“Don’t Rush the Process”: An Interview with Indie Artist ‘Cyanca’

Cyanca in an all yellow room. Cyanca is dressed in a red and black flannel with white socks.

Who is Cyanca?

Nowadays, the need for a record label is almost nonexistent. Of course, it’s nice to have that buffer; but honestly, an artist can create their very own platform and image. In the case of eclectic, melodious, rich sounding indie artist ‘Cyanca’, that’s EXACTLY what she did! Releasing her first EP “The Isle of Queens” in 2017, she is set to release her 2nd EP, “I’m Staying Home”, next Friday. Fans all around are anticipating the EP; and understandably so, considering how amazing the first one turned out. We decided to catch up with Cyanca while she put the finishing touches on the upcoming EP. Discussing her musical background, her inspirations during the creative process and the inside scoop on “I’m Staying Home”. Here’s what she had to say:

The Background

Mia: Tell me a little bit about your musical background and where your musical talents come from; Where does that stem from?

Cyanca: Well, I grew up heavily in the Church-raised by my grandparents. My Grandmother was really heavy in the church, so I was there 4 or 5 days out of the week. I have a lot of people in my family who sing. I have cousins who play all types of instruments. So, we grew up not only in church, but it was a family-based church. I started singing around 5 or 6 and I became interested in the keys. I used to sit there in church and I would watch my cousin play the keys (I didn’t even listen to the pastor preached). So, I started getting very curious about instruments in the church and I started asking my grandparents “can you buy this?” and it just started from there and it became a huge passion and it just never left. My Father was a huge hip-hop fan, especially from the 80s and he would play a lot of music around me and school me on every person that he would play as well. He would give me a little background on how they became successful. So, those two sides of the spectrum kind of helped to mold me.

Mia: That’s awesome! So, you learned how to play the keys just by listening and looking?

Cyanca: Yes!

Mia: Wow! I wish! Now, are you from Charlotte or are you just from around Charlotte? Or North Carolina? Where exactly?

Cyanca: I was born and raised in Smithfield, North Carolina. That’s about 30 minutes from Raleigh. t’s all 919 area code, so that’s where I’m originally from. I just live here. I’ve been here for about 3 years. I moved here for a job promotion. I felt like Charlotte was growing and I wanted to join the music scene. I saw an opportunity and I came here.

Mia: I knew you repped North Carolina, but I wasn’t sure about which part.

Cynaca: I lived so many places. I even lived in Greensboro. I went to school at UNC-Greensboro. I majored in music performance and I was there for about 6 or 7 years.

Mia: Which years?

Cynca: Hmmm… I got there in 2007 and I left in like 2013 or 14.

Mia: Gotcha! My best friend Laurin, Laurin Shaw, went to UNCG and I think she did something with music. I don’t know if it was music business or what. I don’t know exactly, but I know she was in the music department a lot.

Cyanca: Yea! I know her- I know Laurin.

Mia: Do you really?

Cyanca: Yes! She used to be in the choir.

Mia: Yes, yes, yes! That’s my best friend.

Cyanca: That’s what’s up. It’s a small world.

Mia: A REALLY small world.

“I’m Staying Home”

Interview with Indie Artist 'Cyanca'
Cyanca Photo Cred: Aaron Casey

Mia: You have a new EP coming out on the 28th of this Month-Where did you draw your inspiration?

Cyanca: Well, me and my manager- We had been kind of talking about me being more open. Even in my brand and being more engaging with the fans- I just wanted to be a little bit more vulnerable with the fans this time. I know my last project was more so focused on a few experiences and more feminine driven. This project, I wanted to just talk about my upbringing and how it’s very important to me. Everything that I went through is so special in my heart and I wanted to share that with my fans. It started off from just writing; Linking with producers, trying to find authentic beats that fit my style and I just started writing. From Cartoons and nostalgic things that we grew up on, to losing a mother at a young age, to dealing with drug addictions in the family. All types of things that black families go through. I wanted to just open up about that to my fans.

Mia: Well maybe this will all tie together in the next question–What is the meaning behind the EP title and the cover art for the EP? There’s this SUPER vibrant yellow; I think you have a bag in your hand and the title is “I’m Staying Home.” I feel like there’s something behind that.

