Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Interview: @KirbyLauryen Has A Story To Tell

Kirby Lauryen is a storyteller. 

A storyteller with an amazing voice. That’s one hell of a combination. And the more you listen, the more you realize, there truly is something special about the Memphis born and Missisippi bred singer/songwriter.

She was first introduced to our pages through TMB contributor EMS, when she stumbled across Kirby’s A Song A Day Series on day 19. As she explains in the interview, she started the year off fresh by committing to writing and sharing a song daily with anyone who was willing to listen. She had a new found hunger and the result was an ambitious idea, but one that has led to her series taking on a life of its own.

There is something to be said about an artist who steps forward with no gimmick or over the top antics. Kirby emerges with just a piano and a story to tell, as she grows musically in front of us with a sound that continues to be captivating. Her words are filled with passion, and her music contains so much raw emotion. Once you hit play, you want more and find yourself wrapped into her world of youtube videos.

I once wrote that sometimes the best part of Kirby’s videos, outside of the music obviously, is the humility in her outro (and sometimes intro) dialogue. You’re drawn in by the music and you stay because of the woman. For such a talented person to be so down to earth is dope.

After a successful EP, The Introduction, Kirby is gearing up for new project due out April 9th, simply titled Risk It All.

Recently, I reached out to Kirby for an interview. We talked about her start with music, her inspiration and more. Check out our conversation after the jump.

So, this is the obvious first question, how long have you been singing?

Kirby: Wow, how long have I been singing? My mother said I use to sing as a baby, but I remember singing around the age of 7. I think that was my first choir stand debut. 

Ok. So, how long have you been playing the piano? And are you self taught or technically trained?

Kirby: I have been playing the piano for a while, but I didnʼt receive technical training ‘til college. My older sister learned to play before me, and a couple years after she started I began taking lessons. I think I was around 7 as well. That was the golden age for me (Laughs)

Do you play any other instruments?

Kirby: Not at the moment. I am strongly considering picking up guitar. I want to get better at piano though. I’m working on it!

How would you explain your sound?

Kirby: I call my sound soultry; it’s soul for the vocals and country for the songwriting.

Ah, very interesting. Prior to your song a day series, you were doing mostly covers it seems. What inspired you to share original songs daily?

Kirby: Hunger, and a need for more out of life. For the past few years prior to A Song A Day, I would always get song ideas but never really finish them. Life has a way of distracting you from your music you know? At the core of it all, Iʼm just hungry and ready to work for what I want – this is just a way for me to show the world that. So this year I started over with a new song, and new sound.

I'd imagine that some days you wake up and say to yourself, 'why did I commit to doing a song a day.' What keeps you and the series going? 

Kirby: Indeed. I think it goes back to hunger – itʼs hard to sleep when youʼre hungry, literally. Like one part of you wants to sleep but the other part just wants something to eat. And figuratively thatʼs how I feel right now. My feelings might want to stop, but the hunger won’t let me. 

I dig that. So, it's hard to not notice all the songs about love and love lost. Do those songs come from personal experiences?

Kirby: Yeah, they do. Some of the scenarios are fresher than others. I catch myself sometimes, I donʼt want to get too lost in the song or give too many details about the person or persons. But yeah they’re usually personal experiences of my own or what I have experienced on the outside looking in.

I hear that. Sometimes I find myself lost in a song because it touches close to home. I appreciate that about the words in your music. So, this question is kind of like what came first, the chicken or the egg. For you, what comes first -- the words or the music/melody? 

Kirby: The Words usually always come first. I love a play-on-words and a good metaphor, thatʼs exciting to me.

So, musically, who inspires you? Who are you listening to?

Kirby: So many people inspire me. I listen to Nina Simone, Ray Charles and a lot of country. Oh and for R&B, I love The Dream and R. Kelly. And alternative pop, I like SBKRT and BEACH HOUSE. By nature I love Hip-Hop though, Southern rap. Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and throw on a little Yo Gotti for the hometown (Laughs) 

We've talked a lot about the music. Let’s mix it up a bit. I always like to throw out some random questions. So, let the randomness begin. You're leaving the house for a month. What three things do you have to bring with you?

Kirby: Oh my God. My phone, because it has music on it. And my hairbrush, and chocolate. That makes me sound really girly but those are the first things that came to mind (Laughs).

The phone is essential (Laughs). Okay, you're stranded on an island with one album, which album is it?

Kirby: OUTKAST STANKONIA. That album changed my life. Or I might bring Speakerboxx/The Love Below, because it’s two disc and that would be more music (Laughs)

Nice way to bend the rules (Laughs). So, you're at dinner with five people from history who are they? And what's the conversation?

Kirby: Wow, good question. First, my grandmother on my father’s side. I never met her and I would have loved for her to just give me that grandmotherly love. I miss what I didn’t get to experience with her. Second, Tupac. I would just want to write with him. I would just listen to Tupac talk. I mean I loved him when I was growing up. Third, Michael Jackson. I know he’s new history but I would love to sit with him and ask him was it worth it? You know, following your dream and sacrificing so much to attain success. Fourth, Ella Fitzgerald. There probably wouldn’t be too much conversation because I would just want her to sing. But if we did talk I would want her to tell me what I could do better. Fifth, I would like to sit with a great writer too, like Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson. People that shaped literature. I like being around people who are smarter than me.

Awesome. So, Kirby, last question … what's next for you?

Kirby: Building my brand. For a long time I would say I am waiting for a deal but not anymore. I am really going full out independent right now; music Videos, touring, finding good-hearted people who want to see the vision come to pass. Wherever there are ears I want to be. 

Music from Kirby Lauryen's Upcoming EP.


  1. Kirby Lauryen's talent outshines many TV Singing Reality Show competitions. Her voice is soulful and you can not only tell it in her voice but through her music. It doesn't just touch your heart, it touches every bit of your soul.

  2. Her music leaves me speechless with the biggest smile imaginable. Her message captivates me and the realness jumps off the screen and I'm pulled into her space and time. Whatever is going on with me....for those 3 to 5 minutes has to take a back seat. ALL EYES ON YOU KIRBY. Thanks4sharing! I pray for you much deserved success. Music, Beauty and Brains! YOU SURE KNOW WHAT TO SAY!