Kym Larsen is a singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Florida who recently released her self-titled EP. Larsen has been singing since the age of three and plans to record a debut full-length album during the remaining months of 2014. Enjoy our interview with this Florida-based singer/songwriter below.
Could you tell us a bit about your musical background? What inspired you to begin creating music in the first place?
“There’s always been a huge interest there musically; my father was a drummer for a local band in Illinois, my great-grandmother took part in vocal activities regularly, and my grandmother had the desire to be a country singer and played guitar (her shyness kept her from fulfilling that dream). As a child, I always found that my favorite activity was listening to music and pretending I was the artist I sung along to. I can recall around the age of five that I started writing my own songs; when I started school and got a little older I joined the choirs (and took piano lessons) but found that I was more interested vocally than the instrumental side of music. I would say that being intrigued by so many artists I’ve listened to has definitely had a huge impact on why I create.”
What can you tell us about the music scene of Melbourne, FL? Have you performed in various locations around the state of Florida?
“It’s grown a lot. I know of a few locals that enjoy the area and book plenty of shows; it’s just (about) finding the right band to click with. I have been through so many bands here in this area and it’s become discouraging, because we’ll be all ready to go, practicing, and then something happens (from someone not getting along to me not fitting what they want as a lead vocalist, or just plain laziness). I’ve recently joined a band called Cosmic Popcorn, a band that plays party-related music. I have yet to branch out around Florida and perform originals since this area is not always open to original material.”
What life experiences and events inspired the writing and recording of your self-titled EP?
“The first two songs on the album actually were written when I was nineteen years old. I did some revising to the lyrics to help the songs flow better. I had many songs that I had written lyrics for, so I had to find the best ones to start off with for the EP. ‘All I Ever Wanted’ was a song I wrote about my continuous urge to be noticed via my musical (abilities), and that there’s nothing else in this world that could make me feel as good than to know I’ve reached my goal as a household name. ‘Ready For A Landing’ is connected to the first song because the meanings are similar; the first song is about knowing what I want and the second is about knowing that I’m ready for what I want. ‘Private Hell’ was a brand new song as well as ‘Rock N Roll Queen’. I’ve had many struggles in my life, from being bullied through school, having a terrible anxiety disorder, to growing up with an alcoholic; ‘Private Hell’ is all of those situations mixed in to one (song).”
What did it mean to you to win Brevard’s Next Big Thing competition back in 2010?
“That meant a great deal. I wasn’t sure what the outcome of it would be since there were a few talented people in the contest that could have walked away with the title as well. It was the first time I ever sung with a band, since I have always been a karaoke singer (there are karaoke bars everywhere here), and it’s a little tougher with the live band because you have to really click with people to make a band work.”
What can you tell us about the single (‘Rock N Roll Queen’) you recently released through CD Baby?
“This song is my favorite so far because there’s a lot of emotion put in to it. The song came from a poem I wrote about Stevie Nicks. I have been a fan of Nicks since I was sixteen years old and I immediately was in awe of her because she reminded me a lot of myself. I became friends with Gary Hodges, a drummer that she actually played with (as part of Buckingham Nicks) around the same age that I am now. I asked him to play the drums on it (the single) because the song is about his old friend; this gave (the song) its magic touch. It’s my plan to circulate the song in hopes that she may hear it and know how much she means to me.”
What has it been like working with Tim Coons, Founder & CEO of Atlantic Hill Music?
“He was the first producer I ever worked with. I answered an advertisement of his and he chose me and maybe five other people to work with; I was ecstatic. He really knows what he’s doing and I could hand him my lyrics, tell him what I was looking for musically, and he’d pull his guitar out and just come up with these awesome chords. I am no longer working with him but I really do miss his professionalism. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.”
Who are your biggest musical influences? How do the sounds, styles, and textures of these artists/musicians/bands find their way into your own original compositions?
“It all started with David Bowie; I watched “Labyrinth” as a child and ended up completely hooked, constantly playing a few tapes of his. There also was Bette Midler, Annie Lennox, Madonna, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, and Fleetwood Mac. At this point in my life I’m completely influenced by Fleetwood Mac and I believe it shows through with the style I chose for this EP. All the artists that I named are very different and unique and stand in their own category, but when I started recording I already told my producer that Fleetwood Mac was going to be the style I was going for, from the instruments to the all-around production.”
What do the remaining months of 2014 hold in store for Kym Larsen? Do you have any live performances scheduled, or any plans to record new music?
“I’ve teamed up with a producer in Branson, Missouri (Rich Brown of Atlantis Recording). He is a producer that Gary Hodges has been working with for some time and when I was having a hard time finding another producer in my area, Rich took on the role. It’s a bit hard when you’re not in the same state to record, but we’ve been doing quite well actually and I’m learning more about what it means to be “in the pocket” while recording. We plan to have a full-length album (recorded) by the end of the year and I would like to make sure that it’s done just right when it comes to catching the attention of larger labels.”