Philadelphia-based artist Lia Menaker, donated all June sales on her Bandcamp to Melanated Social Work to end the stigma around mental health. She has recently released her self-produced debut EP I Am Kyrøs. She spoke with The Fountain about the 7″ in more depth and her plans for the remainder of 2020.

TF: You have a new EP out, what has the reception been like to I Am Kyrøs?

For those who have heard it, the reception has been great, thanks! A lot of people say it reminds them of Portishead with my own jazzy twist or like Bjork meets R&B, or that it feels meditative and/or unique. Which is really fun for me to hear! You spend so much time working on it all, and then you release it with no idea how people will respond, or what it even sounds like to them. So it’s been fun to get that kind of feedback. That being said, it’s a really hard time right now, so I think a lot of people are preoccupied with other things, or… quite honestly just in survival mode. So I think it’s still working its way to people’s ears. I’m expecting the music to keep reaching people as time goes on, and people will hear it whenever they’re ready to hear it.

TF: How would you sum it up in one sentence? 

The album explores identity, the Self, and aspects of what it means to be human and alive, through pop, electronic, and R&B sounds.

TF: Who do you look to and idolise when it comes to influences?

Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse are probably the two biggest influences for me vocally. They both have such rich, bold, unique, authentic voices that just draw you in and hit you in all the right places. I love that I feel their souls in their voices. Production-wise, I’m super inspired by SOHN – his mix of unconventional sounds and often unique song structures with this pure, simple, haunting voice is incredible. It cuts through layers for me… hits real deep. He’s a master at what he does. Bjork and Susanne Sundfor are two other ones.

TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, after this EP release?

I just want to keep releasing as much content as possible. I have a few collaborations going on and oh my gosh, I’m so excited about them! I’m working with a Jazz Funk band in Paris on a new tune, laying down vocals for a rap song and a pop song for two different artists I know, and working with another artist to produce their song. I think people are really hungry to create during this time in isolation, so new collaborations have been an unexpected plus! I also have a couple music videos in the works for two songs on the EP – To Be Human and Stranger. I’m working with dancers/choreographers to create these beautiful interpretations of the songs. They felt like they needed to be explored through movement, and now it’s finally happening, so I’m psyched. Their ideas have been great so far – can’t wait to see how they turn out.