2. I love soul music. I gotta do this, you know? I make music for women. that girl into a Kirby ( Kirby ) She a freak, throw a … I don’t like stuff like that. How do you balance sounding modern with hinting at cabaret-like notes? I remember she would put on Erykah Badu. So, when I worked with him on “Only One,” which is his mother talking to him from heaven, that was fulfilling for me because he gave me so much as a listener. Too, Sis makes a show of vulnerability. Since she’s no novice when it comes to songwriting, KIRBY manages to expertly serve up a mashup of refreshing deep cuts. 1. 2. I started getting tons of jobs.”, “As a Black woman, I am happy; I am in love.”. Even if I wanted to go back to school, I couldn’t. Memphis-born, Mississippi-raised singer-songwriter KIRBY has officially rolled out her debut album, Sis. Nobody checking for [us].” I wanted to make my first EP be about love because, as a Black woman, I’m not hard to love. I lost the one thing that felt like everything to me. I went to Berklee College of Music, and told my mother, after two years, I’m leaving school to do it on my own. It was a nightmare! I grew up listening to “Hey Mama,” [which] was one of my favorite songs from Kanye. “When I really first dove into D’Angelo, he just lightened me up.”, “I want my confidence to rub off on my fans so people can get inspired by that and have that same confidence.”, “I definitely feel like I have the city on my back.”. Though KIRBY spills her soul and lets love overtake her spirit, she never sounds weak or victim. God put on my heart; just write a song a day. When speaking on why she decided to pivot and focus wholly on herself she shared, “I left the mountain top of one career and went to the valley of another.” She also noted, “But believe me, I see the mountain ahead. You can be empowered as a woman and also be in love with someone else. I’m writing about a part of my life when I was in love. Though songwriting fulfilled her creatively and allowed her to give back to the artists that she loved, launching a solo career meant Mississippi-born KIRBY could nourish her soul and put her two loves of singing and writing together. I was going in. 4. I had maxed out my student loans. Debuting with the EP, Sis., LA-based KIRBY brings to life the sounds of spoken word, cabaret aura, and silky soul sensibilities in just seven songs. Whenever they would let me get the mic, I was super young, but I was like, “Let me lead!” I just loved singing. What’s equally fitting about this song is that in the chorus she refers to her dreamy beau as the “apple of [her] eye.”, Kirby offered these following thoughts on her debut album, “As much as I want all women to love this music, I need women of color to hear it and know certain narratives about us are simply not true,” she said. As a Black woman, I’m happy; I’m in love. And I didn’t get it, so I didn’t like it—I was seven years old. KIRBY R&B/Soul • 2020 Preview SONG TIME Leon. If soul music is dying, then our soul is dying. We have a weakness for big voices with matching hair and soul singer KIRBY delivers on both fronts with the release of her first solo project Sis. I make music for men who still have a soft spot for love songs and romance. It’s scary to walk away from something that was once a dream, but I had to do that. I didn’t care about getting a million views, I cared about the right person in the music industry [hearing my music] and being like, “This girl is gonna work hard, let’s give her a shot.” I did that ‘til day 275, and that’s around the time Roc Nation decided to bring me on. My mom’s got videos of me singing Toni Braxton songs! That’s how I got into songwriting. They’re both hand-in-hand for me. To be a vessel and give you something to sing, like you gave me to sing? 3. When I would get in trouble with my mom, I would write her songs. Sis. It’s been a blessing to do songwriting, for real. That always translates. For those who bemoan the declining health of soul music, shame on you. 2:33 PREVIEW Velvet. When people hear my music, I want them to think of me as their sis. When you’re fresh out of college and dropping out, you feel hella optimistic, and then all of a sudden, you’re like, “Wait! An alum of the Berklee College of Music, she originally began a career in songwriting by penning a song a day on YouTube for 275 days. The latter is reminiscent of ‘70s funk and her voice commands attention even amidst the background sounds of heavy guitar riffs. My fear was: “KIRBY, what if you don’t ever try?” You know? I’m not waiting on the world to tell me that; I know that. What about professional songwriting did you find fulfilling? Sis!” Man, if people can listen to my music and feel connected to me: I’m like the girl in the salon that’s doing their hair or the girl they would call when they breaking up with their man. I’ve written for all my musical heroes except Drake and Lizzo. The title signals it’s all about womanhood and solidarity. That’s so fulfilling. You’ve got your debut EP, Sis., out today. I told my parents—I was grieving at the same time—just give me a year. As a seasoned songwriter, we would expect nothing less of KIRBY’s pen, but it’s the grand soundscapes that are astounding. What I’m speaking about is now. 1. You gotta figure out a way to change your life.”