, ZHU, and Jeremih. She fused house with R&B on 2021's guest-heavy Blossom EP, and her 2023 singles explored drum'n'bass ("Sticky") and garage ("Get It"). Maaike Kito Lebbing was born in Denmark, Western Australia, and began producing music at home as a teenager, influenced by trip-hop, drum'n'bass, and IDM. She moved to Perth in order to study fashion, but ended up studying music instead. After working at a record store and spinning at clubs in Perth, she traveled to Europe in 2006, where she was introduced to the nascent dubstep scene. Her first single as Kito, "What If"/"Cold," was released by Skream's Disfigured Dubz label in 2009, followed by a self-titled 2010 EP, which included guest vocals by her friend Reija Lee, as well as a remix of a track by Vaccine. Kito produced more songs with Lee, and their tune "Sweet Talk," released as the title track of an EP by Diplo's Mad Decent label in 2011, was used in Victoria's Secret ads. The duo moved to London that year, and Kito produced an official remix of Beyoncé's hit "Run the World (Girls)." Electric Empire, Kito's collaboration with French electro-house producer Feadz, was released by Ed Banger in 2012, and "Velma Kelly," Kito and Lee's one-off single as Faux No, appeared on Mad Decent. Trinidad James sampled the duo's song "Run for Cover," from a 2011 Mad Decent compilation, on his 2013 track "Females Welcomed," and Big Boi subsequently used the song in a mashup called "King Shit." Kito & Reija Lee's EP II was released by Payday in 2014, with Zebra Katz guesting on the song "WORD$." The duo stopped collaborating in 2015, and Kito remained in London, working with artists such as M.O, Mabel, and Jorja Smith. Following the end of a relationship in 2017, Kito returned to Australia and recorded her second solo EP, Haani, which contained guest appearances by Hudson Mohawke, Trinidad James, Broods, and others. She moved to Los Angeles and collaborated with Empress Of on the single "Wild Girl," which was issued by Astralwerks and EMI Music Australia. The track reached the Top 30 of Billboard's Dance Airplay chart, and Kito was nominated as Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year at the 2020 Global APRA Music Awards. In 2020, she released the AlunaGeorge-featuring "Alone with You," and was featured on FLETCHER's single "Bitter." "Follow," Kito's collaboration with ZHU and Jeremih, reached number 20 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Songs chart. 2021 saw the release of "Recap" with VanJess and Channel Tres and "Steal My Clothes" featuring Bea Miller. Both songs appeared on the EP Blossom, which featured additional guests like BROODS and Winona Oak. "Sad Girl Music," featuring BANKS, was released in 2022. Kito and Aluna were featured on Skrillex's 2023 track "Inhale Exhale." "Sticky," a liquid drum'n'bass track featuring Lolo Zouaï, was issued along with several remixes. Kito also collaborated with Karma Fields and Alida on the garage track "Get It."
© Paul Simpson /TiVo


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