Kristyna Myles’ story is one that is getting more and more common in the current state of the music industry… Although whether that is ultimately for better or worse is hard to say… (Musically, definitely for the better, but it certainly doesn’t make artists’ lives any easier.) Half a decade ago Kristyna was signed with a major label, destined to live out a five album deal. However, after said label failed to do much of anything for her, she decided that she would reconsider doing everything on her own. This March Kristyna Myles released her sophomore album, Paint a Brighter Day, which was funded by a PledgeMusic campaign. The collection tells 11 classically soulful tales about why you shouldn’t let life get you down. Although, it’s ultimately a pop record courtesy of a singer/songwriter, it also contains delightfully competent gospel and jazz elements. Just last week Kristyna released her latest single, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and she also recently took some time to tell me about her musical journey.
Izzy Cihak: First of all, thank you so much for not only taking the time to chat, but for sending me a CD copy of Paint a Brighter Day (and a super sweet note). I super appreciate CD copies, considering I’m still yet to convert to devices that play digital music.
Kristyna Myles: My pleasure! 🙂
Izzy: So your career as a “professional musician” has been going strong for more than a decade now and you’ve achieved quite a lot, although a lot of the outlets that you’ve championed are largely unfamiliar to those of us in the states. Not to ask a huge question, but what have been the highlights of your career so far?
Kristyna: I’ve been blessed with some fantastic experiences, opening for Nile Rogers and Chic and some other amazing artists, not sure if they’re known in the States – Mick Hucknall from Simply Red, Will Young and Lisa Stansfield. I was nominated for an award which is known in the UK called a MOBO and walked the red carpet for the first time, which was surreal. Another highlight was my song was placed on a compilation album brought out by Universal Records, called Songbird 2008; I was next to Erykah Badu, which was awesome. Playing SXSW was a great experience too.
Izzy: And are there any things that you think are especially important for potential fans to know about you and your process as an artist? You’ve been signed to a major label, but boldly decided to go back to doing things on your own so that your music can be consumed on your own terms.
Kristyna: It’s important to me to be honest in my songs, to write about lessons I’ve learned and hope the listener can connect with the music. It wasn’t an easy process parting company from the label, I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I’m happy to be able to release music independently now.
Izzy: Paint a Brighter Day was recently released in the states. Have you had any particular favorite reactions to it, whether stateside or in Europe or whether from fans, critics, or just friends or family?
Kristyna: It’s been awesome to have great feedback from the album. I asked my supporters which were their favourite songs and the one that got the most votes was “Autumn,” which you probably know is how we say the season after Summer. It’s my favourite time of year, such beautiful colours in nature. I really feel a sense of God’s wonder when walking in the woods, especially at that time of year and I wanted to represent all of that awesomeness in a song.
Izzy: What would you consider to be the most significant influences behind your latest work?
Kristyna: Definitely the transition of becoming an independent artist. “Heaven Knows,” one of the tracks on the album, describes my journey well in that sometimes our lives go in a different direction to which we had planned and although we may not know which way our path is going, Heaven does and that’s my comfort and where I find my strength.
Izzy: Do you currently have a favorite album track? I must admit that I especially love “Halfway.” It sounds like the perfect cross between early Kate Nash and ‘90s R&B.
Kristyna: Really glad you like that one, it’s fun to perform. I wrote it with my Guitarist, Ben Williams. I’d say “Autumn” because I wrote it in a different way to how I’d usually write when on my own. I started with the piano riff and the lyrics and melody followed. I’m proud of all the tracks and grateful I was able to record them through amazing supporters pledging through a crowd funding campaign.
Izzy: Finally, what do you have hoped and planned for the second half of 2015? Any chance of getting to see you in the US? If so, what can be expected of the live experience?
Kristyna: I released my latest single, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” last week, which is all about hope for the future. All profits from sales on iTunes will go to charity Tearfund, who are passionate about putting an end to poverty. Tearfund teams are in Nepal right now, where 5,000 people lost their lives in the Earthquake. There’s still a great need for aid there, so whatever is raised through the single sales would be amazing. I’d love to come back to the States, no plans at the mo but if anyone invites me, I’ll be there! You can expect lots of energy and crowd participation from me performing live! 🙂