Listen Up Music Interview: Kyla La Grange
Kyla La Grange
Some singers don’t sound like you think they would based on what they look like. An instance in point is Kyla La Grange who, judging by the photograph to your right, you would be forgiven for expecting to have a cute girl-band kind of voice.
But, as her debut single, Walk Through Walls , demonstrated last year, the actual vocal output you get is more of a Nashville-flavoured rocky one, with just the right mix of tenderness and raspiness. Overall, La Grange’s sound has hints of Fleetwood Mac and, simultaneously, Belinda Carlisle. At times, it also has an edge to it that would not be out of place on a Garbage record.
La Grange releases her fourth single, Vampire Smile , next week before commencing preparations for her own headline show at Village Underground in May and readying the release of her debut album, which is due out in July.
How did you go about getting your record deal?
It was a very gradual process, really. I just started playing songs when I was at University [she read Philosophy at Pembroke College, Cambridge University] and then I came to London and put some of the stuff I’d recorded on Myspace and messaged other musicians, promoters and anyone who might listen, really. This led me to other people, like other producers and my manager… It was all sort of one step after the other.
Was that gradual process a lengthy one?
Sort of. After I finished University, I moved back to Watford and, by that point, I had already been working on the music for a couple of years. And then when I moved to London it was easier, because I was more focused on things.
Did you feel you had to move to London for the sake of promoting your music career?
I saw it as something I really wanted to do because I love London. So many great musicians and bands are based here. I really wanted to be here so that I could be more involved with that. I think especially when you start out it is really important to be around open-mic nights in pubs and that sort of thing. You can get a feel for what you want to do.
When you are not touring, yourself, do you go to other acts’ gigs in London much ?
Oh yes. Definitely. I love going to see live shows. I feel very spoilt because, touring with Dog Is Dead, I got to see them play live every night, which was just great.
You mentioned your time at University earlier. You’ll be going back to Cambridge next month to do a live show at the Cornerhouse…
Yes. I haven’t really thought about it, yet. It’s a really nice thing to think about, actually. I am sure I will absolutely love it. I will probably take the band on a bit of a tour, take them with me around the town. Cambridge is as much a home to me as Watford or London, so it’ll be great.
Which of your musical contemporaries do you enjoy listening to at the moment?
I’ve already mentioned Dog Is Dead but they really are brilliant. Their new single, Two Devils , is great. I also really like the new Ben Howard stuff.
What’s the story behind the new single, Vampire Smile?
I was 19 and I was in my first year at University and I was [hesitates] crazily obsessed with somebody, who I didn’t tell anyone about. And it drove me mad. And this song came out of that.
Who did you work with on the album?
The producer who did most of the album is Brett Shaw. He has a studio called 123 Studio in Shoreditch. Marky Bates produced Vampire Smile and he did another song on the album as well. I’ve been with my band for quite a while and they are also the musicians on the record. I play them demos and they know how I want them to sound, how I want them to shape up. I have a really nice working relationship with them.
You’ve had quite a lot of love from music blogs. Do you think that blogs are overtaking radio in terms of exposure to new audiences?
I’m not really sure. I personally come across new music more online than otherwise. But that’s just because I don’t get the chance to listen to the radio anymore. Partly because I don’t have the time, I guess. But it’s different for some people. Someone like my brother – he is still an avid radio listener. I think it depends on your age group, your background and things like that.
Are you looking forward to your headlining show in London in May?
Yes! I feel more confident about this one than previous headliner gigs. As time goes by, you get more and more material and you carry on playing with your sound and you become more comfortable in your own skin as a performer, I think. The more time goes on the more ‘at home’ I feel. I will probably be very nervous before the show but I will definitely be looking forward to it.
“Vampire Smile” is out on Chess Club Records on Monday.
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