Murray Kyle has emerged as a highly respected and talented musician in the Australian roots music scene. He is a passionate and poetic songwriter who sings of the hope he has for humanity in these changing times.
He launches his new album Keystone at the Byron Community Centre this week.
Murray, you have become a multi-instrumentalist but what instrument do you most identify as the one which stirs your musical voice?
Well in the last few years I have returned to my first instrument, piano, and am finding the creative inspiration flowing there right now. Piano has the tones to journey into so many different moods and feelings,
and it’s hard to beat pulling the front off an old upright and bathing in the strings!
Tell me all the instruments that you actually play…
I play piano, guitar, yidaki, bansuri, hand percussion, jaw harp, ocarinas, a little violin, and more recently kamalan ngoni, alongside strumming the old vocal chords!
How do you approach songwriting – does the instrument you start on affect the outcome of the song?
I find as a writer that each song has its own journey. Sometimes I begin with a melody in my head and grab whichever instrument feels right. Others come through as rhyming lyrics, and the melody gets created later to carry it along. Most of my songs are inspired by an environmental or social issue or simply exploring a deeper awareness of this wonderful life path we are all walking upon.
What do you look for in a story?
I like to be inspired or moved by a story, and to feel the depth of the person who created it. I look for visual imagery in the words, and some well-crafted humour always lights me up too.
What are the stories that move you most?
Stories that help me to see my view of the world through a new lens, or a new awareness, are particularly magnetic for me. The ones that really touch me contain a reflection of deep respect for the earth and the indigenous spirit that maintains through this time on the planet right now.
What song or movie most recently reduced you to tears…
I just saw an amazing documentary called Home that was deeply touching, and thankfully ended with some positive solutions. I have also been revisiting a good friend’s music recently; her name is Carrie Tree and her album Suddenly Raining travels deep into the waters…
How would you describe your own music?
My music paints pictures of a potential harmonious world, and births awareness into the heart of our interconnectedness. While mixing my new album we decided my genre right now is Shamanic Soul! My music is a story of a journey and a destination, with a little groove along the way.
Have you always felt confident about what you do… do you ever feel the pressure to be more commercial, or more like another artist?
My confidence has grown hand in hand with experience through years or performing, but it hasn’t always been there. Like many singers I can remember anxious moments and stumbles at the microphone, but each one of those is a learning curve that you pick up and carry upon your way.
I try not to pressure myself to be anything that I am not, and I believe that the conscious heart music coming into the world right now will be progressively embraced and appreciated. As for other artists, I do find that I naturally gravitate into different styles by being influenced by people and sounds that I love and admire.
What piece of advice from a musician or mentor has stayed with you?
This also will change – Goenkaji
What advice would you give an up-and-coming musician?
Go into the stream of what makes you come alive, then get out of the way and be played and sung by the world. Do it for the love of life!
What are your aspirations as a singer-songwriter?
I love it when my music reaches people who are lacking a sense of connection in life. Bringing solace and healing into the storms of the human dance, and touching and inspiring people with positivity.
Tell me about this album – did you achieve what you set out to?
Yes! It had been more than three years since my last album release, and this one is much more produced and rich with textures and layers of sound. An amazing learning curve for me too, in recording and producing it all myself.
Mixed by Benjamin Last at Reel Spirit and mastered by Michael Worthington, it is a very local production, and features some of Byron’s most talented musicians, bringing through the feeling of joy and connection that I receive when I am deep inside the music in a live setting.
What should we expect for your Byron show?
A lush evening of sonic harmony to marinate in! I will be joined by Rebekah Ray (vocals), Laura Targett (violin), Walter Piccolruaz (percussion), Shai Shriki (oud), Robbie McIntosh (double bass), and Avishai Barnatan (ney) sculpting the evening into a journey of sound. I will be making use of the beautiful grand piano at the Community Centre, and sharing a few new songs as well. Prepare to be touched and inspired !
Murray Kyle launches Keystone at the Byron Community Centre on Friday. Doors 7PM / 7.30 $20 entry