Kyla Charter: Qwyn
A minimal and gently haunting R&B cut with soulful vocals.
By Kerry Doole
Kyla Charter - Qwyn (Independent): This singer releases her debut album, Edible Flowers, on April 8, and has only put out one previous single (Doubts), but she has already made a mark on the scene, having lent her voice to the backgrounds of tracks and performances from such artists as July Talk, Alessia Cara, Zaki Ibrahim, Rich Aucoin, Patrick Watson.
It is now time for this soulful artist to shine in the solo spotlight, and this new track confirms she is up for the challenge.
In a press bio, Charter explains the inspiration for the song this way: "My sister Qwyn has been my best friend and co-conspirator since we were fresh out the womb. I started writing this song about 10 years ago when we thought we might lose her. I put the song to bed unfinished until recently when I realised I’ve been mourning her in a different way.
"I think the mark of any healthy long-term relationship is the ability to love a person as they grow and change, and my sister and I have definitely done so. I gave myself space to mourn the loss of the comfort and familiarity of our old ways, and in doing so made way for a love and appreciation of the people we are now. You can also hear some words of wisdom hidden at the end of the song from my auntie Rosemarie Sears."
She adds that "Mary Lou Williams was a huge inspiration for the vocal arrangements in this song. She was an incredible black composer and pianist whose work has truly stood the test of time. I was introduced to Mary Lou through one of my producers, Ben MacDonald of Safe Spaceship."
The tune could best be described as minimal R&B, with a subdued tinge of gospel colouring proceedings. The gently haunting mood and Charter's soulful vocals suggest Charlotte Day Wilson as a reference point, and the charming video is a nice complement. Word is that the album is adventurous in its compositional and sonic scope.
Charter is keen to return to live performance. In early 2020, she opened for Patrick Watson on the European leg of his tour, but that was cut short by Covid, affording Charter the opportunity to devote all her attention to her keenly-awaited upcoming album.
Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat