Name: Kyle Kidd
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Recent release: Kyle Kidd's Soothsayer is out via American Dreams.
Recommendations: All About Love by Bell Hooks; Promises featuring the London Symphony Orchestra by Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders
If you enjoyed this interview with Kyle Kidd and would like to find out more about their work or check out more music, visit their official website. They're also on Instagram.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started professionally singing as a child. Some of my early influences were Aretha Franklin, Chaka Kahn, and Grace Jones.
I’m from a musically inclined family and it was always in my house and we were encouraged to experience music outside of the norm that was offered via radio and television.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
Waves of emotion. When listening to music it takes me on a journey of high and low moments, experiencing the abundance of emotions that exist all over the spectrum.
Through this connection to music, I feel a sense of safety in the vulnerability of the creation process. I can express myself fully.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I don’t struggle with creative vision or personal voice, but rather a lack of access to resources that can build out my practice and support my endeavours.
I feel the limitations on resources for artists is the biggest challenge in my development – I often struggle finding the way from vision to fruition.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
Living as a queer, Black, androgynous person, I have always seen the world beyond the binary. These identities have not only influenced my creative expression, but in fact, crafted it.
I seek to amplify and celebrate artists who have been marginalized by oppression and prejudice. The weaponry of hetero-normativity and white supremacy seek to devalue my identity and as a result, I am fervently empowered to speak, to sing, more voraciously.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
The primary idea that drives my art is expression of wholeness.
A deep connection to my ancestors and their vision for the future is at the heart of my contributions to that future. Possibilities are endless when art if fueled by self and wholeness.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
My music is focused on taking the deep cultural influences of particularly Black musical traditions, merging them, morphing them, and creating a synergistic expression beyond genre.
Time is not necessarily linear so each moment is timeless.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
My ancestors and my voice.
In terms of promising strategies, that is ever-evolving; however, for me deep spiritual work is an integral part of my creative process.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
The life of an artist is diverse and dynamic. My morning routines are typical, stretching, brushing my teeth, often a walk through my neighborhood.
However, the day unfolds in infinite ways and I am drawn to different places and people depending on the project that has my focus at the time.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
My debut album, Soothsayer.
I started this creative process by reviewing my journals, my thoughts and steps. It was then founded on reconnecting with people who have comforted and loved me through creation in the past. This combination of self-reflection and looking to the future of my community was the basis for Soothsayer’s content.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
This is actually a timely question for me at this point in my career. To this point, I have done predominantly collaborative performance art with collectives such as Mourning a BLKstar and creators such as Richard Kennedy. With Soothsayer, I stepped out as a solo vocalist, composer, and producer.
I took on all these roles in part to experiment with the diametrically opposite reality. There was of course still collaborative art there, with the incredible list of musicians who are featured on this album. But for the first time, I did not share the vision and drove directly for my dream of what the music could be.
I would not say that I have a preference. Art is so expansive and infinite that these “constellations” can exist together, and I intend to continue variance in how and with whom I create.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I believe that creativity is a response to the worlds around us and the worlds within us. Mine is no exception.
Music is the heartbeat of society. It pulses and moves and connects us in ways we don’t fully understand.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
I describe my premier solo-album as a sonic diary, a longing for salvation, an expression of self-love, a vision of the future. My art, in all its forms, is fundamentally a healing process. With an emphasis on process, my creation unfolds to explore all the big topics you list here and more.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Music is a very scientific expression at its root and science, much like art, is founded in experience and inner knowledge.
I believe that these two fields are both driven by discovery and uncovering mystery.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Creativity is every second we are beathing and being because each of is a creator of our own realities. In that creating way music is not inherently different than making phenomenal coffee.
That being said, the act of performing music, building relationship with audience, and collaborators, that is a magic all of its own. I find great purpose in these types of relationships.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Everything is a flow of energy and vibrations. We, being humanity, do not actually know much about the many intricacies of that energy flow and its power is something beyond any explanation I can offer.
That being said, we are all connected in deep and meaningful ways. It is the potency of our shared knowing that can communicate messages and emotions through music and all art forms.