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Growing up in Racine, Kristian Iliev always had an ear for music. He remembers listening to Toni Braxton as a child and asking his mom about the chorus.

Now, he lives in Madison. He plays guitar and sings in a band called The Racing Pulses. He’ll be our first featured musician in our virtual happy hour, which kicks off at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 28, on the Racine County Eye Facebook page.

We decided that since people are housebound these days, it might do us some good to bring a musical experience to our Facebook page. Racine County Eye will host several of them over the next few weeks. We’d also like to use this opportunity to allow Racine County Eye readers to show their support for local news by becoming subscribers or giving a one-time donation.

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About Kristian Iliev

Where are you from?      

I was born in Bulgaria, but I have lived most of my life in Wisconsin. I grew up in Racine. 

How did you get into music?   

Curiosity about music developed in me at a young age. I have an early childhood memory of listening to “Un-break My Heart” in the car and being impressed by Toni Braxton’s voice. My mother was driving and I kept pestering her with questions about the meaning of the chorus. Even at a young age, I was fascinated by how songs weaved lyrics and melodies to create unforgettable music. My family is also quite musical. Many of us love to sing and some play instruments. In my teenage years, I developed the desire to compose. I started playing guitar more seriously in high school.   

What kind of music do you play? What instruments do you play? Do you sing?

I sing and play guitar, and I used to drum quite a bit. People have called The Racing Pulses everything from alternative rock to power pop, so I’ll let listeners decide.

When did you start playing in a band? 

The first ensemble I was part of was Walden Middle/High School’s jazz band. We had a decent program, and the teacher let us play some rock tunes. 

How can Racine support your music/you? 

I’d encourage people to follow The Racing Pulses on social media, on Spotify, or on YouTube to learn more about us. Our latest music video featuring players from Wisconsin’s soccer club, Forward Madison FC, as well as Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, can be viewed here:

What is your favorite thing about playing music? 

Making music is a thrill. Enjoying or playing music is not only therapeutic, it allows for expression in a purer form. Inspiring, entertaining, and connecting with audiences is a thrill even during the darkest of times.