If you have not heard Kyle Britton’s Riddle EP, check it out now! Read my review if you need to know some good reasons. Yet, after you read this interview, I think you’ll have the best reason to support this artist: he is a good guy. For music, that shows you how to deal with inner darkness, Britton is a sweet, joyous personality, whose perceptiveness of humanity will leave you in awe. It is no wonder that his album and future is filled with wisdom, while most people look at the cover of Life’s book, he looks at its details.
Diandra: Okay this first question is for me, personally? Have you heard of Jeff Buckley because you are basically his vocal twin?
Kyle: No, actually. I read your review, first of all, and I loved it. Thank you so much! It was really kind. Yeah, I saw you put Jeff Buckley there, and it was the first time I had heard of him. I did not even know who he was when you made the comparison, so, the next day, I went to the record to buy his one studio album and his live from Paris one. I thought he had amazing control over his voice, and it was so tragic how he died and at so young.
Diandra: Well, I am glad I introduced you to your past life, vocal twin.
Diandra: Well the reason I made that association is because you are such an emotive singer, and you have said that you need emotion for music, otherwise its not doing its job? Yet, a lot of people say that music has lost it heart or its soul? Would you agree?
Kyle: You know, I totally agree. A lot of people are writing songs or singles for the masses and a million dollar income, and it can feel like we are putting out cotton candy rather than music. On the radio, it’s all pop-based, really sweet, and about putting your hands up, but I never gravitated towards that music. I go for songs that are based in pure emotion, whether it is pop music or country or anything, as long as there is an emotional connection to the song. Yet, I understand the business side of it, and, I know that people want to make money, its just too bad that there is an exchange.
Diandra: Do you think that people actually like that “cotton candy music” or that they want something better and it is not being offered?
Kyle: You know that is a good question, actually. I think there is still music out there that offers an emotional depth to it or a story that can move you in a way. But, it’s hard to make a splash, in any kind of major digital outlet, because spots are being paid by major record labels to promote “candy music”. Yet, I do think that people like “candy music” because its effortless and simple and you can turn off your mind. There is, still, deeper music being created, but you have to dig for it now.
Diandra: I noticed that people are gravitating to your song Villain, and I wonder if its because its such and emotive, self-deprecating song. It is about resigning to your darkness. You think its popularity is because people feel like villains?
Kyle: I think I was maybe cheating on that one because I was writing the song when I was feeling really down on myself. I kind of was doing a “tongue n’ cheek” version of it because I live in Los Angeles, and you can see a lot of “villains” around here (he laughs) or you see a lot of people not caring about each other. So, when I started playing it in my set and seeing people really respond to it, I realized that everyone wants to get this “villain” part out of themselves. Everyone has this little spot in them where they know they can be a bad person, at times, and Villain is about recognizing that you are not alone in that you have bad qualities. If you do a “tongue n’ cheek” version people receive and kind of enjoy that acknowledgment, and don’t feel so hurt by it. Yeah, we can all be bad, but deep down we are good, and that is the most important thing we have in common.
Diandra: So what was your process in making the dark undertones of the song, Villain, so attractive?
Kyle: It’s interesting. I wanted to make it simple. When you listen to it, its basic guitar. When I started writing it, I was writing poetry and really intricate guitar riffs. Yet, what I have learned in the music industry is to make things easier or simple. So I said, I’m just going to make a real simple song with a nice hook and make it fun but give it a little depth. So I used the lyric to give depth and made this hook and arrangement that was easy to grasp. With the subject matter, I thought it was universal so it was pretty straight-up with no metaphors. It was really me saying this is how I feel.
Diandra: Just from meeting you, I can tell you are a very creative, smart person. So I’m wondering, as an artist and a person, how do you deal with the music industry’s uglier sides and, at times, obsession with image rather than depth?
