Cambridge singer/songwriter Kyan Kuatois quickly drew comparisons to Frank Ocean on the release of his debut EP The Purple Experiment in 2014.
Having taught himself piano when he was younger, he was eventually forced to choose between his three loves; acting, music, and basketball — which he had played at national level. Setting his heart on a career in music he dropped his surname, and his first taste of the spotlight came in 2010 when he was a contestant on Sky 1’s Must Be the Music, where he reached the semi-finals. Following that success, he went on to collaborate with well-known musicians like Duke Dumont and Benga.
The buzz surrounding the artist led to him being signed to Virgin EMI, and his second EP Remote View arrived in 2015. The lead single “Sometimes” epitomized the kind of deeply soulful electronic music that Kyan was creating, but despite being warmly received in the music press he and his label would soon part ways, which led to his next project being self-funded. In 2017, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Nothing Beyond, which he described as a “visual mixtape.” ~ Bekki Bemrose
“From the moment we are born we are each given a label. Girl. Boy. Pink. Blue. With these labels comes a set of preconceptions and rules. My earliest memories are filled with experimentation and expression; wearing my new wellies in bed, dressing up in sparkly clothes and make up, going to school dressed as a superhero. I did whatever made me happy and felt right, as most kids do.
But with time things began to change, from age six I was constantly called a girl because I had long hair, then I got a little older and that changed to ‘coconut’ (black on the outside, white on the inside) because I was academic and that wasn’t considered a trait associated with a black boy.
We live in a world where the label ‘girl’ means that 132 million girls receive little or no education. A world where the word ‘terrorist’ has become synonymous with the word ‘Muslim’. A world where the label ‘gay’ makes you a criminal in over 70 countries.”– Kyan on exploring notions of identity in “Lonely river”
Rebellion pulses beneath the surface of Kyan’s sound, from its raw instrumentation to its experimental orchestral interludes and outros, full of unexpected modulations.
Kyan’s productions have been described as ‘a hazy cloud of Channel Orange meets Purple Rain goodness’ (Notion Mag), from the Radiohead-esque solitude of ‘Neighbours’ and Beatles-like wonder of ‘Lonely River’ to the choral harmonies of ‘Don’t Want To Let Go’.
“The kid’s a genius, I thought he was like a young Mozart”– Nile Rodgers
Kyan is an artist with a limitlessly expressive voice that tremors with emotion at every turn, who’s brutally honest lyrics and arresting videos culminate in an immersive 360 degree cinematic piece of true audio and aesthetic artistry.
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