INTERVIEW: KYRI discusses life, influences, and his latest EP 'Waves'
After dazzling us with his brilliant singles 'Red River' and 'Sanctuary' in previous months, London-based artist KYRI has now cemented his legacy with the release of his new EP 'Waves'.
Filled with bright and euphoric production, 'Waves' is one of those distinctly unique releases that almost finds its own unique niche as it plays. With its piano-led base and sweeping vocals from the man himself, it makes for a truly warm and captivating initial listen.
So we decided to sit down with him to find out more about his influences and what the inspiration was behind this new collection.
Hi KYRI, how are you today? Hey! I’m feeling great thank you. All the positive vibes! I hope you are too! Who would you say have been your biggest influences so far?
Well, my two favourite artists on the planet are Joni Mitchell and Amel Larrieux. I guess it all stems from there on the deepest level.
But I’d say my sound is currently most influenced by The Weeknd’s early material, Gallant and Vōx. People also love to liken my voice to Sam Smith’s and George Michael’s, though I don’t really hear it myself. Maybe it’s because I’m half greek/english, gay and sing high? I don’t know. But hey, I’ll take it.
You are from a Greek heritage. Has that inspired the sound of your music in any way? I think subconsciously, in a small way perhaps. My father and grandmother shared traditional Greek folk songs with me during my childhood. They can be quite dramatic with stories of love, loss and tragedy. The melodies also move in quite unusual and interesting, intricate ways. Especially in the vocals. I’ve probably absorbed some of that!
You have just released your new EP ‘Waves’. Can you tell us the inspiration behind that release?
‘Waves’ is a bittersweet, very personal collection of songs about waves - waves of water, sound, energy, electricity, emotion, pain, hope, healing and change.
When listening back to the tracks as one body of work, I noticed common themes of water, hope and rebirth. The songs are quite emotional and the sound is more electronic leaning, so ‘waves’ felt like the perfect title. It’s also the name of the title track.
I was actually quite depressed at the time of writing most of these songs, but very hopeful. I think that comes across. This debut EP is a kind of journey from hardship and darkness to a place of peace and light on the final track. It feels very cathartic for me listening through it and I hope it does the same for others. And are you pleased with how it turned out?
I really am, actually. If I do say so myself! Ha! It sounds exactly how I envisaged it in my head and I’m very thankful to the producers I collaborated with (Martin Hollis, Gabriel Gifford and Federico Bigonzetti) for helping me bring my vision to life!
I wrote these songs originally alone, at home on my piano, so fleshing them out together electronically, but keeping that organic piano threaded through, was a labour of love.
You are also a very active member in the LGBTQ+ community. Has being a part of such a supportive network allowed you to explore more avenues with your music?
Yes! I think it’s allowed me to be more of my authentic self, to feel more comfortable and confident in owning my nature, in stepping into my power as a creative. I’m not someone who likes to define themselves by their sexuality, but there’s a special sense of empowerment you find in embracing and celebrating who you are, especially when being part of an often marginalised group in society. There’s a real sense of family across LGBTQIA+ people and I love that.
Coronavirus has obviously affected a lot of musician’s careers right now, but what about your plans for the rest of the year?
Well, I was hoping to be developing my live show and doing more gigs, but I guess we will have to wait until the world permits it! Instead, I’m going to be focusing on developing new material, both audio and visual. It’s really important to me that I stay very considered in what I choose to put out into the world. I want to evolve as an artist and take things down a more experimental, weirder, avant-garde kinda route. So I’ll be doing lots of songwriting, exploring and keeping my ears to the ground for new and interesting collaborators across the arts.
And finally, what would be your dream ambition as an artist?
Well, I have a few. My dream ambitions as an artist would be to creatively direct and release a visual album, to play on Jools Holland and win The Mercury prize. (And maybe earn some money along the way!). So not very ambitious at all, right?
KYRI's new EP 'Waves' is available to stream and download now. Listen to it below.