Melbourne-based artist Hayky Kyah is a genre-bending and poetically inclined rapper. Following the release of her debut EP ‘I Thought You Should Hear It From Me’, we asked some essential questions…

What five words define your sound?

Introspective, vulnerable, ethereal, edgy and avant-garde

Tell me something unique about your creative process

I’ve always been drawn to scents. The way that they can trigger memories, or bring on a sentiment of nostalgia even when you can’t pinpoint the moment. I love that you can catch a faint scent of perfume and be reminded of someone who you loved from your childhood. My creative process involves an element of curating space through scent. I make custom scent profiles, mostly Eau de Parfum, but some of them are designed to influence your mood. And I use them to set the space before I start writing or

Which song of yours would you like people to hear first?

‘Earth Angel’. It’s the opening track on my upcoming EP ‘I Thought You Should Hear It From Me’ and it’s super lush, I hope you love it.

What inspired you to make that song?

Honestly, my darkest hours. A lot of turmoil and grief, and having to rise to the occasion often by myself. I developed a lot of habits that were rooted in trauma, like hyper-independence. Which made me a force to be reckoned with, but also didn’t provide me with the skill set I needed to really thrive. So I learnt the art of acceptance. I accepted my circumstance, but took complete responsibility for my fate. In the song, I liken it to growing wings— and after a while “I looked and I found it, found myself surrounded, Earth Angels around me.”

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?

I think my ability to be vulnerable has been one of my biggest assets. In ‘Swan Dive’, I sing about it — “I still don’t know if I can see this through, so I will be see through”. But I think we really see the multiplicity of my vulnerability in this EP. Throughout the project I make bold statements that still yet feel like I open myself up to vulnerability. I make honest statements, that speak to how small I can be. ‘I Thought You Should Hear It From Me’ in its entirety is an invitation to join me in my vulnerability.

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage?

Let’s start with the best. I was doing a set at a venue in Northcote. My best friend was on the lineup too, and my other best friend was doing the backing vocals for my set. For weeks leading up to this performance everything felt like a blurry distant memory, or a dream that I was present in. And when I got on stage, it was the most fluid set I’d ever performed. The whole room disappeared and I was in a complete state of bliss, yet I felt entirely locked in with that audience.

I don’t know that I’ve had a “worst” set of my own. But on one occasion I jumped up to do a song with my friend during her set, and I hadn’t rehearsed with her band. I missed my cue and she had to sing my part until I clocked it. I’ve never wanted to disappear into thin air more than at that moment.

What is your favourite song to perform?

Fun fact — I have never performed any of my latest releases. With that in mind, my favourite song to perform is ‘acoustic dro’. It’s unreleased (sorry) and such a mellow little vibe. I produced it, so sometimes I remake the beat live on stage with my little APC Mini. It’s a good time, every time. I think ‘Sour’ is going to be my favourite to perform from ‘I Thought You Should Hear It From Me’. It’s so raw, it’s not about hitting the perfect note. There’s a certain loose-ness to it that I think I’ll really enjoy while on stage. But let’s find out together, friends.

Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?

‘The limit does not exist!’ In all honesty, there have been so many artists and moments in music that got me in the studio. I’ll never forget being gifted Kanye’s ‘Late Registration’. No skips. And I knew every
word. Nicki Minaj’s ‘Still I Rise’— I still know every word. The nights I spent on my bedroom floor singing ‘Valerie’, which is mostly in my vocal range; and ‘He Can Only Hold Her’, which is absolutely not. Snow Patrol’s ‘Eyes Open’ album was a moment in my life that I hope to never forget. And Lily Allen’s ‘Higher’, the sonics hit me differently on that one, and I still don’t know why. The list is endless and I’m so grateful for the artists who have fought to maintain their authenticity.

What’s the meaning behind your name?

My name is Kyah, both on my birth certificate and in essence. It means ‘new beginnings’, which is why it was gifted to me. Call me vain, but I absolutely love it. The addition of ‘Hayku’ is to honour my love of poetry, which ultimately was the foundation of my artistry. I changed the spelling so that it reads as my name backwards with a ‘u’ in the middle, to symbolise the world around me.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?

I’d love to say ‘Art Direction’ and ‘Branding’, but I do those with my music and for other artists in my life. It’s a packaged deal, I suppose. So, Law. I’m of the belief that Law is Politics, and Politics is Theatre. We protest, or riot, or petition and advocate for change. And what we’re trying to change is the law.

What’s success to you?

I asked my friend Jasmin if they were happy. They told me they were content. That happiness is fleeting, but contentment speaks to their quality of life and is, essentially, a baseline that exists in a positive space. I’ve paraphrased. But I found the sentiment deeply thought provoking. My goal posts are constantly shifting, but right now — I will measure success against whether I can build a life that is steeped in contentment. Maybe tomorrow I’ll decide it’s world domination, and next week it will be something else entirely. But I do know that it will forever entail the capacity to spend time with and on the people that I love. And to make music that speaks to my most honest and vulnerable self.

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?

My mum passed away last year. It’s a never ending nightmare to lose a parent. She’s the only blood family I have in Australia, we were incredibly close and it was the worst period of my life (the understatement of the century). I took four months in France between Paris and Cannes to disassociate for a bit. And then I came home. With absolutely nothing. Not a red cent to my name, I’d let go of everything in my life. I started to rebuild, brick by brick. My direction didn’t change, but my methods did. There’s something oddly empowering about moving through this life knowing that you walk with angels, and that you represent someone who no longer has a voice.

Where can people keep in touch with you?

Instagram and TikTok — @haykukyah
Spotify — Hayku Kyah
You can also drop me love letters — earth_hq@haykukyah.com

  • I’m particularly fond of love letters xoxo

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