Sydney soul artist Liyah Knight has certainly made the most of her time in music to date. It's been just over a year since she released her debut single, Mine, and since then she's released her debut EP Nesting, and is back with the conceptual Traveller's Guide.
It's a project that tracks Liyah's growth as a person, and acrosss the six tracks, she talks about love, as well as her personal growth. It's a therapeutic project and offers an insight into Liyah's life. Writing about the EP, Liyah says, "Sonically and visually this project takes the shape of a long hike on an unfamiliar path eventually leading to the ocean; the most powerful and calming force of nature."
Across the project, Liyah gains a better understanding of self, mapping her journey across the six tracks. We spoke to Liyah about Traveller's Guide, as well as the importance of remaining in the moment. Check out the EP below and read on to learn more about Liyah Knight!
Firstly, I wanted to congratulate you on Traveller’s Guide! How have you been feeling since the EP dropped?
Thank you! I have been feeling light and free. It’s been a pretty strange year.
The project is a conceptual one – drawing inspiration from Kelley and Conner’s Emotional Cycle of Change. Can you tell me about the moment you realised you wanted to make a conceptual project, and the meaning behind that decision?
That’s a good question. I think all my art is quite concept-driven, sonically and thematically, because it’s how I make sense of these really intense moments and feelings. You’ve got a bunch of songs accounting all these experiences and along the way you find out how they connect, where they want to go, where you want to go.
I think the Cycle of Change reference came about when we wrote a month’s worth of songs about the same story/feeling and realised I had stuff I needed to work through/on to grow as an artist and person. Then came Riddle and No Strings.
The pandemic changed the way many musicians view their relationship with music – have there been any lessons from the last 18 months that you’re looking to apply in your musical journey going forward?
When you spend a few months having little control over where you can go/what you can do, you learn to find happiness in simply being, which is a super powerful thing.
In terms of applying that to my musical journey, I think I'll try my hand at slowing down time and being more present. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s next in this day and age, but right now I’m sitting on my couch talking to you about Traveller’s Guide.
On that, during the pandemic, were there any hobbies that you picked up as an escape from making music?
I don’t know whether I’d call it an escape, but I thoroughly enjoyed making apple pies and watching Big Mouth. I made a dress one day, which was fun. Tried my hand at painting. I wasn’t that great, but it was fun.
Traveller’s Guide has been described as a “coming of age” project – how do you relate to the person you were when you wrote the songs on Traveller’s Guide, and now those stories have been told, do you have a clearer vision of what your next project will look like?
I’m proud of the woman who wrote Traveller’s Guide. She was brave enough to feel deeply and confident enough to express those emotions in different ways with an array of incredible artists. I think she’s grown from that journey and is ready to write the next chapter with a more mature approach.
I don’t know what the next chapter looks like though, as I feel like I’m currently living in it. At the moment the next project is looking outward. Working through the relationship I hold with myself will always be a huge part of my art, but I think as I open up more, I’ll explore more of those interpersonal relationships.
The project is also fuelled by love, and I think Hurricane, in particular, is a beautiful exploration of the topic. Has the person that Hurricane’s about heard the track, and if so, how was their reaction?
Haha, another good question! I’ll have to ask them one day.
Finally, Traveller’s Guide contains collaborations with the likes of Diesel and Cyrus – names that fans probably wouldn’t associate with the R&B/soul sounds present across the project. I’d love to know about some of the tips you learnt from those artists who don’t necessarily sit in the same sonic space as you!
I don’t know whether I have a respective sonic space, to be honest. I work with dope people who write dope music and capture moments. How that ends up sounding is dependent on the day, weather, mood, etc.
From Mark I learned the beauty of patience; whenever I work with him we take the time to figure out the right chords, the right harmonies, so that everything frames the story the way we want it to. Cyrus has taught me a lot in terms of lyricism; do you need that extra syllable or does it need to be another word? Is that an oo sound or an ay sound? I love writing with both of them.