Cyanca: Yea, there’s so many aspects that go into that. So, the title came from me and my friends. We were participating in CIAA weekend. It was a Sunday. Me and my manager had just got back from San Francisco because I performed on Facebook. That was dope! We were on a high and we wanted to go out and party. So, we went out with our friends and we got really drunk and called an Uber back. The crazy thing is (just to rewind), we had been kind of brainstorming for weeks about what the EP cover was going to be. It was related to family experiences and my upbringing but, we wanted it to happen organically and naturally. So,
we’re in the Uber leaving the club and we’re just talking about Solange’s album ‘When I get Home’ and how dope it was. Drunk as hell! And one of my friends was like, “man, when I get home, I’m staying home”! And we were all like, “OH SHIT! That’s IT! That’s the name of the EP.” It was a perfect representation of what the album was about and I’m a
homebody. I’m low-key introverted at times, so it was the perfect description for who I am. As far as the cover itself, even in the process of me writing this, I experienced some depressing moments. I think a lot of artists all face that- insecurities and so on. One of my friends told me, “why don’t you change the color scheme of your room to help brighten your spirit.”
I asked what color do you think I should do and she said yellow because it’s vibrant and happy and colorful. It will brighten your spirit. So, I went and changed my room color. I even went and bought a yellow chair-my bedspread was yellow. I was just obsessively into yellow for a little bit. At first, we were going to do the EP in front of a house- like a real house, in order to get that nostalgic feeling of being home. I was skimming through the internet and I came across this homie of mine, Rell’s, picture—he posted himself in this yellow room and then I was like, yo, that room is dope! It’s just perfect! Everything that I’ve been talking about the color scheme, bringing more joy to my spirit, the album talking about home and being cozy. So, I asked my manager if she could hit up the people who were running it, to see if I could do the EP cover. They were down! I called up my homie, Aaron Casey-He’s a dope photographer. I said, yo, meet me here, on this day and we just did it. We knocked it out and it came out perfect.

What Can We Expect?

Mia: So, how does your 2017 EP, ‘The Isle of Queens” differ from the new EP? What can we expect? Like, as far as sound and sonically; Even your approach this time around.

Cyanca: I don’t think it differs. Yeah, I think that the beats are a little choppier. I pulled from a lot of inspiration from artists like Frank Ocean. I listened to a lot of Travis Scott. D’Angelo! I kind of tried to get a mix of different perspectives. The beats from “The Isles of Queen’s”, were beats that my producer just randomly threw at me. So, this particular project, it was well thought out. The beat had to perfectly align with what I was trying to convey. I even have a song called ‘Patty Mayonnaise’ and I was like, this song has to sound like a cartoon theme song. I didn’t want him to just send me something. We had to strategically plan this out because we knew what we were trying to accomplish. We knew we had to execute everything and deliver a great product.

Mia: What has been your album making process? What do you do while you’re in that EP mode? Do you change your eating? Do you become super distant from people? What changes and how do you know you’re in that space?

Cyanca: That’s a great question! I think when everything is just flowing! I don’t think I really change anything. I don’t change my eating habits; I still eat whatever. I’m just being honest. I can say that I don’t like to be out as much. I like to just stay at home and kind of work on my music because I know that’s very important- You still have to practice your craft. So, when I get into that mode where I just really don’t want to be bothered or I don’t want to go out, or I’m in my room- I don’t really come downstairs like that unless I’m coming to get something to eat-; That’s when I know I have something that I want to say.

Creating the EP

Mia: What has been the most challenging part of creating this EP? Have you faced any challenges?

Cyanca: (Cyanca’s looked over with a smirk to her manager and we all laughed.) Yeah, well, we’re close to the finish line with wrapping everything up. We had a session last night where we were mixing and mastering the EP. We went in with high expectations like “it’s going to be fire- He’s going put his sauce on it-It’s going to be hot shit! He’s sitting there and he’s like…I’m just going to be honest…this part needs to be done over. But he had to be really honest with us and raw and I respect him for that. He could have just been like “oh, yeah! It’s gon’ smack”. It’s just a learning experience. You feel like you’re right there and you’re about to finish and then you get pushed back eight steps, but that’s the process. You have to go through everything. So, it’s been a learning experience. Even with writing- this is only my second EP.

Mia: Have you written outside of your own stuff. For other people?

Cynca: No! I produce-I produce for other people. Other than that, I don’t write outside of my own stuff. I’m still growing as an artist. I feel like I’m still a baby because this is only my second project and I’ve only been an artist for about 3 years.

Mia: But your name is super buzzed out here. So, it’s still kind of wild when you put it in that perspective.

Cyanca: Because I take my time!!! I’ve always been like that. That’s something that my Grandmother really instilled in me- taking my time and letting things manifest as they are. When you rush the process, you may miss an ingredient. I’m just a stickler about everything. I’ve always been a perfectionist and that can be a downfall because I can over analyze and feel like something isn’t good enough. But yeah, I’m just really compassionate about it. We haven’t rushed it.


Mia: How would you categorize the sound of the album? Like how do you explain it? How do you explain it without giving too much about the album?

Cyanca: I feel like my last project was really “R&B-ish”. This project has a mix of R&B and Hip-Hop.

Mia: Wait! You got bars??

Cyanca: Oh yea! I’m giving bars for sure-yea! I think that it’s very melodic and has an animated type of feel to it. But yea, it’s very “Hip-Hopish”

Mia: This last question is pretty simple. Your Instagram handle is: “@cyanca.is”. So, finish the sentence: Cyanca is…?

Cyanca: Cyanca is… the future. That’s just what it is. I feel like I’m in my own lane. I’m authentic. I produce. I sing. I’m even rapping a little bit on the EP. I feel like I’m definitely going to make a huge impact because I’m bringing something special that a lot of other artists don’t have. Creatively, what we’re putting out is homegrown, pro-black type shit.

Be sure to download “I’m Staying Home” from all music streaming platforms, next Friday.