"There's something about your 30's... I started re-thinking what mattered... who I always told myself I was or wasn't... and I noticed so many others my age going through the same thing."
This exploration is the impetus behind Menaker's self-produced EP - 5 songs that revolve around different aspects of identity. The project combines Lia Menaker’s acclaimed soulful, expressive vocals with a unique blend of pop, electronic, and alternative R&B. It explores everything from the unwavering pursuit of one’s purpose, to running away from what makes us whole, to navigating what it means to be human in a digital world, and more.
But despite its relevance, these songs were written well before the COVID19 crisis. The inspiration for I Am Kyrøs came after a temporary change in direction, in which Menaker put her life in the arts on hold to begin working for the government.
“Performing was all I knew,” she says. “So I was in my early 30s, trying to be smart about my life path, yet clinging to dreams and self-perceptions from my 20s. A new identity seemed written in stone and nothing about my life looked like I’d pictured. I was depressed a lot and noticed others going through a similar struggle. So I started thinking, ‘‘How much of our identity is wrapped up in our dreams? Beneath my past, the desires and the storylines, what do I really look like?’”
This turned into an emotional and intellectual exploration, and she turned to music to express it. She began experimenting with new sounds and approaches, writing entirely on a vocal looper, or playing with one sound until it inspired another. As she describes it, nothing about it was conventional.
"The goal with this EP wasn’t to churn out catchy pop hits, or make the listener feel comfortable,” she says. “I wanted to capture the human experience of navigating identity in a really honest way - and in a way that felt authentic to me. So I played with minimalism, space, and a melding of this soulful, classic jazz vocal and vibe with electronic elements and other sort of… eclectic sounds.”
It was during this exploration when Menaker stumbled upon the Ancient Greek concept “kairos” - the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune moment for words or action. Feeling it encompassed her music and evolution perfectly, she was called to the name, and kyrøs was born.
"Before kyrøs, I looked to others to bring my songs to life. But this record represents a rebirth of Lia Menaker. It brought so many more sides of me to the table. Becoming kyrøs was freeing and empowering. It gave me the permission to be more than what I’d always pictured myself as - which is exactly what the album is about.”
Lia Menaker has toured 50+ cities around the U.S and has licensed music to networks such as PBS, MTV, and Netflix for use in their programming. She performs regularly in the Philadelphia area and live streams weekly on Twitch under @liamenaker. I Am Kyrøs will be available on digital platforms June 11.
"...an undiscovered star... with a soulful, haunting voice that shines." - The Jersey Beat