Kyle: What I’ve learned about being in the big city, because I moved to LA to learn about the music business, is that you have to think about image. Everything is a brand and you need to make it cohesive and you have to put work on it like, the websites and social media. Like it or not, the artist is a brand and you want to make sure you are telling a story. So your songs, nowadays, are like little advertisements for you as an artist. I think, I have grown to appreciate the business aspect and understand that I am playing a role. I do not hate on anyone doing their job. Nowadays, people are not even buying the songs anymore, they are buying you: the artist.
Diandra: Just speaking to you, you seem like such as cheery guy (which he REALLY is!) How do you make sure that the darker sentiments of your songs stay at the music, and you don’t carry them?
Kyle: Yeah, day to day, everyone sees me as a cheerful guy and then they hear my songs and their like, “Wow, you write some really dark stuff.” Whenever I write, I put myself in this self-conscious moment, where I write about everything that is bothering me, and I’m like, “Okay, now its out!”. So I can definitely leave it there, go about my day being happy again, and I can revisit those situations when I go to the piano to hash it out. Yet, I like to walk around happy because I am happy.
Diandra: Well, everyone should walk around being happy like, you.
Kyle: I have to say that I did write happier songs, and initially we were going to do a full album, but when we decided to do an EP it did not fit the mood or story. I started writing a lot of songs about being happy and having hope, when I met my fiancé, which we just got married this weekend.
Diandra: Oh My God! Congratulations. that is Amazing! Now you can’t write sad songs anymore!
Kyle: (he laughs) Yeah, I know right. What am I going to write about now?! When I met her, I kind of wrote Villain as a warning to her. Yet, after I started dating her, my songs became about a brighter future like, having children and the sun in the sky. My songs were not, anymore, about being a dark twenty-something torturing themselves in the big city.
(Message to Kyle Britton’s wife: HE REALLY LOVES YOU! AWWWW! You can hear his love in his voice!)
Diandra: What was your greatest musical experience in terms of love?
Kyle: That is a really good question! I have so many times where music seemed to be instrumentative to a really happy emotion like, you were somewhere an a certain song was playing and you were happy. I think, for me, when I first saw the Civil Wars playing, I was in a really good spot and it changed my life. I heard them play Barton Hollow while I was recording songs for my album, and I said, “I want to speak to people the way that song was speaking to me”.
Diandra: What about growing up in a military family influenced your creative process?
Kyle: It’s interesting because what they try to do in the military is take all individuality, and I am not knocking it down. I was going to go in the military, and I have so much love and respect for them because that is my family. Yet, it was very much about making good followers and being uniform, and when I would see all that, I felt like I really enjoy being different and being an individual. So, I thought, in a way, for them, I had to really enjoy and live up to my freedom to be a creative being and make good music for them to listen to while they are protecting us. They motivated me to do better and do my best like, they do.
Diandra: What was the greatest advice you have ever received?
Kyle: I was going to my first school dance, and my dad said “Kyle, make sure you dance with the girl you brought”, and I took that a few ways. First, I was like, okay don’t go running around the dance floor dancing with every girl in front of her. My dad always taught me loyalty. But then, I thought maybe he means get up and dance with your date, show her a good time, and don’t be so afraid to look silly. And I have been living by those two ideas ever since.
Can I just say, I really like him as a person. He was so kind, smart, and in love with life (his family and music). It feels like a real joy when you meet a good person that is talented too. Sometimes, these qualities do not meet. You hear all the time of an artist not being kind when you meet them in person or to their fans, but speaking to Kyle Britton was like talking to the sweetest, coolest person in the world. He is a superb musician, and the fact that he has a good heart makes me want to pull for him. I hope he conquers the world with his music. Moreover, I feel after his new wife reads this, they will probably get married again (lol). It is absolutely wonderful and hope-filling to hear someone so in love, and know that they have met a kindred spirit to enlighten their music. Congrats to the married couple! Buy the Riddle EP and learn more about Kyle Britton Here.