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Kyla Clay-Fox


Kyla Clay Fox was born in Wensleydale in the UK. From an early age she was fascinated by words and enamoured with music. Only now, at the age of 33, has she developed the courage to fuse the two together, pursuing a life long dream to perform her own music. She holds a BA in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University.




Q: Do you think of your lyrics as poetry?


A: Yes. Very often the songs I write have been “born” as poems and appear a little later reborn as songs. In a sense, those I choose to rework as songs, require that little bit of scaffold that the music provides.

Q: Do you think it is important that songs rhyme and if so why?


A: Hmmm... Songs always benefit from having some kind of rhyme and I think that assonance in particular finds a good home in the lyric. I often find that songs are demeaned by full rhyme, particularly when it seems that the lyricist has desperately tried to push a rhyme into the song that is particularly clumsy. One of the greatest examples of this has to come from Des'ree: “Toast and ghost”. Oh dear!


Q: Do you think song lyrics must conform to recognised song structures such as clear rhyming schemes, choruses, refrains, hooks and bridges or that songs can also be like free verse?


A: I personally think that the only “songs” which work without particular structure are in the operatic genre. I believe that songs need structure to work and that choruses, refrains etc. are devices necessary for making the song “stick”. Rather like the volta in a sonnet, they reinforce meaning and memory. If a word is particularly powerful with a certain note, this power is increased greatly and the situation arises when the song will not leave your head. If that happens in a song I have written, I see it as success, because the lingering memory of a particular phrase can only serve to reinforce the message within the song.


Q:  When you read poetry in school or elsewhere did you recognize any connection to the music you enjoyed?


A: Nothing jumps out at me in particular, but I do think that poetry helped me recognise meaning in songs and allowed me to appreciate lyrical ability and to appreciate the “song” rather than the aesthetic qualities of the artist!


Q:  Was there anything about poetry in books that influenced your songwriting?


A:  I would say no. This is simply because at present, I tend to perform live and have few recordings. Therefore, I need the audience to be able to identify with the song I have written, almost immediately, whereas the poetry I have studied such as Plath and Sexton, needs to be studied and reread at leisure. The songs are most certainly written with this in mind.


Q: Why do you think songs are more popular with people than poetry is?


A: I think this has all kinds of reasons and perhaps could be explained as far back as when music was a very tribal medium. There is certainly something physically, emotionally and sometimes sexually moving about music and the human vocal. There is an amazing symbiosis between the textual word and the melodic word, and when they sit together they are an amazingly powerful couple.

 Also, liking a poem is, to some people, a no no. My 21-year-old nephew would blush at the idea of reading a poem, but when that poem is set to music he feels able to appreciate it openly.






copyright © Kyla Clay-Fox