Updated: Dec 18, 2022
How would you describe your music to anyone who may have never heard it? Kyera: It’s definitely eclectic! It’s rhythmic, alternative soul, melodic, tribal, hauntingly beautiful, and at times cinematic.
What are your musical influences? K: Kiss - The theatrics is what first drew me to them. I liked the mystery. ("New York Groove," "Beth" (orchestral arrangement), "I was Made for Lovin’ You").
Queen - Defied genre. Did what was true in their heart and created the audience because of their certainty and passion for their sound. ("We Will Rock You," "Play the Game," "Prophet Song," and "Under Pressure" with Bowie).
Nina Simone - The first time I was moved by a voice with a similar timbre to my own ("Ne Me Quitte Pas," "Wild Is The Wind," "Black Is the Color").
Sia - The quiet force and intensity of her voice and some of the melodic progressions she chooses ("Breath Me," "Chandelier," "Elastic Heart").
TV on the Radio - Love the combination of soul, funk, alt-rock and experimental ("Starring at the Sun," "Will Do," "Wolf Like Me").
Fleetwood Mac - One song in particular, "Tusk." Combined so many elements of what I love in a song together.
Tracy Chapman - That voice, her stories and her melodic progressions (Fast Car, Mountain O’ Things, For You)
Portis Head - The emotion ("Roads").
Rodrigo y Gabriela - They inspired me to learn how to use the guitar as a percussion instrument.
I’ve been told I sound like the following artists, and as much as I do love or appreciate their music, they did not have a direct influence on me; Sade, Annie Lennox, Shakira, Cher, Bjork, Kate Bush, and India Arie.
What are your musical inspirations? K: Stepping -like step shows- and marching bands for the rhythm, chants and intensity. Flamenco dancing for the graceful rhythmic passion and mesmerizing aesthetics. Also, life! I pay attention to the rhythms, emotions and stories of life. Michael Jackson as an entertainer is an inspiration. As well as his ability to know what was true for him and his certainty about his sound and communication created a high level of support. He was able to direct people in a way to ensure that his vision was correctly executed while validating others’ creative experiences. Beyonce as well, for the same reason. Through documentaries, I’ve been able to see how they maneuver; it’s very inspiring.
If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track. K: I’m fortunate to be able to check off a collaboration with one of my icons; my song "Passio" features guitar legend, Carlos Santana. In the future, I would like to collaborate with Labrinth, Shakira, Micheal Kiwanuka, Pharrell, Sia and Daft Punk. I would like to write a song for FKA Twigs.
What is the new song "Look, Don't Touch" about? If you don't mind explaining it. K: My new detangling hair conditioner, “Look, Don’t Touch!” inspired a natural hair anthem. This song gives voice to my hair, and I think many people on their natural hair journey will relate. My hair did not always get attention, and if it did, it was negative attention which caused a lot of anxiety about wearing my hair natural. I would have never imagined it would come to be my trademark. Now, everywhere I go, my hair gets a lot of positive attention. As I do appreciate the admiration, I don’t love strangers invading my personal space to touch my hair. The lyrics tell the story of loving and validating your hair and embracing your natural beauty while also schooling people on basic natural hair etiquette look, don’t touch!
What’s something you hope people can take away from the new song? K: Musically, I hope this song finds those music lovers who are looking for something different and unique. If they discover me as an artist, it will be my eternal pleasure to engage with them on an emotional level through my music. Thematically, it is important to embrace, validate and nurture the hair that comes out of your head. It’s yours. So I want this song to resonate with the pride of wearing your hair naturally and not comparing your hair to anyone else’s. Your own hair has the potential to be beautiful if properly cared for. This is the message woven through this song.
Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? Could be your own music or even a cover. Any reason why? K: "Spirit of the Phoenix!" Yaaaaassss! It has not been released yet. This song is big! Epic! It starts off with the thumping of tribal drums, and I stomp. In my mind, each time I stomp, it lifts the dust from the earth. This song also gives me ample opportunity to "move like Kyera," which can be both aggressive and graceful. It's an intense song, and I love intense.
If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be? K: London. Once I performed at an open mic in a London Pub. I loved the people, we all had such a great time, and I love the style of London. And is there any particular venue in London that comes to mind you could play right now?
K: KOKO in London. It’s gorgeous. It’s intimate, and the architecture is divine. It looks like a big hug.
What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year?
K: To share my song, “Look, Don’t Touch!” and the conditioner with as many people as possible. I’ll also finish recording another song which will be on my upcoming album.
Thanks for the time today. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go? K: It is a privilege to be an artist and to reach and affect so many people. As everyone has a story or likes to share about a certain vibe or story. I'm very aware of the impact that music has on the culture - through repetition of a message, it can create new norms. So I like to be responsible with the types of messages I'm releasing into the world.
Check out more from Kyera.