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WPGM Commentary: Kyra On The Making Of Her Debut EP ‘Xanadu’

My name is Kyra and I’m an artist, mother, singer and songwriter from West London.

I began working on my debut EP Xanadu five years ago with nothing but an idea and an obsession with the somewhat obscure movie of the same name. The creative process has been a journey not only musically but personally. Little did I know it would be the catalyst for such a personal metamorphosis.

When I was around five my aunties introduced me to ‘Xanadu’. It’s based on Greek mythology and the nine ethereal muses who come to Earth to inspire mortals. One of the muses falls in forbidden love with a human and begs her father Zeus to stay on Earth.

I was so captivated by this concept of alternate realms and women being divine muses. I kept hearing the whispers to explore this concept so I fully immersed myself in it for this body of work.

I had a couple of sessions scheduled in with Youngr. He had just been sent some fancy synth gizmo and I’d been chewing his head off about ‘Xanadu’ and all things galactic and otherworldly. He started mucking about on the synth and played this electronic loop that sounded like a space ship. About 30 minutes later we had written “Higher Ground”.

I’ve got the voice notes on my phone from the session and it still gives me chills. We barely remember writing the chords and melody. We both say to this day that we were merely vessels and we channeled from a higher source.

‘Xanadu’ means an idealised place of idyllic magnificence and beauty and was actually a real life province. English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote about ‘Xanadu’ in his work, ‘Kubla Khan, Or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment’, and we did a take reciting it and loved it so much we kept it in. Everything we recorded on that day stayed as it is. It would serve as a very important marker for the rest of the EP.

Around the same time, I reconnected with The Garden and was blown away by his music. He creates this genre defying electronic, future sound that feels new but rooted in classic musicianship. On our first session together we wrote “Cause & Cure“.

Again it felt like magic; melodies and lyrics seemed to write themselves. We weren’t trying to follow formulaic structures or traditional song trends. We were just flowing – it was pretty special. The Garden was instrumental to this body of work, I’m so grateful for him in my life.

I’m a visual person, so I communicated how I wanted the music to feel by creating an aesthetic reference. I curated a mood board of galaxies, black Icelandic sand and Grecian Gods. We experimented, panning my falsetto vocals for an ethereal feel. I can paint a picture in my mind when I listen to the layered textures of sounds and the depth of the synths.

During the making of the EP I became a Mother. “Stampede” is definitely an ode to my Son. He crashed into my world and gave me a renewed perspective on life. Post partum I went through a period of falling out of love with myself, but through the serendipity of my music arrived back home. It’s as if I wrote these songs before I knew I needed them.

Through the process of making this music I found my calling. Like the muses before me, I truly embraced my divine femininity and arrived at my idyllic beauty, my ‘Xanadu’. I hope this record can do the same for you.

Listen to Xanadu below!

Words by Kyra // Follow her on Twitter + Instagram

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