Behind the voice: Kyler EnglandJuly 9th, 2009
Her soulful voice appears on Roger Shah’s latest single ‘Change Your Mind’, and she’s worked with Cosmic Gate. But that’s not all there is to this American singer/songwriter. Kyler England has a successful solo career outside EDM, radiantly shining upon her and seeing her play a hundred plus shows a year. With a mixture of rock, pop-electronica and a hint of alt-country, she holds the best of both worlds in her hand. With her own style and charisma, Kyler England is making name both in- and outside dance land. With ‘Change Your Mind’ out now on the Magic Island imprint, we’re going to discover this multi-talented vocalist, and see what she’s all about.
Armada: When did you first start singing?
Kyler: “The funny thing is, I can’t remember a moment that I started singing, where before that moment I had never sung. I’ve been singing as long as I can remember and it’s always been my favorite thing to do. Besides eating chocolate!”
Armada: When and how did you notice there was more than just a good ring to it?
Kyler:”I think I always knew I was a good singer. I inherited some musical talent from my parents. My mom had a really beautiful tone and my dad has really good ears and I somehow got lucky and got the best of both worlds from them. Had I gotten my dad’s tone and my mom’s ears I’d be booed at karaoke for sure!”
Armada: What about singing live? Was it a big step to do so?
Kyler:”When I was a little girl I was a gigantic ham. My family tells stories of how I would stand on the hearth with a wooden spoon for a microphone and serenade make believe audiences! In elementary school I sang lead in a few musicals and had solos in choir, I was fearless. Somewhere along the way in middle school I got a little more shy so when I first started playing my original songs it was kinda terrifying. I’ve done thousands of gigs at this point and am pretty comfortable performing but I still get a little nervous before every show. I think it’s good because it gets up the excitement and anticipation.”
Armada: You’re a successful solo artist. How would you describe the music you make?
Kyler:”My solo artist music is in the ‘singer-songwriter’ genre with pop, rock and alt-country influences.”
Armada: It was November 2008 that your ‘Simple Machine’ album was released. Has it been doing well?
Kyler:”Yes, it’s been doing great. A lot of the songs have been featured on TV shows which is great exposure for indie artists like me. And I do a lot of touring and sell quite a few records on the road. I’m really attached to the songs on that record, they mean a lot to me.”
Armada: How did you end up working with Shah and Cosmic Gate? Was there anything in particular that drew you into singing dance records?
Kyler: “Stuart Squires of Indah Mangagement in LA heard of me through a radio DJ who is a fan of mine. Stuart contacted me and ended up connecting me with both Shah and Cosmic Gate and some others that will be released soon. Honestly it was just a serendipitous thing- I hadn’t really thought about singing dance records because I was so busy with my singer-songwriter career. When Stuart contacted me and asked if I’d consider writing and singing on a dance track I figured why not? I’ll try anything once! I ended up really having a blast writing the lyrics and melody to ‘Change Your Mind’ for Shah and so was open to doing more. ‘Flatline’ which I did with Cosmic Gate came second.”
Armada: ‘Change Your Mind’ is about to be released. How did the track come to life?
Kyler: “Shah sent me an MP3 of the track and I burned it on a CD and listened to it while driving around LA. I remember sitting on the 405 highway in traffic and singing my little heart out to the track! Usually when I write songs I’m sitting with my acoustic guitar so that was a really interesting thing for me, to write to an almost finished track. The chorus melody came first. I knew I wanted something soaring and ethereal for the chorus and for the verse I wanted something more rhythmic and hooky to contrast with it. As far as the lyric goes, the music seemed to imply some kind of conflict or heartbreak and it also felt sexy and mysterious so I tried to capture that in the lyric. The chorus lyric “when you change your mind, you know where to find me” just poured out of me once I had the melody, they seemed to go hand in hand. I don’t remember a whole lot more of how it went down, it’s a blur by now. Mainly I just remember singing in my car and recording it into my phone!”
Armada: Will there be any more collabs with Shah?
Kyler: “We don’t have anything planned just yet but I have no doubt we’ll work together again. I’m game!”
Armada: What if you’d have to make a choice between EDM and non-EDM? Or would that be an impossible choice?
Kyler: “Um, don’t laugh, but what’s EDM? :) I’m guessing Electronic Dance Music? Great music is great music and I wouldn’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. As far as I’m concerned, the dance collaborations I do aren’t so different from the songs from my solo albums. ‘Change Your Mind’ has a strong enough melody and lyric that it could stand alone being stripped down and performed just vocal and acoustic guitar. (in fact, I should try that!) I just want to keep writing the best songs that I can and if that’s in the dance genre and people appreciate and enjoy them then I’m all for it!”
Armada: What makes a vocal a good vocal in your eyes?
Kyler: “There has to be emotion and passion in a vocal. I strive to take the listener on a journey over the course of the song. Dynamics and contrast are key in a killer vocal. And also turning your brain off and just singing from your heart. You have to get out of the way and let the song lead you.”
Armada: Got any vocal heroes yourself?
Kyler: “Patty Griffin, Sarah McLachlan, Bono, David Gray, Joni Mitchell, Ben Gibbard, Imogen Heap, and I grew up on Michael Jackson. Been listening to him and watching his music videos all week, still can’t believe he’s gone. No one could sing or dance like MJ. It was a very sad day when the world lost him.”
Armada: Are you still dreaming of any special collabs in EDM?
Kyler: “I’m a kid in a candy shop, I’m so new to the dance world! I have some things in the works but don’t want to jinx them so am going to keep mum for now, but suffice it to say that I’m excited to continue collaborating!”
Armada: Any exciting stuff coming up in the near future?
Kyler:”In addition to dance and my solo music, I’m also in a band called The Rescues and things are really heating up for us right now. We’ve had lots of great exposure with our songs on TV including 4 songs on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ this season. On July 23rd we have a big show in LA at the Troubadour and then an east coast tour in late August. Between that and a tour in July for my solo stuff, this is shaping up to be a very busy summer. I love what I do so I figure why not do a lot of it. As long as I’m writing and singing I’m a happy camper!”
More info on Kyler England, check Kyler’s website.