We’re excited to announce that the next artist to be announced as part of Apple Music’s Up Next Local series is none other than KYE.

Apple Music’s Up Next Local series is dedicated to identifying and showcasing rising talent across Australia and New Zealand, hand-picked by Apple Music editors from around the world.

KYE is the next artist to be featured in the local program, seeing her smooth as butters vocals matched with upbeat energy delivering her very own interpretation on the genre: R’n’B soul.

Right now, KYE’s new track ‘Gold‘, featuring Sampa The Great & 18YOMAN is set to be featured across Apple Music playlists including NMDR&B NowNew Fire and New in R&B.

We had the chance to speak to KYE, where we found out what kept her sane throughout the pandemic, how she’s developed her own sound and why she makes music.

What is one thing that has helped keep you going during this global pandemic?
One thing that has kept me sane during the pandemic has been getting to be home with friends and family. Having spent 2019 touring and being away from home for the majority of the year, it was great to get to spend time with my family and reconnect with friends.

Take us through how you developed your music style?
I actually started off making some acoustic, more indie style music. I wrote everything on guitar so, naturally, my sound leaned that way. It was only when I started working with more producers and spending time in the studio that I started developing a more R’n’B/pop sound.

I’ve always been heavily influenced by R’n’B/pop artists though and probably wanted to emulate that sound but didn’t know how to at the time. There’s been a lot of experimenting between what my initial sound was and what it is now. I’ve been through so many genres and stages as an artist – I have some country songs in the archives. I think my sound now is the amalgamation of all the sounds I’ve played with.

What do you see as your secret weapon when it comes to your music?
My musical secret weapon would have to be BVs (backing vocals). Having been a backing vocalist for a number of years, I really got to appreciate the importance of good BVs. There’s honestly nothing that beats a lush wall of vocals. A lot of my music is very backing vocal heavy for that reason.

Tell us about your latest single; how it started, what it’s about, and anything else you’d like to share about it. 
I’d just received a beat pack from 18YOMAN and I remember it was a really beautiful sunny day in Melbourne, in the middle of winter. I’m so affected by the weather, it really influences how I write, so there was something about sitting in the sun, listening to beats and freestyling that created this moment which is now ‘Gold’. I wrote this song about love both romantic and platonic, and how it’s like a sunny day, it radiates and warms you.

I purposefully wrote some of the lyrics to be a bit silly and gooey – like how you feel when you’re falling in love, which I was at the time. I knew I really wanted Sampa to be on it from the minute I wrote it and I texted my manager the demo and actually said “I’m gonna leave space for Sampa in the bridge and I’m gonna ask her”.

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She really transformed this song, I am so humbled that she said yes. The day we went in and tracked vocals is still my favourite day in the studio to date.

What are five attributes you think an artist needs to have in order to have career longevity in this music industry?
I think there’s really one attribute that encompasses them all and that’s tenacity. If you’re tenacious enough you can really do anything. It’s the ability to turn close doors into new opportunities, lack of resources into innovation and not taking no for an answer.

Being in this industry really takes courage, there are no guarantees. You don’t know if a song will hit or miss, it’s hard to anticipate when or why things take off. A friend of mine once said to me that being in music is like feeling your way through a dark room – you just have to keep your arms out and keep walking forward until you find the door.

Why do you make music? What’s your great big ‘why’?
I don’t know if my “why” is that big other than the fact that I just love it – even when I don’t want to and even when it doesn’t love me back. I tried to quit music so many times when I first started and I actually can’t, it just sucks me in every time.

I have sung my way through everything in my life so far, losses, celebrations, heartbreaks, crushes and some really hard times. I think rather than having a reason to make music, music is my reason for everything else.

What’s something that you’re really excited about right now?
I’m really excited that shows are back (in some capacity). Performing is my favourite thing in the world and having shows coming up has me waking up ecstatic lately.

If we gained access to a few songs you have on repeat at the moment, what would we find?
I have been absolutely rinsing Arlo Park’s music, ‘Too Good’ is one of my favourite songs right now. I’ve also definitely been tapping into my inner hot girl lately haha, I’m trying to have a Hot Girl Winter; Megan Thee Stallion is a playlist favourite at the moment. Other than that, it’s always Lianne La Havas, Beyonce and everything in between.

What’s something your fans don’t know about you, but you want to share with them?
I am a serial over-sharer so there’s not much my fans wouldn’t know about me. But something I always love bringing up (because I think it makes me sound cool) is that I was a cheerleader throughout high school and competed on a national level. I can still do some tricks but last time I tried to land a backflip I ended up in hospital.

What does Apple Music’s support through Up Next mean to you?
I don’t think excited even begins to cover how I feel about being Apple Music’s Up Next artist. It feels surreal, it’s so awesome to be recognised for my music and to know that it’s resonating with people. It’s the kind of thing you dream about as an artist so it feels pretty wild.

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Listen to ‘Gold’ by KYE featuring Sampa the Great & 18YOMAN: