Pop is not a dirty word. But through the art of music, KYVA has created a unique sound that defies categorisation. Crafting a delicate balance of alternative pop influenced by the likes of The Cure, Prince and Elliot Smith, KYVA embodies a union of worlds: drawing equally from spheres of Dark Wave and Soul to create something entirely new and sonically beautiful.
KYVA is the solo project of Sydney based artist Kyle Linahan. Born and raised in Sydney’s Northern beaches, Kyle’s desire to share beauty and express himself and his experiences is the driving force behind KYVA. Not one to limit life’s experiences, Kyle recently appeared on the grueling reality TV show, Million Dollar Island, and may have got a little more than he bargained for.
We’re seduced by the velvety sounds of KYVA and we know you will be too!
- Can you tell us more about your journey in the music industry? How did you create KYVA?
KYVA was created through a journey inward. In yearning for connection across diaspora, and a desire to express my intersectionality as a black, queer man who grew up in relative community isolation on the northern beaches of Sydney. I think that's my main driver as an artist and most of my pursuits, the desire to create something lasting, to witness my reflection and watch the ripple effect.
- What inspires you to create music these days?
I still make music for the same reasons and also out of desire to put beautiful things into the world that I like.
In so far as my inspirations, I’d say life events, art, movies, books and nature are big influences. Musically I grew up listening to the music of my parents which ranged from pop like Annie Lennox and Crowded House right through to reggae and soca music of the Caribbean.
My musical style is indie pop I guess, it’s been formed by a desire to create newness by experimenting with sounds from different spectrums ie: Soft soulful vocals laid over the top of hard electronic drums and chorus effected guitars. I like how sounds that might be alien on their own are refreshed and energised in the context of something different.
- Could you share a story or message behind one of your tracks that holds special meaning to you? What do you hope your audience takes away from your music?
Music generally is about connection for me and my music focuses on uniting worlds, acting as a bridge between two otherwise dislocated entities.
I wrote a song called Wide World in response to a terrible hate crime on the queer community in Orlando Florida. It was a way of working through the grief, fear and anger that it caused and an attempt to return to a place of joy where I felt good about the state of the world.
- The pandemic hasn’t been easy on everyone, especially artists. How was it to come out from this period? Are there any changes?
Being an artist has always been fringe but it's especially difficult to make a living through art post pandemic. In truth, I've yoyo'd a fair bit about continuing to persist with making music generally but I always seem to resign to the fact that it's a great privilege to be able to create and no matter how many times I've turned away from it in the past, it finds me again.
- Conversations about AI and its consequences are everywhere recently. Are you seeing it as a support or a threat to your activity as an artist?
I've seen a lot of discourse around AI in the media particularly in reference to the large actors and writers strikes which are ongoing in the US. I'm not personally feeling threatened by AI yet because I think it's a very human thing to want to find a way to express yourself and I can't see that being replicated successfully or AI works eclipsing that of people just yet. Call me an optimist but I think AI could alleviate some societal pressure so that we have more time to devote to the arts.
- Are there any new projects, or directions you're excited to explore in the near future?
None specifically to mention but I'll continue to dream and hope to be afforded the chance to trial my ideas.
- You participated recently in Million Dollar Island. How was it? Tell us more about your experience?
That was definitely an experience! I had worked in television some time ago so thought I'd be fairly familiar with the workings of reality tv. But competing as a contestant was a very different phenomena to my previous work as a presenter.
While living in Paris last year, I thought it would be a fun laugh to send through an application for the show. The experience turned out to be so much more than I had bargained for, and a really challenging test of mental and physical fortitude. Ultimately I came out of the show without any money but felt like the luckiest person for the experience and opportunity to meet such an eclectic and loving bunch of people.