“The leaves will change their colours… and life / wants more from me.” The emotional lyrics of Kiwi singer-songwriter Kylie Price resonate in an autumnal London, much as they did in her chilly hometown of Dunedin. Kylie, 29, concluded her debut season in the UK last month with a polished set at the renowned music venue ‘Green Note’ in Camden and she is Caffe Nero’s featured ‘Artist of the Month’ for November. With two decades of experience performing and an array of international awards under her belt, the 29-year old is now evolving further, as her London adventure brings a new backbeat to the country-influenced folk-pop style which has brought her NZ chart success. “I’m excited to share with people new music that they wouldn’t expect me to release”, she says.
With an introspective, lyrical sound that straddles musical genres, Kylie’s music appeals widely. A longtime fixture in the Dunedin music scene, she first picked up a guitar at seven, played open-mic nights in student bars since a young teenager, and studied Contemporary Music Performance at Otago University. Covid interrupted earlier plans to head off on her keenly-anticipated OE, so during the pandemic, Kylie instead played online festivals in virtual rooms on livestream from her Dunedin home and learned how to soundcheck over the internet. She became comfortable collaborating online in a virtual studio environment “whilst I cook dinner” but was eager to return to regular live performance.
With London opening up again after the Covid-19 lockdowns, it was not hard for Kylie to decide to finally make the jump into international waters. Her first step away from home was representing New Zealand at the vast South-by-Southwest Festival for the creative arts in Austin, Texas, in March this year. The masterclasses, networking and showcasing events she attended there helped her forge valuable professional contacts with British producers and promoters, shortly before her arrival in London. “Our industry is really all about connections and being relatable to each other”, she says.
Kylie has always applied a strong business approach to her music career. She came to national attention in her late teens with her business-savvy refusal to sign a ‘New Zealand’s Got Talent’ contract which would have limited her creative rights over her music. Her first albums were supported by crowdfunding and local sponsorship. She hit the ground running during her first six months in the UK, with an intense performance schedule and collaborations producing new work throughout 2022. A highlight was recording at the world-famous Abbey Road studio, where she was delighted to find “a piece of New Zealand on the walls” as the Lord of the Rings soundtrack was produced on-site. Whilst appreciating such exciting opportunities in the UK, Kylie credits New Zealand on Air, the New Zealand Music Commission and other mentors back home for their active support of Kiwi artists. The London branch of the Australasian music rights management agency APRA AMCOS has given Kylie key support, providing studio access and helping her set up for business internationally.
Swapping her comfortable Dunedin home for a one-bedroom rental in East London, Kylie initially found the UK capital “grey and overwhelming”. “When you arrive, your whole system - all your senses are completely overloaded with this London life,” she explains. Travelling to gigs suddenly involved a minimum 45-minute commute by public transport, carrying gear, forcing her to be brutally strategic about performance commitments. Still, she has enjoyed throwing herself into all that London has to offer, recalling one week where Adele, the Rolling Stones, James Bay, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ed Sheeran were playing almost back-to-back. “Here you could go out any night of the week, and there’ll be something amazing on!”
While she is currently London-based, Kylie wants to introduce her music to “as many people as possible” and looks forward to travelling further afield. “I never lose sight of how fortunate I am that I can be here and do this. So I want to make the most of it,” she says. Being a Dunedin artist, and drawing on the layers of musical influences and connections there, “is definitely my point of difference here,” Kylie says. She plans to release another song in December that she wrote in New Zealand and completed abroad, before she begins sharing new recordings from her UK working holiday next year. People in the UK have “challenged me to think differently, so naturally here in London my music is going to sound different. It’s almost like a reinvention. It’s very scary but very exciting.”
Check out Kylie's music on Spotify, here.