‘You know how it is,’ she says. ‘One day you’re singing outside Tescos in the rain and the next day you are touring the UK and Europe with Chris de Burgh and Mick Hucknall. Isn’t that how it happens for everybody?’ The unforced, self deprecating smile says it all. She knows this is not how it happens for everybody. Perhaps even anybody, other than Kristyna Myles.
Not many more make the transition from high street busker to international singer-songwriter sensation with a multiple album deal in the back pocket of their jeans. ‘I loved busking,’ shesays now. ‘In a strange way it is the purest form of music. ‘You just play and the people that like it think about throwing some money inyour guitar case or whatever and how much.
You can see them going through their pockets: 5p, 20p, 50p, a pound…wow!… a handful of change. If they don’tlike you, then they walk-on by’ she shrugs.‘I woke up one morning and decided that I had to [go busking]. I was given a talent, I’m from a musical family and I was studying for a music degree so it madeperfect sense. I play the piano but that is not what you’d call a busking instrument so my friend Ben [Williams] played guitar and I sang.’
And then there is a pause. ‘Sometimes I carried the amp,’ she smiles.‘On a very good day we could make about £100 between us but it was neveranything to do with the money, it was the buzz and the crowds we attracted. Whatever I achieve, it will have to be incredible to beat the buzz I got when onelady threw a fiver in the guitar case because she’d heard a song I’d written and it moved her to tears.
That’s when I knew this was for me.’Her parents fled from Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring in 1968 andsettled in the UK and like a moth to a flame Kristyna was drawn to Manchester. ‘It’s a music city,’ she says. The people love music and if they like what you aretrying to do they’ll support you all the way. I love living here and have never once thought about leaving. In 2005 she was named Busker Of The Year by BBC Radio 5 Live. She has since performed on BBC television and radio, recorded at Abbey Road studios andplayed dates across Europe.
Her self-written début album called Pinch Me Quick’, will be out in 2013 and has been produced by internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning producer Ken Nelson who has worked with Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy and Paolo Nutini. ‘I was thrilled to be working with him,’ she says now. ‘We clicked straight away and it is exactly how I wanted it.’‘It might seem as though it has happened really fast to everybody else but it has taken years to get to this stage. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the journey (a compilation album, ‘Songbird 2008′ , featured one of her songs alongside tracks from Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu) but I’ve not really started yet. You do a lot of covers when you’re busking but I’ve written songs that I want to be heard.’
Citing influences as diverse as Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill, she describes hermusic as ‘soul and pop with a bit of jazz thrown in. It is all the music I was listening to really.’ ‘Wouldn’t Change A Thing’, a stand out track on the album was written on the same day she first met co-songwriter Stefan Litrownik in Los Angeles and it has that “LA sunshine vibe”.
It’s about being with somebody amazing and how you accept them, flaws and all.‘When I wrote “I’m Not Going Back” (with another co-writer, Tamra Keenan) it was about that feeling that you sometimes get. You know what you want to doand you get a break, there’s a glimmer of hope but then it’s taken from you andyou start to doubt yourself. This song is about me saying that I don’t want to goback to a life when I’m not writing and performing music. Either on the street or in the studio.
‘The difference between playing on Market Street in Manchester and supporting Mick Hucknall is that when you are on your own you can see the whites of their eyes, there are no lights to blind you. It is the best education a musician can have. There is no place to hide. But I’ve graduated and when I’m on stage, I come alive. I was born to do this.
The first single from the album is called “I’m Not Going Back” is available now from iTunes, Amazon MP3 and to stream on Spotify.
Kristyna’s album called ‘Pinch Me Quick’ will be released on Decca.