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Interview with Kristyna Myles: November 2006

Kristyna Myles image 2006Street-singer Kristyna set to hit the stages of Europe.
By Chris High.

2006 has been quite a year for singer Kristyna Myles and winning the BBC Radio Five Live Busker Idol competition in 2005 has proved more than its weight in gold. In a little over twelve months, Kristyna – 22 and who hails originally from Broughton Astley in Leicester but who currently lives in West Didsbury, Manchester – has been talent spotted by Chris de Burgh, auditioned for the star at his house in Ireland, recorded with him at Abbey Road studios, appeared before thousands of people in her native midlands and appeared on national radio and television. Not only that, but the former student of Popular Music and Recording at Salford University, Manchester – where she gained a First – has now been invited to join the Irishman on the European leg of his tour.

“This year has been amazing and it has only just sunk in what’s happened, to be honest,” Kristyna said. “I was still busking up until recently, but now I play a few bars and places in Manchester which is better than playing in the cold. I need to keep my feet on the ground though. The music industry is so unpredictable and I simply love singing. Until something happens that prevents me from doing so, I’ll carry on playing the pubs and clubs as always with Ben, my guitarist. I’m happy to keep my options open and learn the ropes as I go along.”

Chris de Burgh and Kristyna Myles at Birmingham NEC November 2006In fact, it was only hours before this interview that Kristyna was told about being invited onto the European leg of the tour and apologised profusely about being late, as she’d just left a rehearsal with her stand in pianist. “Ben’s on holiday in Scotland at the moment, so we needed a few hours together to get the music right before I head off.”
Clearly then this is a sensible girl with a huge talent. Having been in the audience when she took to the stage at Birmingham’s NEC Arena before 6,500 people, it is also clear that she is already highly thought of. “I was really nervous and quite emotional before going on stage to sing Raging Storm with Chris, but the band and his team were terrific. They just calmed me down and encouraged me in every possible way. When I walked out, people were clapping like mad and Chris patted me on the shoulder and smiled. The most I’d ever played in front of before is around 200 people and my family were there too. They were really proud and said afterwards I couldn’t have sung the song any better, which is always good to hear. I’d have hated to have come off thinking I’d not given my best.”

Raging Storm is the song Kristyna recorded with de Burgh for his latest album, The Storyman, at the famous Abbey Road studios in London. “It was in May that I got to the studios and was lucky that I had two days spare before recording the song, because it gave me the chance to get used to the idea. It was an amazing experience singing live in front of a forty-piece orchestra, and with Chris de Burgh, using a microphone that had once been used by The Beatles. Doing the song live like that gives a very different feel to it, rather than sitting in a booth. There’s a lot more emotion that comes through. I’d played working men’s clubs in front of Brass bands before when I was at university, but this was something else again. It was just brilliant and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity.”

Kristyna Myles and CdeB: November 2006So how did Chris de Burgh get in touch? “I was singing a few songs in a recording studio. I saw that Perry Hughes, my manager at Root Music in Manchester, had the phone in his hand. He then told me that Chris had been listening at the other end of the phone and I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, he’d seen me busking in Manchester earlier in the year and had heard I’d won Busker Idol. His head of promotion, Lisa Davies, was interested in me and suggested the duet to Chris. After the phone call, he invited me to his house where we sang together to see that our voices were compatible and then, as they say, the rest is history. Its just unbelievable.”

And what’s he like to work with? “Very professional but also very humble and not at all bigheaded. Here’s a guy who’s seen it and done it all, yet can still find the time to encourage somebody like me who is just starting out. In fact, I can say that about the whole band and his team. They’ve been just so amazing, it’s incredible.”
So how did Kristyna hear about her involvement with the rest of the European tour? “Chris Andrews, Chris de Burgh’s PA, telephoned Perry at five o’clock this evening. It’s just the most fantastic news. I only ever expected to play Birmingham and felt honoured being asked to do that. This is something else all together. I sang for my school in Amsterdam once, but I think this might be a bit different,” she laughed. “I can’t wait to get started. I fly out at one o’clock Friday for a sound check at four. Then the show in Frankfurt starts at eight. Nine dates, six in Germany and one each in Switzerland, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.”

So after such a productive year, what’s next for Kristyna Myles? “I can’t imagine. Music is all I’ve ever wanted to do and this whole experience has just confirmed it for me. I really want to establish myself as a singer-songwriter. At the Busker Idol final, I was put in telephone contact with K T Tunstall, which in itself was excellent as I’m a big fan of hers. She advised that I do my own stuff and avoid doing covers wherever possible. If nothing else, I want to sing and encourage people with my music.”
Having witnessed her performance at the NEC, it is quite clear that Kristyna Myles is more than capable of achieving the highest of her ambitions in the minimum of time and deservedly so. Here, without doubt, is a true star in the making.

This interview is due to appear in whole or in part in other publications.

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Image: webmaster, Steve Bennett and Kristyna Myles - Nov 06

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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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