The name Kristyna Myles should ring a loud bell to music lovers everywhere, especially when this UK born artist is as talented as she is. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to her latest album, Paint A Brighter Day, and I was blown away by her beautiful voice. So much emotion. Kristyna pulled at my heartstrings in every song, and I highly recommend getting her music. You won’t regret it.
Myles took the time to answer some questions that will allow our readers to get an idea of who she is as an artist and a person. Check out the interview below, right after watching her latest music video, “I’m Getting Rid of This“:
EY: Hi Kristyna. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and when did you realize you wanted to become a singer?
I’m from Leicestershire originally but I’d like to think of myself as an adopted Mancunian having lived there for 13 years. Ever since I could make a sound I loved to sing & once I started to write songs as a teenager I knew I wanted to pursue it professionally.
EY: What was the experience like busking on the streets of Manchester and then going on to win BBC Radio 5 Live’s Busk Idol competition?
I really enjoyed busking in Manchester! There were some tough times, for instance when it was really cold and you were outside singing for hours, which would inevitably affect your voice, but the pros definitely outweighed the cons. On one occasion a lady wrote a note to say how much one of my songs had touched her. We performed Sorrow which is on my first album, perhaps she identified with the words? That was a special moment. I had great company from my mate Ben Williams who played guitar with me and it was great to motivate each other on days when it was cold & rainy. We knew we had to go out to try and earn a living so that notion helped too!
The busking competition ran by BBC Radio 5 Live was a God send! It’s so hard in this industry to get heard as there are so many incredibly talented artists out there that deserve to be making music and using their gift to the world, this competition was a moment to be heard by millions of people listening on national radio & started to open some doors. We all have to carve our own path to get our music noticed and it’s so hard at times but we mustn’t give up, even though you feel like you want to sometimes!
I’m happy to be in the same category as other artists whose aim is to write with integrity and focusing on encouraging people with their music.
EY: Who are some of your biggest influences?
I love artists that write with substance, create beautiful melodies, and have insanely gorgeous voices to listen to. India Arie inspires me lots, her voice is like liquid chocolate and she’s not afraid to write about her struggles and important issues which make you think. ‘I choose‘ is my fav song of hers, it’s about releasing the guilt you have about any past experiences because today is a brand new day, and you can live it to the full, you have the choice to! I love Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Sara Bareilles and in the last couple of years I’ve found Gregory Porter and that’s made me very happy 🙂
EY: Describe your musical style and what separates it from the rest.
I would say my style is a blend of soul, gospel, jazz & pop. My band is incredible and we’ve been performing together for 10 years so that I hope shines through on my albums. There are so many incredibly talented artists making music and utilizing the genres I’m influenced by, and also trying to shine God’s light through their music. So I’m not sure if there is anything that separates me from them. I’m happy to be in the same category as other artists whose aim is to write with integrity and focusing on encouraging people with their music.
EY: What’s the story behind your debut album, “Pinch Me Quick”, in regards to the title and overall concept of the songs?
The songs were an amalgamation of experiences I’d had from the age of 16-26. I called it Pinch Me Quick as it was a line from one of my songs ‘Wouldn’t Change A Thing‘ and I love when artists do that like the album ‘Jagged Little Pill’ by Alanis Morissette, ‘Catching A Tiger’ by Lissie. Also I felt that when I had the opportunity to make an album of my own music funded by a major record label, I couldn’t quite believe it, so it felt like an apt name.
EY: “Paint a Brighter Day” is your second album which was independently released thanks to a campaign on PledgeMusic. Why did you take that route and how has interacting with fans for this project impacted you?
It was a mutual decision with my then record label and myself to part company before Pinch Me Quick was released. They didn’t have any enthusiasm to continue working with me. I was so grateful for the opportunity but I knew if I wanted to release the album we had made I’d need to take the reins and release independently. For ‘Paint A Brighter Day‘ I had no finance to invest into an album so I was looking at how to fund the album and applied for a grant. I wasn’t successful, unfortunately, which was a bit disheartening but I didn’t want to give up just yet. I thought it wouldn’t be possible to raise funds to make an album but I’d heard about crowd funding and specifically PledgeMusic through a talented artist I had the privilege of supporting on tour- Ben Montague. He had successfully raised enough funds through his fans who pledged for exclusive incentives and pre-orders of his album which encouraged me to follow suit to see if that was a possibility with my album.
