Kristyna: My pleasure, thanks for asking.
Jessica: What inspired you to become a musician? And at what age did you start singing and writing songs?
Kristyna: Music inspires me and makes me function a lot better so for my sheer happiness initially haha! One defining moment was seeing Lauryn Hill sing “Joyful Joyful” in Sister Act 2 and being totally blown away and realizing this is what I want to do all the time. I was always singing around the house, at school, at church ever since I could speak and learned to play piano when I was seven. I wrote songs about my pets and silly things when I was really young, but I’d say I started seriously writing from the age of fourteen.
Jessica: Where do you get the inspiration for your songs? What’s your process for writing lyrics?
Kristyna: Most of my songs are biographical and if they’re not, they’re based on experiences my friends or family have had. I usually write the lyrics along with the melody. Or I’ll think of a great melody or chord progression and fit the lyrics around that. Sometimes there’ll be a few sentences that spark off a great concept and I’ll write around them. There’s no one way!
Jessica: In 2005 you won a BBC Radio 5 Live Busker of the Year award and you’ve also been nominated for a MOBO award as part of the acclaimed gospel act DTWG. Then in 2008 you broke into the UK album chart Top Ten when one of your songs appeared alongside tracks from Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu on the Universal Music TV advertised album Songbird. At this time you were the only unsigned artist to be featured on it. Wow! How did this feel? And how did your song end up on this album?
Kristyna: It was an unbelievable feeling, such a great opportunity! I felt honoured to be next to Erykah Badu on an album and alongside singer/songwriters I admire. The opportunity came about when Universal had heard my song “My Lord,” which I performed and recorded a music video of for BBC Songs of Praise. They loved the track and thought it’d fit in with all the other tracks so I was really pleased.
Jessica: I know you did a duet with Chris de Burgh on a hit song “Raging Storm.” Tell us about your experience working with him on this song.
Kristyna: Man, it was an incredible experience! We recorded the song live at the amazing Abbey Road Studios. I used the same mic as the Beatles had used and stood in the live room with a string orchestra and Chris De Burgh recording the song all together. It’s a great way of capturing the emotion and sentiment of the song rather than recording separately. I had goose-pimples, it sounded amazing! We promoted the single in Germany where I flew to with Chris De Burgh (on his private jet may I add, this man knows how to travel in style!) to perform on TV and radio. It was loads of fun!
Jessica: Currently, you’re working on your debut album with acclaimed, multi-award winning producer Ken Nelson (Cold Play, Badly Drawn Boy, Gomez). How is it coming along and can you share anything else about this album with us?
Kristyna: Its been my lifelong dream to record an album and I couldn’t have wished for a better producer to visualize my songs with. As well as being one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet he has a great ear and knows his stuff. The equipment we used was all amazing gear he’s collected over the years, very old-school, one mic I used was based on a model used by Winston Churchill. He believes the equipment made in the past to record with creates a far superior sound to a lot of the new technology today. I’ve finished recording now so I’m waiting for the album to be mixed and can’t wait to hear it!
Jessica: Who are some musicians you admire and look up to?
Kristyna: Lauryn Hill, her Miseducation of album is one of the best ever made. I love the Soul greats like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder and Jazz singers like Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. I also love India Arie, Sarah Bareilles and Natasha Bedingfield, who write great uplifting and inspirational songs.
Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
Kristyna: I’d love to raise awareness and finance for charities that are doing so much for important causes. It still blows my mind that there are people in the world that don’t have access to drinking water, what’s that about?! A charity close to my heart is Cancer Research as my Dad has Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma a type of cancer that attacks your lymphatic system. It’s not curable but he can live a good life with it because of the treatment he has and it was caught early. Without funding for Cancer Research these treatments may not have been possible, so raising awareness of fantastic charities that are looking for cures is what I want to be involved in. I support http://www.lifeisforeveryone.co.uk/ which is a charity that raises money for specific individuals who need funds to change their life whether that’s due to ill health or misfortune.
Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Kristyna: “Nothing in this life that’s worth having comes easy” – Dr Kelso Scrubs. I love the TV show Scrubs, it’s funny but also tackles issues that everyone deals with and makes you think rather than vegetate in front of the TV. Its stayed with me because it’s so true! If you want to achieve something it takes hard work, defeating obstacles that come your way and carrying on when it gets tough. It does makes victory all the more sweeter however whether it’s achieving a grade A in your exam, losing weight, forgiving someone that’s hurt you in order for your relationship to become stronger, the list goes on…
Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your music?
Kristyna: It might sound cliché, but I really believe you’ve got to pursue your dreams and really encourage you to. I’ve been trying to secure a record deal for five years, and there were loads of times I thought maybe I’m not meant to do this, but thanks to encouragement and support from amazing people around me I stuck at it and will be releasing an album this year. I just want to encourage you to never give up on your dreams.
I’m on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace so add me it’d be great to hear from you. You can keep up to date with my gigs, updates on my album and any news.
You can ‘like’ me at http://www.facebook.com/kristynamylesofficial and follow me at http://www.twitter.com/kristynamyles and add me at http://www.myspace.com/kristynamyles. If you sign up to my mailing list at http://www.kristynamyles.com you can download a free song, and enter a competition to win a mobile phone too!
Jessica: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. Wish you the best of luck with your debut album and everything in the future. I’m looking forward to the album that I’ll definitely be purchasing when it’s released. 🙂
Kristyna: Fantastic! Thanks very much, take care.