Hailing from Nashville, Lyra Star is a free-thinking, yoga-loving singer-songwriter who’s taking a big leap with her music this year. One of these leaps has been Star’s recent release of her debut album A Thousand Dreams. Here, Star talks the process and making of her debut album, inspirations, and what’s in store for her future.
Hi Lyra! Thanks for chatting with us today. What was the process of making your debut album, A Thousand Dreams, like?
I enjoyed the process so much because I took my time with each song, and I really like the producer that I worked with. The most exciting part for me was recording the final vocals because when I put on the headphones, I was surrounded by my songs with all of these lush instrumental arrangements. When I write the songs at home, it’s just me and my ukulele, guitar, or keyboard… to hear all of these other parts added in is absolutely magical. I also got the chance to re-work a few of the songs on the piano that I wrote on the guitar originally, which was really inspiring to see how you can change a song. It never has to be fully done, and parts can be added or taken out, tempo changed, phrasing re-worked, etc.
What was the tie that brought this album together for you? What kept you inspired?
I think clicking with the producer kept me inspired because I really loved his vision for each of the songs, and I was always excited to hear each mix. I feel that it’s very important to be on the same page as the person you’re working with in regards to having a vision as far as sound goes for each song and for the album as a whole.
Tell us about your unique vision for your music and how you’ve brought it to life through A Thousand Dreams.
My vision was to create a magical landscape for the listener… each song has its own vibe, which is reflective of the wide variety of music that I’ve listened to throughout my life. I appreciate so many different genres and feel inspired by so many musicians/songwriters. Each song on the album has a special story or voice behind it, and I hope to capture the imagination of each listener… I am a dreamer, and this is the realization of one of my dreams by putting myself out there through my music, which is something I’m so passionate about.
You started your career as a singer-songwriter but playing a bunch of open-mics. Tell us about that journey. How did you keep going?
I vividly remember my first open mic night… I was terrified, my voice was shaking, my body was trembling, and my heart felt like it would beat right out of my chest. I also remember that my friends were there to support me, and that was super empowering. Open mic nights used to be really rough for me, but something told me I needed to keep going… eventually, after playing a lot of them, I found my voice (learned how to sing) and got over my stage fright. I always get a little bit nervous before I play, but my desire to share my songs has always kept me going. I also get inspired by watching other performances, so going out to hear live music frequently as well kept me writing songs and continuing to play, eventually getting to a place where I felt confident enough to begin booking gigs.
What advice would you give to an aspiring singer-songwriter?
If music is your passion, keep going… if it makes you happy and provides any sort of catharsis or healing for you, keep playing no matter what. It is not an easy journey, and I continue to learn every day… I’ve made many mistakes, and I’ve picked myself up over and over again. Everything will have its ups and downs, but if this is what you want to do, follow your path!
This might be a tough question, but if you had to choose, which track from A Thousand Dreams is your favorite?
That is a tough question, but I think “Devil’s Game” is my favorite because it’s so playful and fun… I used to only write sad songs about heartbreak, but I really enjoy it when my imagination comes up with a creative storyline. This was one of those songs for me, and I love the instrumental arrangements that Chris Krotky (the producer) came up with… it also has a number of my talented musician friends playing on the track, and they added their own flare, which I love as well.
Who are some of your musical influences?
There are so many… I love folk music, jazz, electronic, and even classic rock. I’d say some of my main influences would be Tori Amos, Radiohead, Imogen Heap, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Dido, Bon Iver, Joni Mitchell, and Billie Holiday. An eclectic mix, I know… but I feel like they have all had an impact on me in some way. I could name lots of others as well, but that gives you a bit of an idea.
Do you have any touring plans for 2018?
I currently work at a school 30 hours a week and teach 3 yoga classes, so I have no extra time at this point to plan a tour. However, once the school year is over, I really want to put more time and energy into my music. Maybe a tour can happen in the fall or late summer… I’ve never booked one before, but I’m definitely interested in that experience.