. I had all of my self-love, and I had someone who came into my life and loved me for me. 3. You can rarely give back to artists. Every time I’m talking to a girl, it’s like “Sis! I would name drop everybody: H.E.R., Ari Lennox, Lucky Daye, Anderson .Paak, BJ The Chicago Kid. I would rather fail at trying to be myself than win at being somebody else. 2:34 PREVIEW Kool Aid. My female empowerment is tested the most when I’m in a relationship. “As soon as I quit all my work, the universe accepted it. provides an introspective look into the mind behind her wildly successful tracks “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney and “Die With You” by Beyoncé. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt. Sometimes, when you’re in LA, you forget that. Our conversation, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below. When you take one away… It’s just not fulfilling. You can’t just be sitting back home, working these jobs. We’re angry. Soul music is a classic feeling. A joy to speak with and a pleasure to listen to, KIRBY kicks off her decade with an impressive bang. Like you’re on Mars but still listening to soul music. Cat Stevens Stay schemin' Ihr Miskins lebt in Kirby's Dreamland P-I-C's, neidische Fickfehler Wären gern V.I.P., doch können nicht mitreden In der. That started with a tweet. Sign In Sis. KIRBY’s runs and pattering vocals on “Kool Aid” enchant us, while on “Don’t Leave Your Girl,” it’s her bellowing tones that stun us. Sis makes vulnerability sound powerful—a real statement of purpose. While on “Apple,” she addresses pillow talking (in a good way) and how blissful it feels to be with someone that is always on your mind after you met them. I sing soul music. Talk to me about the fear, because fear can be a great motivator. The seven-track album which is her third full-length EP is equal parts soul and funk. I am powerful. Sis. 2:34 PREVIEW Kool Aid. KIRBY has a knack for the evocative. This is music.” It all started in a small church on a dirt road in Mississippi. Me not being able to sing the music I love was tough for me. I’m just folding clothes at Urban Outfitters.” This is not popping, at all. Get notified about exclusive offers every week! KIRBY: I’m from the South, so, you know, Sunday mornings, everybody’s singing in the choir. Whenever you think of soul music, you go to some emotional place. Sis has some classic sounding moments, “Don’t Leave Your Girl” and “Velvet” come to mind. Despite her outstanding qualifications as a songwriter, however, KIRBY knew she was destined for more. Soul music is the core of music. Soul Singer KIRBY Is Giving Us Hair Life With This Retro Roller Set. Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. 2:33 PREVIEW Velvet. I really, really did. Could you speak on those themes? I make music for the woman that has to get up at seven in the morning and go to work, and for the girl that’s braiding her hair and laying her baby hairs down. I would wake up—my mom has a piano downstairs—and write original songs and put them on YouTube. Original material is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. provides an introspective look into the mind behind her wildly successful tracks “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney and “Die With You” by Beyoncé. Was there anything about songwriting that didn’t nourish you enough as an artist, moving you to go solo? I grew up in a super small church with my cousin on the piano, my grandmother leading the choir. All these years, you guys have been giving us great music, I feel blessed to be one person who can help you cultivate a song that means something personal to you. What would you say to people talking about “Soul music, R&B, is dying.”? Killy. I told [my producer] I don’t wanna make a tribute soul record. I make music for the powerful woman on the 24th floor in her building [who] wants to believe she can still be powerful and in love. When women hear [Sis], I want them to think of themselves, and I want them to see me as a woman they can relate to.