CYN on Signing to Katy Perry’s Label: ‘It Was Like Realizing My Whole Life Would Change’
"Like the red in a ruby / There's no color when you leave me," CYN coos on "Together," the Michigan native's debut on Katy Perry's imprint, Unsub Records.
Premiered back in July, CYN's airy, sunny single encapsulates the lingering dreaminess of those waning late summer days currently setting upon us: warm and sweet and bright, there's something effortless and cozy about the lilting, percussive electro-pop tune.
Much like the song title suggests, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter's saccharine, melodic vocal tone fits perfectly over the toe-tapping track's happily galloping beats and flickering synths, breaking through the otherwise gloomy, moody pop landscape with something undeniably cheerful.
After meeting Perry's friend DJ Skeet Skeet online, the Midwestern artist was introduced to the pop star at a party in 2016. Soon, she found herself signed to the Witness star's sub-label, and shortly after moved to Los Angeles to pursue her girl next door-gone-Hollywood dreams of musical stardom—an IRL fairy tale she's currently in the midst of.
Below, CYN opens up about her "average" upbringing, her penchant for Dean Martin and why singing with Katy Perry made her feel like Harry Potter.
How did you and Katy meet?
After attending Katy's tour in 2011, I connected with DJ Skeet Skeet (the opening DJ) via Twitter. I sent Skeet demos for four years before we actually met face to face. In 2015, Skeet was passing through Chicago and we were able to grab breakfast before one of my morning classes. It was then that we made plans for me to come to L.A. and start working with other writers and producers. During that trip, Skeet connected me to Lauren Glucksman who later introduced my music to Katy.
Was there a moment during the whole process of signing with Unsub, where you were hit by how surreal it must have been?
Oh, definitely! Signing to Unsub was like that moment in Harry Potter when Hagrid looks at Harry and says, "You're a wizard, Harry." It was like realizing my own magic and knowing my whole life would change because of it.
The lyrics of "Together" mention Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, both from an era I hear was very important to you growing up. Can you tell me about your love for classic American music?
I love classic American music because it reminds me of my childhood. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother growing up—we'd paint, draw, sew, make things out of wood, literally any crafty thing you can think of—all while listening to her vinyls! I love this era of songwriting because it doesn't try too hard to break anyone's heart or make anyone smile but it still does just that.
Where did the idea for "Together" come from and how did you fall upon the right sound?
The word "together" really inspires me. I am fascinated by language and how it narrates our experiences to the point where I can be hung up on one word and write an entire song about it! I was also up for a challenge in that I wanted to sing about things that go together but with lyrics that hadn't been sung before (like the red in a ruby, like the cream to the whipping, etc.).
What are some things that just go "Together" for you in life? (For me, horror movies on stormy nights!)
Oh, man! I love wine and cheese, bonfires and marshmallows, and sweatpants on a cloudy day.
Your artist bio touts you as having a very "average" upbringing, and yet there's nothing average about breaking out with your first single on a major pop star's label. Do you believe extraordinary things can come out of ordinary situations?
Absolutely. It was when I started to believe in myself that opportunities came my way. Growing up, I could hear the insecurity in my voice when I told people I wanted to be a singer. It got to the point where I had to order myself to knock it off and go for it! When people asked me what I did, I would tell people I was a singer even if I was still working in a restaurant. Believing it and saying it out loud made all the difference for me.
What message would you like to share with other young music hopefuls just getting their start?
Here's a little list of things in no particular order: 1. Practice everyday! 2. There's no such thing as a stupid idea, just the right idea for the moment. 3. Recognize what you can't do very well then find someone you trust to do it for you or help you (like graphic design or production). 4. Have a clear Internet presence. 5. Who you are doesn't have to be on trend, make a statement with your individuality.
What can we expect from your debut EP?
Optimism, dedication, friendship, sass and a hint of heartbreak.
If you could reveal just one thing about yourself to new listeners, what would it be?
At one point in my life, I wasn't my favorite person to be, but now, I'm declaring who I am without edit!
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