Today we’re checking in with On SoundCloud Premier Partner and longtime community favorite Cyra Morgan, a folk singer-songwriter based out of New York.
Please introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community.
Hey everyone, I’m Cyra Morgan, a singer songwriter based in NYC. I’ve been singing and writing for as long as I can remember, this self expression is essential to me, my therapy. I describe my style as intimate acoustic folk. Over the past couple of years I’ve been building my career and sharing bits of my soul on SoundCloud and have connected with some incredible artists and some amazing people. This experience has become the beginning of a beautiful journey. My listeners and friends, give me the courage to keep going, to keep writing and allow me to be my most vulnerable, my most authentic self through my music. For this I am forever grateful.
How do you use SoundCloud?
I like to release my music on SoundCloud in it’s most authentic stage, that is, right out of my head and heart. When I write a song, I feel this need to capture the raw emotion of whatever I’m feeling as accurately as possible, there is immense vulnerability in that and SoundCloud is a safe place for me to share. Community connection has always been huge for me on SoundCloud. Listening to other artists, supporting and being supported by them has been incredibly inspiring and encouraging. Engaging with the community has been invaluable, leading to friends, collaborative projects, opening doorways to new music genres… The comments is a feature that I use constantly, responding to listeners is something I try to do regularly, showing my appreciation to those who take the time to listen is really important to me. Spotlight is also such a great tool allowing my more relevant tracks to be heard first. I always post on SoundCloud first, then share to other social networks from my SC page. The visual player looks so beautiful on other platforms. I tend to repost collaborations that I’ve done with other artists as well as songs that really touch me. Also the embedding is priceless, I have the player and playlists on my website, it looks great and can direct listeners right back to my SC profile.
Describe your creative process. What is your set up like?
I’ll have a phrase and a little melody playing over and over in my head until it becomes a song. It’s an organic process for me, coming from a place of necessity more so than creativity. Once I have a solid melody, I pick up my acoustic guitar and work out the chords, usually with an entire string section playing in my head. I record guitar first, a Martin acoustic, using Reason Essentials, a Shure Mic and my Mac. Then I record vocals and harmonies. I tend to use Garage Band sometimes for mixing, because it’s so simple to use. Then I export and upload to SC, after listening to it, arguing with myself over whether it’s good enough to post yet. After I remind myself that it’s all about the authenticity, I’ll take a breath and upload.
How have you reached certain goals or steps in your career?
Four years ago, I couldn’t play an instrument. I picked up the guitar and learned a few chords in order to get my songs out of my head. Joining SoundCloud was a life changer for me, sharing my music here and connecting with this community confirmed my life long belief that singing and writing is what I’ve always been meant to do. Through SoundCloud, I’ve gone on to do projects for companies like Propellerhead software, features for Flipboard, Jivewired America, The Financial Times, The Jimmy Lloyd Songwriter Showcase for NBC, The Guitar Center Singer Songwriter Finals in 2013, I’ve signed a publishing contract with North Star Media. I’ve learned that my fans like when I’m honest, when I stay true to myself and to them. Staying connected and living in a state of gratitude reminds me that I wouldn’t be where I am in my career without them. I think that the best advice that I’ve gotten is “Just keep on doing what you’re doing”. Do what you do because you love it, because it brings you joy, don’t try to be anyone but yourself and be the best possible “you”. My style is a bit unique in a bare bones, imperfect sort of way. But every day I do what I can to be better, I practice playing guitar, I try to learn a bit more piano, I write a little and record snippets of ideas. I play live whenever I get the chance to get comfortable accompanying myself on stage. And I search for future band members so that some day soon, I’ll have an album to share. No matter how many “No’s” you might hear, if you love what you do, you keep going, because one big “yes” can change everything.
What does it feel like to become a Premier Partner? What’s next for you?
Becoming a Premier Partner has been an amazing opportunity. The monetization of tracks has been such a cool feature, the idea of my music bringing in income is really promising. Making a living doing what I love is the goal, so having that option is wonderful. Also, the exposure from being a Premier Partner has connected me with new fans and listeners which I am always grateful for. For the next phase in my career, I would like to get some musicians together to record a debut album. I’d like to take my music to the next level with placement in film and television and touring around the world. Playing on the tonight show with Jimmy Fallon is on the list too, I mean, how high are we reaching here?
Who or what is inspiring you creatively? Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?
Generally, my songs come from a place of intense emotion. Emotions that are almost too much to contain. I feel like if I can capture that feeling as authentically as possible, it helps to carry the emotion, lessens the weight of what I’m holding. Much of my inspiration comes from the tiny details in life, in nature, in the phrasing of how people speak to one another, the thoughts in my head, things I want to say but won’t say out loud, or can’t say out loud. One of my most memorable collaborations on SoundCloud was when I posted a vocal track of a song called “New Day”. I had put it out to the community, asking for folks to add to it. The response was amazing to me, at least fifty Clouders added their magic and each version was so different from the last. The fact that so many took the time to work with my creation was humbling and inspiring. There are so many artists that I admire, number one would have to be Regina Spektor. I also adore Damien Rice, Ingrid Michaelson, Ray LaMontagne, Bon Iver, I also love The Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, there really are just so many. I would LOVE to collaborate with Damien Rice at some point in my career, that is my dream collab right there.
It’s very difficult for me to describe how significantly SoundCloud has changed the course of my life. I was a different person before I became a part of this community. I had thought, at that point in my life, that I had missed the chance to live this dream that my heart had held for as long as I’ve had memories. SoundCloud gave me a second chance to live it. It was a metamorphosis, like I had been sleeping, for years, and then woke up and learned what it feels like to fly.
You can hear Cyra’s latest track Solace on her profile or below.
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