Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Kira May, who discusses her new EP, “Health,” and single, “Muscle Memory.” Detailing her creative process, May lets us know what makes her brand of experimental pop unique.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Kira May: I’ve been writing songs in my bedroom since I was 13 years old, and due to extreme performance anxiety that is where they stayed. I took to vocal looping in 2011 and played my first show around that time, after completing a group therapy program focused on Social Anxiety Disorder.
Review Fix: What are your influences?
May: Musically, I’ve been greatly influenced by Björk, wild and hectic sound-makers like Animal Collective and Dan Deacon, Minimalist composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, as well as contemporary composers like Nico Muhly. Conceptually I’m interested in exploring experiences from my own life. My newest body of work is influenced by my relationship to pleasure, over-saturation, panic and depression.
Review Fix: Is there a story behind “Muscle Memory?
May: “Muscle Memory” explores the ways in which painful experiences of the past linger in our bodies, creating reflexes that can be harmful in adult life when the original trauma is no longer a threat. The song looks at interactions with other people in childhood, and again in adulthood, and we learn that the things that hurt us as children have left us hardened as adults.
Review Fix: How has your sound evolved from when you first started singing?
May: I have been an untrained singer for most of my life. I started studying voice two or so years ago with an amazing teacher named Ali Garrison in Toronto, and she has helped me open up my voice in so many ways! I am a much better singer now. I used to write songs on an acoustic guitar that I was not great at playing and found it really limiting. Discovering looping and learning that I could compose and perform songs entirely with my voice was a huge evolution. Now I’m at a stage where I’m finding looping limiting and am transforming how I write and perform my songs yet again. I’m playing with more musicians now, which gives the music a much more expansive sound with way more energy.
Review Fix: What makes your brand of music special?
May: The music that I love to listen to feeds my heart with its sincerity and authenticity while feeding my brain by giving it something exciting that I’ve never heard before in just that way. My goal is to create the kind of music that I want to hear, and to keep myself stimulated and growing. I hope that in this way I can give to others as so many musicians have given to me.
Review Fix: Why do you think people should enjoy it?
May: I don’t know if they should, I just hope that it touches them in some way.
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
May: I would be honoured if it affected them on an emotional–and dare I say spiritual–level. This is how my favourite music makes me feel–it touches me on the deepest, dreamiest level. I would love to pay that forward! I would love to access the deepest parts of people, the part that’s made up of pure love.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2018?
May: I am releasing my debut full-length LP Sense this spring, and so I will be focused on promoting and playing the album. Possibly another video will come out around that time.