We sat down with award winning singer-songwriter Lindsay Kay about her new single “Through the Phone”, available on all streaming platforms. Lindsay has taken her music across the globe from Calgary, Alberta to Los Angeles, California, and is now located in Paris, France. Check out our conversation below where Lindsay Kay goes in depth about her sound, musical influences and more.
How excited are you to release your new single?
Lindsay Kay (LK): I’m very excited! And, of course, a little nervous too. Releasing new work is always very vulnerable, even when the work itself isn’t especially vulnerable. But in this case it is, so it’s a double-whammy!
When people listen to your music, what are you hoping they get out of it?
LK: I hope they can hear their own experiences mirrored back at them in some way. There’s no better, more cathartic feeling than hearing a song and feeling like it was written especially for you. I want my listeners to feel understood.
How would you describe the sound of your music?
LK: I think my music has a gentleness to it. I have often said I strive for “depth through simplicity” in my sound, and I hope that comes through. In a more concrete way, it’s largely based in acoustic instrumentation and there is somewhat of a jazz influence there after many years of studying jazz formally. I love upright bass, and I tend towards 7th chords often which is where you hear the jazz influence coming in. The emphasis is always on the vocals and the lyrics, everything else works to support that.
Who would you say are some of your musical influences?
LK: As a kid, my parents’ taste in music influenced me a lot. It was Elton John, The Eagles, The Beatles, Toni Braxton, Rod Stewart in the car. A great place to start! As I got older, I loved all of the same pop music the kids my age loved: Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, etc. I still love and listen to a lot of pop music, like Harry Styles, Lizzo, Rosalía, and Beyonce. Solange and Frank Ocean have both been important artists to me. I studied jazz composition in college and was definitely extremely influenced by a ton of both “classic” jazz artists like Miles Davis and Coltrane and Chet Baker and Monk, and also contemporary jazz musicians like Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, and many more. But the musicians who have really influenced me most profoundly as a songwriter and who I strive to be more like myself are probably Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Sufjan Stevens.
Did you always know that music was something you wanted to pursue?
LK: Yes! I was very lucky to always have that knowing. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?Oh gosh, I don’t know… This is a very, very weird time in the music industry in my opinion. I don’t feel altogether positively about how things are right now with streaming and metrics and social media. I don’t mean to sound out of touch or resistant to change, but it’s something I’m struggling with a lot… I suppose becoming extremely well-acquainted with rejection and small failures is important, though easier said than done. Sometimes I feel like a huge part of my job is just dusting myself off and getting back up and doing it all again. I would also urge aspiring musicians to resist the pressure to designate all of your time and attention to getting likes, clicks, followers, higher streaming numbers, etc. These things, unfortunately, have become extremely important to an artist’s “success,” but I feel it is essential to still find ways to protect your energy so that your actual creative practice and the work itself doesn’t suffer.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
LK: I love singing my song “Too” live. It always feels true!
Can you describe your creative process when you’re writing new music?
LK: When I’m in “writing mode” working on new songs or trying to write an album, I have a pretty strict writing routine. Sadly, I’ve found over the years that if I don’t implement that structure, I don’t write. I’m quite resistant to writing because it is very very hard work! So I force myself to sit down to write every day at about 10 am, take a lunch break at noon, and write again from 12:30 to 2 pm. I do this 6 days per week, without exception, and I never write any shorter or longer. When the alarm goes off, I set down the pen and go about my day. It seems a bit crazy, and maybe it is, but after a lot of trial and error I’ve found that this is the process that works for me. Of course I don’t do it all the time, just for a stretch of a few months per year typically, when writing is the priority.
What has been the best advice someone has given you about music?
LK: I feel like a lot of the advice I’ve been given about music hasn’t really been right for me. No piece of advice within the arts is one-size fits all, and I’ve definitely had to find my own way, and am still finding it. That said, a lot of the teachers I’ve had over the years have given me invaluable techniques to protect my voice and treat my body like an athlete would, which when you are in the thick of recording or performing is essential and has really saved me time and time again. Vocal warm ups and cool downs are a big part of my practice, and, knock-on-wood, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any vocal health issues.
Which musician would you like to collaborate with in the future?
LK: James Blake or St. Vincent would be a thrill!
Stream “Through the Phone” here
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