As 2020 rages on, dance floors and venues are but a memory and the way we dance and connect has shifted. Luckily, we’re still able to enjoy new music. This week, Hyra blessed us with a chill new single that attempts to provide some short term relief to our collective angst. The Nicaragua-born, Miami-raised, LA-based singer dropped “Where We Can’t See,” produced by Mastrada. The eclectic single features early 2000s R&B vocals complemented by a dance beat featuring a hi-hat, snare combo akin to the likes of Kaytranada.
Formerly the lead singer of the Miami group Dragonfox, this is Hyra’s second solo project of 2020 following her release of “Sad Lullaby” in May. Drawing her inspiration from a wide range of artists such as Lady Gaga, Aaliyah and even Aterciopelados, Hyra has been able to channel all of her influences to carve her own lane within the 2020 R&B scene. This culmination of sound is on full display on her latest release. Between its arcadian beat, alluring hook and serene vocals, “Where We Can’t See” provides us with 2 minutes and 46 seconds of much-needed chill during the apocalypse.
We caught up with the 22-year-old R&B artist to learn more about her music, how she’s handling the ever-changing music industry during a global pandemic and more.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity purposes.
How do you describe yourself and your style?
I consider Hyra to be all the parts of myself that I hold dearest to me… my stories, thoughts and ideas, with the goal to empower others as they go through their own experience. I would describe my style [as] a blend of all the genres of music I listen to—pop, R&B, funk, indie-rock and electronic music. I think you can hear those in the songs I’ve been able to share thus far. Despite being relatively introverted in my day to day, through my music and Hyra, I’m able to embody a stronger version of myself—very fem, sassy at times and extremely outspoken. I really try to make my lyrics as playful as possible, and danceable of course! In a lot of ways, my music is a very healing process for me, and I hope it can be a positive experience for those who listen to it as well.
You have had an interesting journey to this point, traveling from Nicaragua to Miami and now to LA. How do you feel that your heritage and the cultures of the various places and spaces you’ve been in impact your music?
I was born in Nicaragua and grew up in the latin hub that is Miami. As a young Latinx person, I definitely think my culture influences my forms of expression, especially in my music. I’ve always been surrounded by strong Latinas, whether through friends or family. I like to think I tap into their strength when I’m writing.
The places I’ve [lived in] all have a mix of cultures. From Miami, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, I’ve been able to meet many great people of different backgrounds. Each and every one of their stories have stuck with me. I think the immigrant communities and young people like myself, Latinx or not, inspire the way I approach my artist project. I have loads of respect for those who have immigrated to the U.S. in search of a dream or an opportunity. I identify as one of them. I think I’m heavily motivated to honor those people and make sure they’re visible and represented in the music space. At least, that’s one of my goals.
It’s kind of a cliche to ask at this point but how have you navigated making and putting out music during the year of the coronavirus? Is there anything you learned or wish you would have known before this all happened?
I feel very blessed to even be able to speak with you about music amidst everything that’s going on. Crazily enough, this is the year I’ve experienced the most growth in my artist project – I’m very thankful for that… It’s been like an intensive songwriting camp of sorts. I think I’ve recorded and written the most I ever have. In fact, “Sad Lullaby” and “Where We Can’t See” were written during quarantine… the COVID quarantine has led me to meet amazing people (virtually, of course). It’s amazing to experience unity via online networks and how genuine friendships and working relationships can result from a digital encounter.
If we’re talking about hindsight, I wish I would’ve been this productive pre-quarantine when the world was “normal.” And I put that in quotations because the normal wasn’t OK either, but I won’t get into that. I wish I would’ve seen more live shows and probably washed my hands a little more back then.