Young, Fresh and New

1 Jul

I have this thing for being extremely happy when I come across great  underground or unsigned artist. Its been said before that the best music is made during the “grind” time.  I also have this thing for supporting my all my artistic friend’s creative endeavors. So every now and then when I find a moment (sorry Catch) I try to visit my friend Jesse’s blog over at Catch Wreck Music   Jesse is an extremely talented poet and extremely outspoken rapper to say the least (later on that in another post). But it was on his blog that I discovered a super talented and midwest artist worthy of some cross-country attention. 22-year-old  Krysta Rayford, also known as “K.Raydio”  has an amazing voice and a musical buzz going for her in throughout the midwest. After hearing just one of her tracks ( a sample of J Cole’s “In the Morning”)

–I’ve fallen in love with her sound. Her voice is soulful and sweet, giving off a smooth, mellow feel with beautiful lyrics weaved throughout each song.  Check out the quick but informative conversation Beyond The Radar had with the self proclaimed “Daughter of the Midwest.”

You’re fresh into the music game so to speak, and it took you a while to come out publicly with your talent, what held you back?

Ultimately, I was holding myself back. Pursuing music has been my dream since I was a little kid, but I had such debilitating stage fright that I couldn’t bring myself to perform in front of other people on a regular basis until this past year. I sang in musicals in high school, and this may sound strange, but although I was singing in front of an audience, I still didn’t feel as vulnerable because I was “in character.”

When I graduated from college last spring, I felt this huge void in my life and I knew deep down that it was because I was allowing fear to get in the way of giving music a chance in my life.  No one, not even my family, knew how badly I wanted to make this singing/songwriting dream a reality. Now it’s all taking shape, and that’s a beautiful thing.

  What was the turning point in you breaking out and really starting up your music career?

People talk about having that “eureka” moment and I can honestly say that I experienced one of my own. After graduation, I went with three of my close friends to Chicago to see Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae (two of my biggest musical heroines) perform at the Chicago Theater. At this point, I was fresh out of school, unemployed and searching for a sign to help guide me in the right direction. Lena Horne had recently passed away and Erykah Badu covered “Believe In Yourself” which she sang in the film version of The Wiz, one of my favorites. I knew right then and there that I needed to pursue music. That was my sign. I got goosebumps and started crying right then and there – I know the people sitting next to me thought I was crazy. That line “If you believe, within your heart you’ll know/That no one can change the path that you must go” – it spoke directly to my heart.

After the show, my friends and I were all trying how to get back to our hostel at midnight and we ended up running into Janelle Monae and members of the Wondaland Arts Society as they were getting on their tour bus to head to Detroit. We ended up getting to talk to her and being filmed for her website, which was surreal. I went to bed that night with the world’s biggest smile on my face because I knew that it was time to follow my heart.

 Your fan base has grown drastically over a year, is it weird to suddenly have this kind of recognition?

June 3rd marked exactly one year since I decided to make “K.Raydio” happen, so when I look back at all of the amazing things that have happened in one year, it really is crazy. What gets me are the amazing messages that people leave me and who is listening to my music. The Internet gives you so much more exposure than you realize. I’ve had people from Colorado to France who have told me that they’re fans of my music, and that’s amazing. It has also been really cool having growing fan bases in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. And the demographic of people that are feeling my music stretches all over. I have had both teenage boys and elderly women tell me that they love the EP’s. This is so unique and I definitely am not taking it for granted. It’s beautiful and I’m so thankful.

 Tell us about your sound and who’s influenced you most musically?

My sound is very authentic. I grew up in a household where Joni Mitchell and Sting’s voices blended with the sounds of Motown and B.B. King’s guitar. I was exposed to all different genres of music from the moment I was born and that influenced me immensely. My mom was a guitarist and singer for much of her life and my grandfather was a Memphis blues musician so I believe that both of those sides really show in my music. As I grew up, hip-hop became a huge factor in my life as well. Lauryn Hill, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Wonder, and Donny Hathaway all resonate with me. Because of that, I really believe my music appeals to a lot of different people. I’ve heard that it’s “R&B for hip-hop heads” but since I also write my own material, there’s a folksy songwriter element to it as well.

You’ve come out with two EP’s, Significant (Other) Part One and Two. What’s your favorite tracks?

Ooh, tough question. They all have their own significance (no pun intended) in my life, but there really are a couple that stand out. “My Outro” on Part I is the most personal and really sums up my sentiments at the beginning of this journey. It’s like opening my diary to the world. I close out every performance with that. “Protocol” would probably be my favorite on Part II. I think it was my first successful attempt at writing a ballad.

 “Prayin” is your newest single out right? It’s a dope track. Tell us about Charlie Kim and the inspiration for that song.

Thanks! Charlie Kim is not only a very talented artist but also a very good friend of mine. I really admire his drive and definitely think he’s an artist that’s going to “blow up” in the next couple of years. We had been meaning to work together for some time and he sent me the production for “Prayin’” and said “Here’s a collabo that needs to happen. Write your heart away.” We ended up writing it within an hour and then performing it in Madison at Just Bust! (an open mic at the University of Wisconsin), and people loved it. I wrote my verse, he wrote his, and then we worked out the vocal harmonies. We wanted to convey two perspectives within a relationship and when two people aren’t on the same page. It’s all about communication, which is something that everyone can relate to.

What’s up next for 2011?

A lot! I’ll be performing most of July, trying to get my name out there. I have a full-length project that I’m hoping to have out by the end of the summer/early fall. I have a number of collaborations coming forth as well. I’ve been working with a lot of Minnesota artists on both the production and performing sides, so the next few months will be magical. I’m flying out to Denver to shoot the video for “5th Horseman” with Time that we recorded months ago, shooting more videos for tracks on Significant (Other) and trying to just enjoy this rollercoaster ride. It’s all happening very fast, but I love every moment of it.

Describe your music in three words.

Refreshing, honest, soulful.

You can hear more of and support K.Raydio here:

Youtube: www.youtube.com/kraydiotv

Music: www.kraydio.bandcamp.com

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