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    Kyaira – “Most interactions are so surface level”

    Kyaira Ware is a 26-year-old creative from Riverdale, IL who lives by the mantra “Love, Light, & Soul”. Growing up, Kyaira was your everyday awkward black girl who preferred the company of her karaoke machine and microphone over people. Instead of playing outside with friends, she would be found singing in her grandmother’s basement, or preparing for another audition. She didn’t know then what the future would hold, but she knew it had to involve using her greatest superpower, her voice. In 2016, Kyaira graduated from Howard University with a science degree and minor in classical voice. After suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, Kyaira finally decided to break away from the comfortability of keeping to herself, and bloom into the confident vocalist that she is today. Her unique powerhouse vocals are well complemented with soothing undertones similar to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Ari Lennox. Her voice is the warm hug you never knew you needed.

    Q&A with S&S

    S&S: What’s your style of music? How do you describe it? I’m still in the process of defining my sound/style of music. But right now I would consider myself somewhere between the realm of Neosoul and R&B. So if Lauryn Hill and H.E.R had a musical baby, it’d be me. I’m also really inspired by the greats like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. Basically, if a Black woman made it, I’ve been influenced by it.

    S&S: Who or what was most instrumental to you when it came to music? I was more on the quiet side growing up, so I was always fascinated by who I could be when I got on the stage. One night I’d be belting the end of “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” by Deborah Cox, and the next day I was channeling my inner superstar with a Beyonce jam. I learned early on that my voice is my superpower. It’s my gift to the world and it’s my purpose to make sure that I give it my all.

    S&S: What drives you creatively? Creatively I’m driven by various sounds, words, ideas, everything! There’s so much beauty in life. Whenever I want to write or sing about something, I just allow myself to feel and give in to the moment. I could be anywhere, my grandma’s couch, outside, eating food, but once I immerse myself in the moment, I feel completely energized and creatively driven. I once wrote an entire song, complete with 3-part harmonies, that was about how sad I was that I didn’t win the lottery that day. Nothing is off limits and everything in life can be an inspiration.

    S&S: How much does your audience influence you and your music selection? My audience definitely influences me and my music selection. R&B is changing so fast now and there are so many new artists on the scene who are completely killing the game. I’ve had people in my network put me on to new music that influenced my own style. For example, since being put on to Jacob Collier, I’ve been obsessed with using a variety of instrumentation in my music and making crazy harmonies and chord progressions.

    S&S: What artists or genres do you listen to when you’re not working?  Ohh that’s a good one. I listen to everything that has some soul in it. I’m a big fan of Lianne La Havas, Victoria Monet, Lucky Daye, and Alex Isley. I also love old-school big band Jazz like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. And of course, you can’t forget the new school female MC’s like Megan the Stallion and Cardi B.

    S&S: Do you have any favorite memories of growing up with your family? My favorite memory growing up was when I was about 10 years old. My parents brought me this purple Bratz karaoke machine that came complete with a bedazzled microphone and a booming speaker. I might have spent the next two years in the attic singing on that thing. I remember Confessions by Usher being my favorite album to karaoke to.

    S&S: Is there anything you would like people to know about you? I’m one of the most authentic, loving people you’ll ever meet. I love deeply and passionately. I care about a variety of causes from global warming to LGBTQIA+ rights to anything concerning Black women. One of my favorite quotes by Dr. King is “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere”. I’ll always be fighting for what’s right.

    S&S: Are there any charities you are working with or excited to tell us about? Yes! Back in June 2020, I co-founded a non-profit, Black Women Benefit. Our mission is to embrace, empower, and invest into Black women. I started this nonprofit with my best friend from Howard University, Courtne Dixon. We were so disgusted with the outcome of the Breonna Taylor and Oluwatoyin cases, we wanted to step up and do something specifically for Black women. Since our founding, we’ve awarded over $3,000 to Black women who are on the ground fighting for our communities. Recently, we also raised $1200 to provide free group therapy to uninsured Black mothers in Baltimore. Check us out on any social media platform, @Black Women Benefit.

    S&S: Are there any questions that you wish people would ask you? Most interactions are so surface level. I wish we, the collective society, could get past this and start asking the deep questions, the questions that make us uncomfortable, make us think, and truly ponder the nuances of life. For example, although I would not consider myself a religious person, I am very much connected to the Divine Spirit and would love to talk more about that and what God means to me. I would also love to talk about my experiences particularly as a Black woman in America. I just crave real conversations and authentic connections with people. It’s hard to get past the surface, but once we do, it’s so rewarding and creatively fulfilling.

    S&S: And on the flip side of that, are there any questions or references you wish people
    would stop asking or using? Here’s the thing. As an artist, you are expected to put on a big smile and entertain at all times. It’s cool sometimes, but other times I don’t want to sing. Singing is a part of my identity but it’s not all of my identity. Sometimes I just want to chill and enjoy the moment. You know?

    S&S: What artist(s) have you been the most excited to work with? I’m still so new to the game and haven’t gotten a chance to do many collaborations. But I do want to shout out Jake Vicious and Michael Lindsay, two producers who I vibe with so well and have helped me create some bangers! Watch out for us!

    S&S: Are there any artists that you dream of working with on a collaboration? So, so many. I’m speaking into existence a future collaboration with H.E.R. She is literally, the Prince of our generation and I would be so blessed to collaborate on anything. Lauryn Hill because….she’s Lauryn Hill. Nuff said. Stevie Wonder!, Victoria Monet, The list goes on.

    S&S What advice would you give to an aspiring artist? Another great question! I would say for me, the most important advice I’ve ever heard is “Get uncomfortable”. Even if you’re naturally talented, there are parts of this industry that will challenge you unlike anything before. Get uncomfortable and do the work. You don’t like posting on social media? Get over it, it could be a big game-changer for your career. You don’t think you’re good enough? Do it anyway because if it’s in your heart, time will tell. You have stage fright? Get on the stage and go crazy. It’s okay to have fears, but don’t let them run the show. You are the driver of this life, so get in the seat and push the gas. OKURT?!

    S&S: What can we look forward to next from you? My next single, “See You”, I am also currently in the studio working on my first E.P. The journey is just beginning, and I am beyond thankful for everyone who has shown love.

    S&S Records, Inc. (and S&S Chicago, Inc.) was established in 2005 by 4-time GRAMMY® nominated producer Steve “Silk” Hurley and global DJ/Producer Shannon “DJ Skip” Syas. Merging Hurley’s worldwide commercial success and Syas’ strong global following, the dance label has become home to numerous musical greats and one of the most respected blogs on the internet.

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