Kyan: The New Cool
17th December 2018
Soulful, honest, and a sense of humour to spark, Kyan is keeping his music real and making us all notice. With fans of his sound including the likes of Nile Rodgers, we’re predicting big things in 2019. We caught up with the star alongside the release of new single Lonely River, to chat all things identity, favourite colours and first dates…!
Introduce yourself like you’re on a first date!
Hey I’m Kate, nice to meet you Kyan. I mean I’m Kyan. ****! Excuse my language. No, really already? Don’t go, I just got here. Okay fair enough that does sound like an emergency…Well I hope you manage to put out the fire that just started in your house this minute. Bye Kate…
You recently performed at Abbey Road Studios in front of an audience with NILE RODGERS! Talk us through the whole experience, as you must be pinching yourself still, surely!?
That was definitely one of the most surreal moments experiences I’ve had! Abbey Road is an incredible studio with such a rich history. It’s exciting just stepping foot in the place, let alone working with Nile Rodgers there and then playing my own show there. I won’t be forgetting that in a hurry.
Best advice Nile has given you, and best story he’s told you!?
I think the best thing I got from Nile was just that extra push to know I’m on the right path. When someone who has sold 500 million records talks about your music in the way he talked about my music…that shuts up those doubting little voices in the back of your head for a bit. That’s better than any advice someone could give.
One of your former singles was called ‘Like Summer’ – so…what do you like about Winter?
Winter is like the friend I never want to come to the party, but always comes anyway and stays way longer than everybody else. ‘Like Summer’ isn’t actually about literally ‘liking summer’ though. It’s a song about coming out a long period of depression, an experience I’ve described as similar to sleep paralysis, in that you know it’s happening you want to pull yourself out of it, but you can’t. ‘Like Summer’ was the first time I felt like I was coming out of that two-year sleep, and the high felt just as extreme as the lows I had been in. It felt like summer.
Your new single talks about people calling you a “Lonely River” – what does that mean exactly?
Lonely River explores identity and self-expression. I feel like from the moment we are born labels and boxes are forced onto us, controlling how people perceive us and our capabilities. Labels are reductive and lead to millions of women not being educated because they are girls and people being killed around the world because they are gay. From those extremes to the casual everyday stereotypes that a lot of us encounter, I take real issue with the whole subject. Lonely River is about stepping outside of all of that and being brave enough to be fluid, finding your own path and embracing your own individuality.
I just released a music video for Lonely River, so you should definitely check that out if you want to see what I look like dancing around in wellies, goggles, a cape and boxers, with a basketball and an umbrella. Ahhh we had so much fun making that video!
Earlier this year you performed on the cult YouTube channel Colors – which colour sums you up and why?
Colors was a great experience. Berlin is such a beautiful city and that channel, they are really doing something special and that’s definitely being demonstrated in the success they’ve achieved and the artists they pull in.
Following on from Lonely River, I don’t think I would pick a colour. I spent a lot of time in the past trying to decide where I fit and who I was, but it’s so liberating just to be whatever you want when you want. So I’d choose colourless, transparent, clear…!
Your sound has got a much needed R&B nostalgia to it, where vocals are the greatest instrument. Where do you see music genres heading in the next ten years?
My main focus when I create music is creative honesty. Like how can I say or portray this thing I’m thinking or feeling in a way that nobody else has said before but everyone will relate to. When something happens to you, something amazing or something terrible, it always feels utterly personal, like you are the only person who has experienced it. In my music I try to create that same unique and personal world. That’s far more important to me than genre which is really just packaging for the idea beneath it.
What’s on your music-career-wish-list of achievements?
I want to keep creating art that I believe in and that hopefully has an impact on other people. Playing live has been amazing this year, that’s where I feel like I’m most at home. So much of what I do is on social media which definitely has its merits but being in front of people and connecting with them in that way, there’s nothing like that. Of course, I want the usual world domination, Grammy’s, Brits, Oscar’s, Golden Globes, all of that stuff, but all I can do is create and hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to achieve some of that.
What clothing and vibes have you picked out from Superdry?
I bought a new bag recently for my laptop/hard drives etc. I was quite pleased with myself as I tend to spend all of money on food and nothing else. But then I realised it weighs a ton, and I can’t take it anywhere! So, I picked the rolltop back which is perfect for when I plan on travelling without being propped up by two additional people. I also chose the green hoodie and tracksuit bottoms which I’m actually still wearing now as I write this. Super comfortable and understated which I like. Lastly, I chose the trainers which fit like a glove and are really light, giving me that extra bit of hang-time in my slo-mo vids. Win win.