Marie Jenkins is a songwriter and producer who chose Kyns as her artist name. Her haunting voice is one of the best we discovered in 2020 and ‘The End’ is such an ironic end to the year that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. We already named the songs as the best single of the week on our New Music Sunday and we are thrilled to have a chance to have a more in-depth conversation with multi-talented Kyns.
Congratulations! You just released your second single ‘The End’. You’ve spent years working behind the scenes as an assistant engineer, label intern, songwriter, and session vocalist for producers and artists. Now you live in LA and you are trying to make it as an artist. That must have been quite a journey for you.
Thank you so much! Yeah, here I am years later wondering how I even ended up here in LA at perhaps the most inopportune time given the pandemic, but I have to say that it feels like it all happened like this for a reason. All my behind the scenes knowledge has definitely set me up for more success now that I’m running a one-person-show from my bedroom haha.
2020 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and yet for you, it will be the year that will mark the beginning of your career as a solo artist. Did you need to make a lot of changes to your plans because of everything that’s been happening?
That’s endearing that one might assume I had a plan moving here! Half joking, half serious though, I didn’t exactly know what the plan was. My primary goal in moving here was to find a producer that I really vibed with so I could release my debut songs, and when lockdown happened, I sat down at my DAW and really figured out how to do it myself. So plans changed, but in the best way that I never could have seen coming.
Do you remember the moment the idea for ‘The End’ was born?
It actually grew from an underdeveloped piano ballad from 2019. The idea for the song was originally around the concept of “making your bed and lying in it” but it felt like a shallow diagnosis to what was a greater issue for me. Come 2020, when I was confined to my apartment and forced to face my issues head on, I started to uncover the real reasons why I make my bed so messy to begin with haha. This is when the true song started to take shape, and it evolved to be this indie rock song I didn’t know I had in me.
“When I finally found the root of the damage, it had grown to be a wound I couldn’t bandage.”KYNS – THE END
This line left me breathless. Looking back at the lyrics and the meaning the song has for you, where do you find inspiration to be so brutally honest?
That means a lot, thank you. When I wrote that, I knew that had to be in the opening lines of the song because that one rhyme is enough to make someone go “oh i can relate” and keep listening, or go “nah not for me” and skip it haha. And although I could look at it as a scary thing to admit to anyone listening, I think it’s one of those statements that if even one person can relate, I knew I’d feel less alone in that. And upon release, I’ve felt more connection now, in having people who like the song reach out and tell me, than I’ve had for most of this isolating year.
I got to admit that the titles to your songs ‘Lost’ and ‘The End’ represent 2020 really well. What helped you to stay sane when the whole world went into chaos?
I combat the chaos with new hobbies. I used to say ‘oh, well if I had time, I’d learn how to do this, I’d start cooking, I’d do xyz more’ and this year was the test to see if I really would! And though I have had many lazy days, I also stayed pretty disciplined to my goals list which is the only reason I’m not a total mess right now haha.
You recently moved to LA to follow the dream to be an artist. So many creatives paint LA in very dark colors as there are way too many people who come there having the same dreams but only a few make it. What do you think is the secret sauce to be noticed and push through all the noise in such an overcrowded and extremely competitive market?
I don’t know that I have yet to truly experience LA for what it is, since I moved here at the start of lockdown. But speaking from my experience — kicking off my solo artist career from my bedroom — I think my secret sauce is being completely and blissfully unaware of what everyone else is doing. Truly, if I allow myself to peek at the progress of others and compare myself, I’d lose all my sauce, so to speak. I’m not ahead, I’m not behind, I’m just going at my pace and as long as I’m feeling good, that’s the sauce. And through that, the right people for you will find you.
Maybe it’s silly to talk ‘energies’ like this, but I’d like to believe that keeping one’s head down and just working creates some kind of earnest energy bubble that allows people to gravitate to you, rather than you actively reaching for them. Who knows if I have that, but I certainly see that in others I admire and that’s what makes me follow their journey.
How do you define success in music?
My own slice of success would be the financial stability to make music without working 3 side jobs to pay rent — the hustle! I’ve been fortunate to create a few of my own side jobs I enjoy so maybe I’d even keep up one of them, but ultimately I’d just like to be able to support myself solely from my music. It may not be a big goal like a Grammy, though I’d HAPPILY accept one of those, but it’s a big one for me. Music pays my health insurance? I’m successful.
What is the song that when you hear you say ‘Damn, I Wish I’d written that’.
Oh man, just about every Stevie Wonder song and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel for starters
Music to me is the human experience, recorded. Some songs remind me of where I’ve been, and others inspire me to get me to wherever the hell I’m going.KYNS
What would you wish for 2021?
I hope that on a macro-level, we can all find a way to respect each other and be more compassionate. It will quite literally save lives. And on a micro-level, I hope I can get over my stage fright haha.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your audiences?
I will be releasing an EP as soon as I humanly can. I am toiling away in my little bedroom studio preparing to release a bunch of fun projects. I’m excited to share and appreciate anyone who cares to stick around for it!
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