In our December 2015 issue we featured an interview with Kristyn Murphy conducted by Abby Franz of the U.S.A. Some of Kristyn's music is available to be streamed from our Free Music tab.
by Abby Franz, USA
EDITOR’S NOTE: Abby Franz is an American author who brings us an interview with a new Celtic talent, Kristyn Murphy, who has blended her classically-trained voice with her Scottish and Irish heritage. We thank both Abby and Kristyn for bringing us this informative “guest” interview. Two of Kristyn’s songs can be found under our Free Music tab on the Celtic Guide website at:
Kristyn Murphy is one of the newest faces in Celtic music. Her debut album A Time to Remember promises listeners pure entertainment, taking them back in time with entrancing stories of the past and present.
“If I Were A Blackbird” showcases Murphy’s stunning vocal flexibility and musicality. Her voice whistles and trills just like a bird as her character laments being parted from her beloved sailor.
Kristyn’s superb storytelling ability is also highlighted in the forgotten old tunes “In The Starlight” and “The Nightingale”, while the emotion she puts into “Farewell to Nova Scotia” leaves listeners with goose bumps. Her lively version of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” can’t help but make the listener smile.
There is no doubt that Kristyn Murphy is the real deal. This Lass is talented, intelligent, beautiful, and her music oozes with an emotion that leaves audiences spellbound.
I recently had the pleasure of getting to know Kristyn Murphy, and spoke with her about how she is using music to preserve the Celtic culture.
AF: Let’s start with the easy questions. When did you begin singing?
KM: I began singing when I was very young, I gave my first solo performance when I was eight.
AF: How is it that you chose to focus on Celtic music?
KM: It was a combination of many things. First of all you must understand that my Mum’s side of the family is Scottish, coming to the U.S. by way of Nova Scotia, my Dad’s family is of Irish descent, and the area of Maine in which I grew up has a rich history of Scottish and Irish ancestry. This is important because it means I grew up surrounded by Celtic culture, especially the music - it is part of who I am. I didn’t always focus as much on singing Celtic music. I went from singing almost strictly sacred music in churches, broadening to Opera and Broadway, as I was training classically, and not until recently have I focused on singing mostly Celtic music.
AF: I can hear the influences from these other genres on your album. Why such the change in focus?
KM: One day I woke up and started paying attention to the culture that surrounded me, and I realized the importance of keeping that culture alive. I dove right in. I started researching my family ancestry, taking time to understand my family traditions and why they originated, and most importantly I realized that there were many songs that were no longer being sung. Music is part of a peoples’ legacy. Songs tell stories, give lessons in history, and reflect opinions; songs are windows to the past. I sing in part to keep that history from being forgotten.
AF: What goes into choosing the perfect song?
KM. I am interested in many different things. I love learning new things, and I am a huge history buff. So I am always researching something. Before I try finding a song, I think of a time period or historical event that interests me, and that might be interesting to audiences, and I find music from that time period that might work well to help tell the story. For example, in a concert I might use stories about my ancestors to tie together songs that tell the stories of starting a new life in America. Maybe one song and story section will be about the Irish famine, and another about folks leaving for America during this time, and then another will tell about their arriving on Staten Island. I always try to find songs that will keep the overarching story moving forward. Songs are great because not only can they simply state the facts, but they can also express emotions and personal thoughts of people.
AF: Where do you find this music?
KM: My Dad is a great resource, and he is always suggesting songs for me to investigate. I will also go out and look for sheet music online or in a physical shop. On the coast there is this shop that has thousands of old documents including sheet music. I could spend hours digging through the music reading the lyrics, studying the melody, and figuring out how I can make the song new again. I also listen to a lot of music to get some ideas.
As we chat, Kristyn brings out a homemade apple pie for us to snack on. She informs me that the recipe is her grandmother’s, one of many recipes that were passed down from the women in her family. Yet, as tied as Kristyn is to her past she is very much a modern woman. I sneak a peek at her computer and see she’s working on a document in Photoshop. Curious I ask her –
AF: What it is for?
KM: This project is a graphic design I’m working on for a client that has a contract with my company, Krisolyte Productions.
AF: Wait. Rewind. Pause. You own a company?
KM: Yes. Krisolyte Productions was born because of my work in music. It is a full multimedia company that specializes in video and audio production, graphic and web design, and artist representation. I didn’t come from an overly wealthy family, and growing up I needed to be creative when it came to certain things when building the foundations for my career in music. I learned how to do many things myself so I did not have to hire others. So I learned how to build websites, and I learned how to use Photoshop and create my own album art and posters. When I left for university, I left with the determination to come away from my studies with a vast toolkit of skills that would help me pursue a career in music. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a music business minor and I hold a Master’s degree in Interactive Media. I did this in part so I would not have the chance to be taken advantage of in the music industry, which unfortunately happens often to artists. My company, however, now has employees and we work with clients in need of graphic design and other media services. The company also manages the artistic careers of myself and others.
AF: You sound like a person who likes to be self-sufficient and prepared?
KM: Oh, most certainly. If you don’t know how to do something that you know you might need to have an understanding of in the future, why not learn it now and be prepared now. For example, I have always felt a strong connection and pull to the ocean. Perhaps I inherited the gene that encouraged my ancestors and some of my family members to become sailors. Anyway, because of this attraction, I am preparing to spend some time providing entertainment at sea on cruise ships. In order to be best prepared I am going to be going through a specific training course at the maritime college that teaches water safety and survival, and take a course to become a certified lifeboatman. We pray that no emergency ever occurs, but if it does, this training and understanding I have of certain topics will help me better deal with a situation. The same goes for any walk of life, and certainly in the music industry. Success happens when opportunities meet preparation. Knowledge is key. It is always good to think ahead and use common sense.
AF: So I would love to see you in concert, what are you currently working on, do you have a tour coming up?
KM: Yes! Recently I fell into a relationship with a very talented singer, Abbie Stands. We have created a brand new cabaret show that features Celtic, Jazz, Broadway, Pop, and originals. The show works to introduce us as performers, and audiences will experience a story of life and love explored by our two very different characters. We will be debuting the show in NYC in April at the Metropolitan Room, along with a tour of the East coast and Canada at theatres, opera houses, and other arts centers.
Kristyn Murphy’s debut album A Time to Remember is available through most digital download stores and through her website at: