Streamers on the Rise: KDotDaGawd leveled up in 2023. Now it’s “time to put in more work.”

By 02/14/2024
Streamers on the Rise: KDotDaGawd leveled up in 2023. Now it’s “time to put in more work.”

Welcome to Streamers on the Rise, where we find streamers who are growing their channels, content, and audiences in extraordinary ways. Each week we’ll talk with a creator about what goes into livestreaming–both on and off camera.

As a kid, KDotDaGawd didn’t let himself have nice things.

One of his older brothers was a certified nerd, and introduced him to video games like Kingdom Hearts and franchises like Pokémon. KDot knew he dug stories like those–but back then, it wasn’t cool to be into video games or anime.


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“I was like, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t play these games,’ because growing up you didn’t want to get bullied like that,” he says. “I took a stand back from it.”

But the older he got, the less he cared what other people thought was cool. In college, he found what would become his favorite manga and anime, Naruto. The titular hero’s journey into ninjadom “really made me feel comfortable with being myself and being me. I got to the point where if you didn’t like me for me that’s okay because I’m still be me and I still can find people that love me for me,” he says.

Once he graduated college, though, he hit a bump. “I was feeling mad depressed,” he says. “I was feeling really down.”

That’s when he found Twitch. A friend told him that if he streamed, he could get paid to play the games he loved, and his reaction was, Why wouldn’t I do that? He launched his channel, began broadcasting himself playing a Naruto game, and, over the past few years, has built his presence there to be a launchpad for everything else he wants to accomplish as a creator.

While KDot goes live almost every day and makes the majority of his content on Twitch, he wants to do a lot more than streaming. In 2023, he started getting big breaks: He was a host at TwitchCon (plus participated in and produced the convention’s Great Anime Debate) and was a guest host for the HBCU Esports League as well as the Black Unity Guild.

It “was the first year that I was able to really step into becoming a host and a panelist and a moderator,” he says. “Honestly, last year was just my validation year for chasing my dreams. I wanted to be a host. I got the opportunity to do it. Now it’s time to put in more work and put in more groundwork to continue doing that.”

Check out our chat with him below.

@kdotdagawd POV: You Just Listened to MASHLE Opening 2 #mashle #mashlemagicandmuscles #anime #fyp ♬ original sound – KDotDaGawd| Twitch Partner – KDotDaGawd | Twitch Partner

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tubefilter: I’m very excited to chat with you. I’m familiar with you, but the goal with these pieces, for me at least, is to introduce new people to you. For the first question, just pretend somebody is reading this or watching this, they’ve never seen your stuff, don’t know who you are. Let me know where you’re from, what you were into as a kid, and then what led you to Twitch.

KDotDaGawd: My name is KDotDaGawd, and I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tubefilter: Wait, for real? Me too.

KDotDaGawd: That is so crazy.

Tubefilter: It’s so funny. I feel like there are so many creators from Cincinnati area.

KDotDaGawd: But you don’t know each other!

Tubefilter: No. Then you never run into each other around town.

KDotDaGawd: At all. Growing up as a kid, I was really into sports. I was into just going outside, playing all the time. I wasn’t really into games like that, my older brother was. Both my brothers. One is, he was the jock, the cool kid going outside, and the other one was the nerd. He liked gaming, he liked anime, he liked staying inside and just writing novels and books and stuff like that. I feel like I’m both of them put together. My older brother who was the gamer, he got me into Kingdom Hearts early, Pokémon. I was like, “Maybe I shouldn’t play these games,” because growing up you didn’t want to get bullied like that. I took a stand back from it.

Growing up and going into high school and college, I grew into myself, or grew into who I wanted to be. I’m like, “These are cool! This is what I like!” I started watching anime a lot more. I started watching Naruto, I started watching Blue Lock, Re:Zero, all those types of anime. Those really made me feel comfortable with being myself and being me. I got to the point where if you didn’t like me for me that’s okay because I’m still be me and I still can find people that love me for me.

After college in 2016, it wasn’t until 2018, 2019 when I was feeling mad depressed. I was feeling really down. I stumbled upon Twitch and my friend was like, “You can get paid to play the game.” What college kid doesn’t want to get paid to play the game instead of working two to three jobs every day just to fund something?

Then once I found Twitch, I told my parents, I’m like, “Give me two to three years to try to figure something out with this,” because I didn’t want to do college anymore. I dropped out. I was like, “Give me two to three years, let me stay home for a while and let me figure out what I can and can’t do with this.” Little enough, in two to three years, I started being financially stable with Twitch.

Then moving out, I ended up working with some of the best companies as an Elgato, Corsair, etcetera. That gave me the confidence to keep going and keep doing what I’m doing today.

Tubefilter: That’s amazing. Very cool.

KDotDaGawd: Trying. Trying.

Tubefilter: It’s working out.

KDotDaGawd: Yes.

Tubefilter: It takes a lot of guts to go to your parents and be like, “Hey, give me some time to work on this.”

KDotDaGawd: I feel like I’m blessed with my parents because they’ll always allow me to do whatever I want to do, follow the path I want to follow, as long as it’s something that I choose and I want to do. It’s not nothing crazy or nothing wild like trying to be a stuntman, doing 360 flips or something like that, and trying to hurt myself. As long as it’s business-minded and stable, they all for it and they’re going to push their kids to do the best whatever they want to do.

Tubefilter: You ended up on Twitch. You gave yourself this two or three years. When did it start to take off for you, where you were like, “Okay, this can actually be a thing”?

KDotDaGawd: I want to say the same year. I think it was 2018, was the same year, ironically.

Tubefilter: Oh, nice.

KDotDaGawd: Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker was the main game that I played. Like I said, I loved Naruto growing up. Once I got that game, I started playing with other folks, a whole bunch of people coming to my chat and I would be the top streamer in that category. I would average between maybe 50 to 70, sometimes even 100 plus. Next thing you know my personality is showing, I’m having fun, the conversation’s flowing with the chat, and the people I’m playing the game with. Everybody was like, “Hey bro, you have something, you got something.”

That’s when I took the time to hone my skills, really figure out how to market myself, really figure out how to brand myself, figure out how this Twitch stuff really works with the Emmos, sharing my ideas, sharing my content. I try to figure that out all within those first, I want to say two to three years.

Tubefilter: You have a really big range of variety games that you play now, and you do Just Chatting too. I’m curious about, a lot of streamers I speak to are very nervous to do more than one type of game or even one title. You have managed to do a variety really well, so I’m curious about your strategy there.

KDotDaGawd: I’m the content at that point. I’m the content. My personality shows and shines brighter than any game. The game is just what brings people over. Now, what keeps them there is me, what brings them back is me. I do understand the issue that some streamers have when it comes to focusing on one game. I did that. I did that.

I got burnt out with Naruto. I played that game for two to three years. I ran that down to the ground. When it was time for me to change and I wanted to grow, because I don’t want to just be known for a streamer, I want to be a content creator. I want to be a host, I want to be an interviewer, I want to be a PC builder. I want to do so many different things because I’m multifaceted that “streamer” is such a small box and I don’t fit in it.

Then once I want to work with all these different companies, how can I work with all these different companies if I only do one thing? Let me show you I’m a five, six, trick pony, and that I can fit in all these different avenues that you need me to fit in. You need somebody who can make a YouTube video? I can do that. You need somebody who can stream live? I can do that. You need somebody that can host a show for you? I can do that too. All those things is more of a risk, but it’s a high-risk reward that I’m prepared to take because that’s the dreams and goals that I want to take. Being a streamer isn’t going to give me my end all be all.

On top of that, I love too many things. I can’t just sit there and focus on one thing all the time. I might be on a game for three days to a week, but I’m ready to switch to something else because it’s a brand new game coming out next week. Either Square Enix wants me to cover it, Bandai wants me to cover it, Capcom, all the top companies want me to cover their game. Why would I tell myself no and my community no, because they look for me as a reviewer when it comes to some of these games? It’s like, “Hey, KDot, are you playing a new game?” Yes, I sure am, you can come here live and watch me and get some first impressions and see if you want to buy the game yourself.

Tubefilter: It’s cool that you’re like, “Yes, I am why you come here.” I feel like that’s something that people could learn to do more confidently.

KDotDaGawd: It’s like a TV show. I play every character in it every day.

Tubefilter: Speaking of, what is your stream schedule like?

KDotDaGawd: I stream 11:00 AM EST typically Monday through Friday, but I told myself after I did my vision board this year that I would try to take a day off or two days off throughout the week.

Tubefilter: Good.

KDotDaGawd: Right now it’s Monday, Tuesday, off Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, off Sunday, and then repeat, but I start all the time at 11:00 AM EST.

Tubefilter: It’s good that you’re taking time off too.

KDotDaGawd: I’m trying. I’m trying, but sometimes I need to keep it going so I can grow, so I can be seen all the time. That’s the one thing that is hard about being a streamer is being consistent and being seen consistently.

Tubefilter: You mentioned that you want to do more than streaming. Are you up to any cool projects or is there anything you’re working on right now that you talk about?

KDotDaGawd: Last year was the first year that I was able to really step into becoming a host and a panelist and a moderator. I was a host for TwitchCon and I actually was a producer as well for a show called The Great Anime Debate. We did a live TwitchCon show and it was also streamed live in front of 15,000+ people. That wasn’t the first thing I did, but that was the biggest thing.

The first opportunity was going to the HBCU Esports League and I was a guest host down in Atlanta. I was a guest host for their TV show. That was fun. It was amazing. I had a great time doing that. It really gave me the confidence to be like, “Hey, I can do this. I can really be a TV show personality. I can really be an internet personality outside of just being at my desk and being at home. I can do this.”

Also, Twitch gave me the chance to be a moderator for a bunch of their panels at TwitchCon, also for the Black Unity Guild. It was one more as well, but it was so many things I’m starting to have a blank. Honestly, last year was just my validation year for chasing my dreams. I wanted to be a host. I got the opportunity to do it. Now it’s time to put in more work and put in more groundwork to continue doing that.

Tubefilter: What has been your favorite part of being on Twitch as a whole?

KDotDaGawd: Meeting new people. I’m not going to lie to you. Being in Cincinnati, I know sometimes people can be standoffish, people can be in their own cliques. People can just be so fixating their own world, so it gets hard to try to find new friends and new people to really align with what you align with. Just being able to meet new people from all walks of life, no matter where you from, and just be able to have one commonality just to have fun, just want some positive energy. You just want to kick it and just forget all the negativity in your day. That’s the biggest thing. I want to say community would be a really simple answer, is community.

Tubefilter: Are you thinking of staying in Cincy?

KDotDaGawd: I wanted to move to Texas at first because it’s a big content creation hub. Now it’s getting expensive. Honestly, my dream was to go to LA and I ended up going there thanks to Twitch for my first panel. I was being a moderator for one of their big community meetups. I was out there for a few days. I’m like, “I don’t want to stay here. I don’t like it. It is too hot. It doesn’t look clean.” Then the next place I wanted to try to go to was Atlanta because that’s another huge place.

Tubefilter: Yes. Also huge right now for creators.

KDotDaGawd: That was where I wanted to go, but I’m sitting here thinking about expenses. This is all I do for a living. This is what I do full-time. This is what pays my bills. This is how I feed myself, take care of myself. Why move from an affordable apartment to somewhere where I might be paying double the rent? Now I’m taking on more bills, more expenses, and now I’m more stressed out.

Tubefilter: For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re locked out of opportunities because you’re not in New York or LA or Atlanta.

KDotDaGawd: Not at all. You just got to know who to talk to. You got to have the right network, had the right connections, because literally, I went to six, seven different cities last year. They all flew me out. Atlanta, LA, even went to Vegas. I went to so many different cities instead of just being in Cincinnati.

Tubefilter: That’s the good thing is that it is sort of central, so you can get places. I know we talked about your plans for the future, but you mentioned you have a vision board for this year. Anything else you’re working on or working toward?

KDotDaGawd: I’m trying to get into more events. Like I said, this year I want to be more of an IRL personality content. My plan is to go to more conventions this year and just do more IRL content, be on more panels, and just be seen more so people can know who I am outside of just a streamer. It’s so hard to be seen on Twitch sometimes if you’re not collaborating a lot, but it’s easier for people to feel my energy and see who I am in person.

On top of that, if I can create content with you in person, then we already build a camaraderie, build a vibe. You have some point to come back to when you think of my name. Like, “Oh, we had a good time together. Oh, we made this a good piece of content.” My plan is to just go to every big convention, whether it’s content creation, streaming, tech, anime, and just be there, be a host, be a content creator, and just have fun.

Tubefilter: I’m curious about your experiences with discoverability on Twitch. You’ve been on Twitch for a while.

KDotDaGawd: See me, I don’t worry about being it difficult because life is difficult, life is hard, so you really just got to lock in, grind it out, and figure your way out. Granted, I did have some times where I was like, “Man, I did deserve this X amount of numbers. I did deserve to be at this spot.” I also told myself it wasn’t my time yet. I had to put more work in. I had to put more time in. I had to just really sit down and figure some things out. It can be hard to be discovered on Twitch, but it’s also like, I’m not worried about being discovered on Twitch. I’m worried about being seen just overall.

Whether that’s on Twitter, whether that’s on IG, TikTok, YouTube, in person. Twitch is such a small piece of all that. Twitch is not just who I am. I’m not just a Twitch streamer. That’s why I don’t solely focus on it being hard. Granted, I’ve been on an incline for the last, I want to say one to two years, but that’s because of the last three to four years I put in work.

I think some people forget that you have to put in work to get results, or they feel like they put enough work in already that they deserve it so now it starts bothering them. Sometimes it does bother you but you got to really sit down, sometimes pray, meditate, whatever you want to do, to really come to that answer. It’s either lock in and do it or just be upset and cry about it or whatever they do. I don’t know.

Tubefilter: You’re really focused on this multiplatform approach. People get to see you from as many perspectives as possible.

KDotDaGawd: Yes, exactly. If you come to my stream, I might talk about anime, I might play the game, but it’s so much more to me today. I like fashion, I like clothes, I like reading manga, I like reading books. I like going outside. We can go to the bar. I like doing so much that just one thing– I don’t fit under one thing. That’s just what I’m trying to say.

Tubefilter: Okay, to wrap up, what’s the latest manga you read that you’d recommend?

KDotDaGawd: [leans back and grabs a book] This one. Wistoria: Wand and Sword. It’s a pretty good manga. I like it. It’s about this guy named Will. He’s born into a world of magic. He doesn’t have magic of his own, but he does have sword skills. He goes to this magic school where everybody hates him because he’s not supposed to be there because he doesn’t know magic. It’s only three ways to pass the school, learn magic, pass the test, or go into dungeons and fight and get enough credits. While everybody else is in class learning magic, he’s in the dungeons getting extra credits, also going to magic class, learning about magic but can’t do it.

I like manga and anime that has an underdog where it’s all odds against them but they always find a way. I like that. Blue Lock, Naruto, Black Clover. A lot of the stuff that I relate to is because of that because I feel like a lot of the times in my life, people didn’t think I could do anything. People didn’t really believe in me or they always put me on a back burner. Didn’t think I would be up here. I always come back to those types of mangas or pieces of literature that can make me feel like what I’m doing is right no matter what people say.

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