Kheyra Talks Monotony In The Music Industry, Opening For Jhene Aiko and Her New Album "Take Flight"

On a Saturday morning not too long ago, I was on a Soundcloud binge and stumbled across the soothing voice of musical sensation, Kheyra. I loved her new album, Take Flight so much that I listened to it on repeat as I wrote my blog posts for the week. Kheyra has the type of voice that gives you hope about today's music. I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Kheyra about her inspiration for her career:

1. You have such a powerful and soulful voice. What first inspired you to start a career in music?
Why, thank you! My journey with music started around the age of 4 - when I first started singing. I knew right away that singing was something that I absolutely loved. When I got a little bit older, however, I found that singing wasn’t just something that I loved doing: it was both my passion and my purpose. In my mind, my goal wasn’t necessarily to start a career in music, it was to continue touching others and inspiring others with this gift that I knew I had. And if genuinely sharing my gifts with others turns into full-blown career for me, well that’s simply an added bonus!

2. What is your proudest musical accomplishment thus far?
Since I first started singing, I’ve had some absolutely amazing experiences. I’ve also had the opportunity to perform for some amazing and wonderful people. I’ve won my fair share of awards and whatnot, which is nice. However, in all honesty, my proudest musical accomplishment isn’t an award that I’ve received or a major goal that I’ve accomplished. It’s actually the combination of the small messages I receive of people telling me how much my music inspires them, how one of my songs helped them get through a rough day or a rough patch in life, and how--because I am chasing my dreams--I have inspired them to not give up on their own personal dreams in life. The combination of all of these small moments equals my proudest musical accomplishment thus far.
3. How did you come across the opportunity to open for Jhene Aiko?
Opening up for Jhene was a great experience! While I was in college, she came to my university to do a show. Some of the people who were organizing that event were familiar with my music, and they knew I performed a lot on campus. They reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in being one of the opening acts; I was thrilled! It was a great show, and there were a lot of people there. That was actually the first time I had performed one of my original songs for an audience that size.

4. As an artist, I am sure that there are several influences that can shape who you are. When did you finally give yourself permission to be true to yourself and your music?
Let me start off by saying that this is a great question, and it’s really making me think. I guess my answer is “not too long ago.” I was actually in my car, and I found myself wanting to literally turn off the radio because there was nothing that sparked my interest.This was while I was in the midst of completing my album Take Flight. It seemed like all of the songs were the same. They all had the same message, the same feeling, and - for the most part - even the same beat. There was no pure, unaltered emotion in the music like there used to be. The lyrics didn’t inspire me or make me think. I literally felt like cutting off the radio and never turning it back on again. As I turned the radio off, disappointed in what I was hearing, I was reminded of something that I had once heard: “If there’s something that you wish existed that has not yet been created, it’s your responsibility to create it.” At that moment, I realized that it was my responsibility to create the music that I so desired to hear. And I knew that if I desired it, then I probably wasn’t the only one.

5. Where is your favorite location to write lyrics?
I don’t really have a favorite location to write my lyrics. My mind is constantly coming up with different melodies and lyrics no matter where I am: on the train, on a bus, in my bed, in the kitchen, walking down the sidewalk, etc. I could be anywhere and start hearing melodies and lyrics for a new song. That’s why I always make sure to keep a notebook and a pen with me at all times. When you’re a singer who writes, I’ve found that you’ve got to be prepared all the times!

6.What song on your newest album would you suggest to a first time listener?
For a first time listener, I would probably suggest listening to “If I Had A Penny.” It’s just a really good song for anyone who's looking to get acquainted with my music (and to get an idea of who I am as an artist). It definitely has a bit of a throwback feel (which I absolutely love), and I’m sure you can probably guess where some of my music inspiration comes from just by listening to it. It’s also an inspiring song for anyone who just wants to feel good!

7. Any advice for other up and coming artists?
My advice is to never stop creating what you wish existed in the world, even when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere. There is no one else in the world that has your specific talents and gifts--remember that. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to create the things you wish to create. Remember who you are, and be mindful of who you take advice from: if they’ve never been where you are trying to go, it may be best to let it go in one ear and out the other. Work on your craft every single day. And lastly, remember that what comes easy won’t last, and what lasts won’t come easy.

Make sure to follow Kheyra on her social media and Soundcloud.

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Quirky, Brown Love is a media outlet for quirky, brown millennials. EST 2014.

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