Catch up with Nashville‐based pop singer‐songwriter Kyle Reynolds and listen to his new single, “Hold You Tighter”, from his upcoming EP.
What got you interested in music?
Kyle Reynolds: I didn't start till I was a junior in high school actually and I started teaching myself covers off of YouTube. My freshman and sophomore years of high school were kind of rough and I made some bad decisions and did some dumb things so I just decided to turn my life around and do something different, that's when I started playing piano and I just fell in love with the way it made me feel. So, after six months of learning covers, I wrote my first song, which probably wasn't very great, but I wrote it and I had this moment where I was like, 'oh my gosh, I can take all these things I think about, I see, and I've felt and put it into a song, this is amazing,' and so I fell in love with it and just really never stopped. I think I was about 17.
I read you learned piano from YouTube videos, what was the first song you learned?
We had a piano at our house and I actually had lessons for a year in seventh grade but I hated it. It was one of those things where, just like a lot of kids that take guitar lessons or piano lessons as a kid, I was just like, this kind of sucks, but I'm going to do it because I'm supposed to. But we had a piano in the house and my sister's boyfriend at the time taught me how to play "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey [laughs] and that was the first song I learned on piano, which is not the easiest song, but that was the first song I ever learned and I guess I had this renewed passion to play when I was a little older.
You said your first song wasn't great, what was it about?
I mean, I guess I was proud of it back then so maybe I shouldn't say that, but it was called "Opposite Direction" and, at one point, that was out for the world to hear but, hopefully, you can't find it anywhere - and if you can, let me know and I'll make sure you can't find it - but it was called "Opposite Direction" and the whole concept and story of the song was, this person is pretty much walking in the opposite direction of everywhere that is healthy for him and good; running away from home and using home as a metaphor of things that are good for him and just running away from everything in life. That's kind of where I felt I was for a bit of my life and I still write about that a bit, in hopefully a more mature and tangible way as a songwriter, but that was the first thing I wrote about, just opposite directions, because I felt that was the way I'd been going for those two or three years of my life and I decided to write a song about that.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
Ryan Tedder is my favorite songwriter ever. He's the frontman of OneRepublic and he is just like, a lot of the hits you hear on the radio are written by him and he is just a genius. I love Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic is a huge influence. Ben Rector, as far as a Nashville guy, I just love everything Ben stands for and his songs are just so honest; I love very honest songwriters who are authentic and Ben is very much that. Andy Grammer I love. A lot of these people are very piano based songwriters and, like I said, I love writing on piano. I'd say, for the most part, Andy Grammer, OneRepublic, The Fray, even John Mayer; I love all that. I write a lot of love songs too, so if you're good at writing love songs I'll probably like you and your music.
How would you describe your own music?
Piano pop singer-songwriter. I just try to write about real things and I understand it's unrealistic expectations for every song you write to tug at your heart and make you feel something but, for the most part, I don't want to just put songs out in the air that just exist; I have high expectations and I want people to feel something and I want to try to change the world with the songs I write and I want to make people think about things and I want to write powerful songs. I try to just figure out a positive message or something that's just honest and real in my music, so I'd say the best way to describe my music - I do have some fun, upbeat songs and I love to write those - is just honest. I try to be authentic and say things that maybe everyone thinks, but not everyone talks about and I think that they're important things to speak up about it.
What was the inspiration for your single, "Hold You Tighter"?
There's a lot of bad things that go on in the world and it almost becomes such a norm that it almost becomes not a bad thing anymore which, to me, is actually sad that that is the case, but that was the main thing. My parents got divorced when I was a freshman in high school and almost all of my friends' parents are divorced and I was looking around and had this moment of, 'this sucks and it's super sad,' and I know it was something that affected me a lot and I feel like we live in this age and time where, as soon as things get difficult or tough, people just look for the quickest exit strategy and they're like, 'oh, this is really inconvenient, how can I escape from this?' instead of facing it. It takes a lot to face things that are uncomfortable and difficult but I also think it's worth it. This works in any relationship, for your girlfriend or boyfriend, but this is more specific for marriage, after you've promised this thing to someone, and I guess I don't know how much credit I have because I'm not married, but I would like to assume that I would think this way and I feel like if people are going through something tough in a marriage, instead of running away from it, if they were to face it and work through it, I think people would be really surprised to see the outcome and what could happen when you just work through things and stick to these problems - unless it's something toxic and you're hurting yourself or the other person's hurting you, whether physically or emotionally - but, for the most part, so many things that people just throw their hands up in the air and walk away from are so very possible to work through.
So, I felt very inspired. I want for someone to listen to this song and think, 'wow, this is a commitment or a promise I made to someone,' whether it's a friendship or whatever, but just not giving up and to, metaphorically, hold the person tighter; if you usually walk one mile, when things get tough, run ten. I really want this song to be an anthem for people to just not give up and I know it sounds corny, but it's something I'm really passionate about that I think people don't really understand or get. I'm not saying it's easy, it's definitely not an easy thing, at all, and I think there are things in society that really contribute to that thought process. Like, obviously I love Instagram and it's a great social media platform, but you look at something and it's exciting or someone's attractive and you're like, 'oh, she's cute,' and then you move on to the next photo and our brains are so triggered to just move on and I really think marriage and love is something so worth fighting for and I wanted to share something to inspire people to feel the same way and work hard through that.
And that's off your upcoming EP, could you tell us more about that?
Yeah, so I'm writing for the new record right now. We don't have an exact release date, but I just have a manager now, which is a new thing, and he's great and he came on board so it's a lot of new stuff, like the single just came out, we're starting to build a team around me, just taking a lot of meetings and talking to a bunch of different people so, right now, we're just looking for the songs. I have a lot of songs that we feel really good about and we're excited, but we're taking our time and just want to do it really right. I'm hoping definitely something will be out this year, but we don't necessarily have an exact release date for the record yet. That's something we're taking slow and I feel totally okay with, because I just want it to be great and whatever I share with you guys and the world and my fans and my mom and dad [laughs] - anyone who can listen - I want it to be super great and I want to feel awesome about it. Unfortunately, I can't give you too much as far as what we're doing with that, but that's the plan for now.
What do you want your fans and listeners to take away from your music when they hear it?
I want people to feel something, hopefully joy. If someone feels hopeless or sad, I want them to find hope and maybe attaching to a lyric or even a melody and just finding hope in that. Whether it's happy, sad, mad, angry, excited, I just want people to feel something. Being able to feel something at all, that's awesome and one of the reasons I love to play music; it's a very difficult career choice, but I feel alive every day I do it and it's a risk in a way. I just hope people feel something, 'cause I feel like that's something we take for granted and it's such an awesome thing - not to be all hippie - but I just want people to feel something and I hope people can think to themselves, 'oh my gosh, I'm not alone,' because that's an awesome feeling. Sometimes we feel alone in our situations, in what we're going through, and to know that someone's going through it alongside you and with you is a very comforting feeling, so I hope people can feel that, too.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
We're just kind of pitching the new single and we have a music video that's coming out soon for it and we don't have an exact date yet, but that's definitely in the works. We're getting ready to release the music video and we're about to play some shows; I might be doing some college tour stuff in the Fall and we're about to get on the road and do stuff like that.