Pop Culture Classics: May 2022

Pop Culture Classics: May 2022

KYRA GORDON - "SOUL OF A SHOWGIRL" - By Paul Freeman Berkeley, California-based singer-songwriter Kyra Gordon proves on "Soul of a Showgirl," her debut album of original material, that she has plenty of soul, as well as abundant eloquence, a gift for memorable...

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Hi- Res Edition Review: April 22, 2022

Kyra Gordon - Soul of a Showgirl - 2.0 CD review - by Wesley Derbishire What happens when the journey of a young musician has led them from Hollywood to New Orleans to a rural North Carolina commune and onward to Paris? This is the long road that Kyra Gordon took as...

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If you wandered into a Kyra Gordon “House Concert” show, you’d be struck by the powerful vocals, deft touch on the keyboard, and command of the room. Watching her perform original songs with disarmingly personal lyrics, punctuated with spoken tales from her extensive travels, you’d feel the conviction of a singer, songwriter, and storyteller with a firm grasp of her creative voice, an artist who has arrived. It’s how she got there that sets her apart.

Her quest began at age 15, when she left home with dreams of acting in Hollywood.  Disillusionment didn’t come quickly, but amidst the uphill struggle to land even the smallest parts, Kyra eventually came to a discouraging realization. She was striving for something that she didn’t actually want. “I felt stuck there,” says Gordon. “One night, I looked through a bunch of scripts and thought I don’t even like these TV shows.”  Her artistic hunger undiminished, she started exploring new ideas. On a sojourn in New Orleans, a chance encounter produced an invitation to a music festival in North Carolina. There she met members of Zendik Farm, an artist’s commune that evangelized a pure form of artistic expression, a sort of anti-Hollywood.  She jumped at the opportunity and spent a few years with the group.  But at Zendik, in an ironically similar manner to Hollywood, she once again found herself playing a character she didn’t like, from a script that rang false.

Disappointed but undeterred, she returned to LA, where she reunited with friends in a local band. They embraced Kyra’s musical talents and invited her to join them. Music had been a sideline until then, but now it seemed different. “Being in that band and writing their lyrics made me realize that this is what I wanted to do,” says Gordon. She began an odyssey to develop herself as a musician. Landing in places as far-flung Maui and Paris, she performed as a singer and developed the rich, commanding vocals that characterize her current work. In the process, she began hearing her own voice as an artist. “I had been looking for somebody to say, ‘this is the kind of artist you are, this is where you fit,’” she shares. “But it’s just never like that. Those people don’t exist. I started to think, how do I just hear myself again?”

With this realization came a longing for her San Francisco Bay Area home.  Arriving there in 2007, Kyra dedicated herself to her music.  She studied piano at a city college, and enrolled in the California Jazz Conservatory, earning a degree in Jazz Vocal Studies.  She created, produced, and performed ‘Loving Janis,’ a heartfelt tribute to Janis Joplin and Janis Ian, who inspired Kyra as a teenager.  “The renewed focus and new skills laid the groundwork for the natural next phase in Gordon’s artistic journey. Gordon shares, “Recently, I’ve focused on songwriting and putting out my own music.  What’s emerging now is a crystallization of who I am as a performer, songwriter, and an artist, and how I bring this to the world.” She released her debut album, ‘The Soul of a Showgirl’ in 2022, with plans for upcoming albums in the works.

Kyra Gordon, the artist, draws from a diverse set of life experiences. Music is now the vehicle, but the actor is still present. “I see songs as little movies that I create,” exclaims Gordon. “I get to act, sing, play piano, and write. But it’s all in this tasty three-minute experience called a song.” The result is impressive musical virtuosity with a singular voice and vision. Her “House Concert” solo performances are an immersive, impromptu mix of singing, spoken narratives, and keyboard work. It’s an unforgettable style which is gaining popularity. Kyra Gordon has answered the lingering questions about who she is as an artist. As her growing community of fans will tell you, it was worth the wait.