I had no idea if people would want to pledge but I stepped out in faith and prayed about it, it felt like the right thing to do. I spoke to God and said if you want me to continue making music then this’ll work, if you don’t want me to make music then I know it’s not your plan for me to continue down this route and I’ll accept that. I had 60 days to raise the funds, and amazingly, people wanted to pledge and we were able to make the target! It was such an incredible feeling to have so much support! I’ve absolutely loved interacting with my supporters throughout the campaign. They’re the ones who have wanted me to make the album so I’ve asked for their opinions on next singles, etc. and I’ve loved having their support. I literally couldn’t have made another album without them and I’m very grateful.
EY: Tell us about the album’s first single, “I’m Getting Rid of This”. What inspired the lyrics?
It was initially about a relationship breakdown and as the song developed it became an anthem about taking hold of the clutter in our minds that can hold us captive, like worry, jealousy, resentment, and saying to them- see you later!
EY: What do you hope listeners will take from this album?
I hope listeners will be encouraged by the album and know that we’re not alone through our struggles, we all have difficult times & although we may not know the path our life is going in necessarily, Heaven does, God does & he has a plan & purpose for everyone. I also hope my faith shines through, I’m a Christian and through the ups & downs of being an independent self employed artist I’ve really leant on God.
EY: Have you decided what the next single will be?
With the help of my supporters! A Change Is Gonna Come proved a popular choice.
EY: What’s it like having complete control over your music now, not to mention owning a label?
Freeing and scary at the same time. Freeing in that I can get music out and decide which songs to release. I’m trusting in God loads more now about next steps. It was incredible to be able to make this album through the support from amazing people and I’ll always be super grateful for that opportunity. I’m going to continue to graft and see what doors open! Having a record label is essentially having a pseudonym, Take Note Recordings is me Kristyna Myles.
EY: Any regrets or days you’ve questioned whether you made the right decision?
It was either pledgemusic or not making music, so I definitely made the right choice.
…there’s enough food on this planet to feed everybody so how come people are going hungry and in lots of cases dying because they haven’t got enough food to eat?
EY: How have you evolved as an artist and as a woman since your debut till now?
My faith is stronger and I feel the responsibility more so now of being a good role model in the music industry, whether my music reaches hundreds of people or ends up reaching substantially more. I feel blessed to have opportunities to perform in front of audiences and I want to bring my best and let God shine through everything I do, from my performances and in my songwriting. I’m told vocally my voice has matured and some of the feedback is that this is a better album, I’ll let the listener decide 🙂
EY: Aside from music, you are an avid supporter of charities. Tell us about your work with Tearfund and Centrepoint.
I love to be able to use what opportunities I’m given to talk about amazing causes. With the charity Centrepoint–myself and Ben, my guitarist, went on a busking tour around the UK and in the day-times set up in city centers to busk and all proceeds went to Centrepoint. Centrepoint are an incredible charity who give hope to young homeless people. Once we’d raised the funding goal through pledgemusic for my album, 10% of the funds are going to Centrepoint. Tearfund are another amazing charity who are committed to putting a stop to world poverty and I wanna shout about them as much as possible. Which leads us onto the next question.
EY: What’s the message behind the “IF Song?”
Tearfund were part of a campaign which saw over 100 other charities brought together to get behind the ‘Enough Food If’ campaign. The campaign’s premise was that there’s enough food on this planet to feed everybody so how come people are going hungry and in lots of cases dying because they haven’t got enough food to eat? The campaign was asking for some changes to be made in how the world works so that the poorest people wouldn’t go hungry. The campaign ran at the time of the G8 summit so these issues would be discussed there by the world leaders and addressed hopefully to be changed for good. Some of the changes which the campaign was asking for were to stop the companies/investors who land-grab in the developing world (often to drill for oil) so that local farmers can grow crops to eat. I felt encouraged to write a song about this campaign to make people in my support network aware and to encourage them to get involved. Small steps were made at the G8 Summit in June 2013 but we’ve got a way to go yet to put a stop to the global hunger crisis.
EY: What’s next for you? Any plans for a tour in the states?
I would love to tour the States one day. I’m managing myself at the moment and I’ve not had the time to look into whether that’s something I could physically do as I’ve been focused solely on this album. I would love to though! I really loved playing at SXSW!
EY: Kristyna, thanks so much for taking the time. Please leave a message for your fans and any tips you might have for aspiring singers.
For my supporters, thank you for making my album a reality. I’m so grateful, please get in touch with me on Facebook or twitter, I’d love to hear from you! To aspiring singers, go for it! If you feel it’s what you were made to do it’s never a good time to give up! If you want to drop me a line for any advice please get in touch -not that I have all the answers hey who does?!
That wraps up our interview. Discover more:
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Credits: Kristyna Myles facebook