Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Katya Richardson, who discusses her new EP, “Left From Write,” as well as her origin in music and goals for the future.
Review Fix: How did the project start?
Katya Richardson: This was originally written as part of a larger dance production at The Royal Opera House in London, in collaboration with a choreographer, lighting designer, and animator to visually and sonically recreate the multi-layered experience of a dyslexic. I started working on it in fall of 2018, and over the course of the next few months my choreographer and I exchanged ideas over multiple Skype sessions. After receiving its premiere in 2019, I decided to revisit and remaster the project, featuring my favorite tracks as an EP.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Richardson: Thematically, Left From Write celebrates both the struggles and creative impulses associated with dyslexia, and comments on the issues that arise in a standardized education system. The most challenging aspect was translating dyslexic thought-processes into musical ones. My choreographer, who has dyslexia, explained how she often wore orange- tinted glasses in elementary school. This immediately inspired me to think of the piece as “orange” and play with the idea of focus. In my mind, “orange” embodies a sort of 70’s energy, so my first instinct was to infect the music with a funky, hyperkinetic jazzy vibe – resembled by the tactile percussion, irregular phrases/tangent drum breaks, and the liberated, noodly nature of the saxophone (feat. Michael Blasky). Vocal loops also function to provide moments of clarity or complete alienation, either by locking into a glitchy groove or encircling the stereo space, as if getting lost in one’s inner monologue.
Review Fix: What’s your standout song? How was it written?
Richardson: This album represents my first time combining all of my musical influences, like jazz and electronica, into one. My standout song is probably “III.”cause it best represents those combinations, and I had the most fun writing it! This track is the dance finale, the idea being to convey a sense of arrival and liberation for the piece as a whole. In terms of production, I was particularly influenced by the tactile beats of SOPHIE and how she uses everyday sounds (like opening a soda can) to create unconventional beats. In the track, I opted for various “squish” and crumpling bag sounds instead of cymbals. The saxophone is also a large part of what brings this to life, and I was greatly influenced by Kendrick’s fusing of jazz and hiphop in To Pimp A Butterfly.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2020?
Richardson: Keep writing music and learn ukulele!
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
Richardson: As a storyteller, my most important goal is to move people in a genuine way. While I would like to use this album to encourage more discussions about dyslexia, in the end I always strive to make music that is simply fun. Left From Write embodies exactly that – it is a love letter to being human!
Review Fix: What’s next?
Richardson: I am currently scoring an experimental dance film about plastic pollution and climate change, and I’m excited to release that very soon. In the next year, I plan to start development on a classical album!