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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jazzkatze

Tokyo-born Central Saint Martins graduate Ayumi Sufu, aka Jazzkatze, presents her debut collection at Fashion Scout - and it's good. Illustrations by Gareth A Hopkins, Stéphanie Thieullent and YesGo!

Written by Naomi Law

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, generic but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, pharmacy but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, medicine gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, clinic but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, treatment but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, view gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

YouTube Preview Image

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, drug but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, adiposity gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, information pills performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

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All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

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I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

After being amazed by Masha Ma, illness I had a short break before heading back into the Freemasons Hall to see Jazzkatze’s A/W 2011 collection. I had collected my ticket from Matt only a couple of hours earlier that morning and was eager to see what was on offer, not being familiar with Ayumi Sufu’s designs.

Jazzkatze was founded by Central Saint Martins graduate Ayumi Sufu who began her career working for Vivienne Westwood, Shelley Fox and Bernhard Willhelm. After returning to her native Japan she set up Jazzkatze, influenced by her surroundings whilst growing up; the old and the new, mixtures of traditional and westernisation and the chaos and energy of Tokyo.


Illustrations by YesGo!

Her A/W 2011 collection is named ‘The Name of the Rose’ and is inspired by the intellectual mystery novel of the same name written by Umberto Eco. The novel is said to reflect ‘the paradoxical relationship of existence made by you and your memories’.

Sufu introduced two signature prints in a selection of tones: one featuring scarlet and charcoal roses and another using snow covered ground in shades of grey strewn with blood-splattered roses.


Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

The palette also covered burgundy, nude beige and navy in a wide array of fabrics including sheer mohair knits, satin, chiffon and Melton wool. Tights were beautifully embellished with clusters of pearls, giving cohesion to the eclectic mix of looks.

Hair was woven with electric blue and white strands and swept into futuristic towering piles held in place by tightly wrapped ribbons. Prominent pieces in the collection included a lambskin skirt, a synthetic fur panelled half skirt worn over print trousers, a medieval-inspired hooded dress and a print jumpsuit.

The looks in the collection were diverse and a brave sense of of experimentation was evident Sufu’s wide-ranging field of influences working playfully alongside eachother. Opposing textures and shapes were paired boldly with no fear of eccentricity; her experience gained working with Wilhelm has clearly given her the confidence to have fun with her work.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

She is described in her press release as “undeniably Tokyo, eccentrically London, creatively Antwerp, femininely Paris” which initially sounds like the usual give-or-take blurb you can find on handouts at London Fashion Week, but on reflection I think this is spot on. Sufu is clearly unafraid to take on several diverse ideas and see them through, rather than trying to force them to fuse together and lose the initial inspiration in the process. The collection offered a refreshing and individual aesthetic and I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us next season…!

All photography by Naomi Law

See more of Gareth A Hopkins’ illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

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