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Amythyst Kiah turns trauma into roots-music triumph

For Breakthrough Artists Amythyst Kiah, making her critically acclaimed new album, “Wary + Strange,” like music therapy, helping to relieve the pain of her mother’s suicide.

“I was dealing with social anxiety and my emotional detachment and suppressing my emotions for a very long time, and it really sank in and became solid when my mother committed suicide when I’m 17 years old,” said Kiah, 34. will open for Brandi Carlile at Forest Hills Stadium Friday.

“I explained my mother’s suicide that she didn’t love me and didn’t want to stay. Now I know that’s not how suicide works, but I’m 17, so my coping mechanism is to keep my distance from people.”

The intimacy confessed in “Wary + Strange” – a root-mix of folk, country and blues, with a distinctly independent touch – brings listeners up close as the Tennessee singer-songwriter does her adoption of “strange stuff”.

Amythyst Kiah
Amythyst Kiah Expresses Her Grief Over Her Mother’s Suicide On “Wary + Strange”.
Credit: Sandlin Gaither

In fact, Kiah says, “most of the songs on the record were written just before or during my treatment in 2016. And the amazing thing is that people have responded to my music. so. the way I reacted to music… as something meant to heal. ”

Kiah delves into songs like “Wild Turkey” referring to her mother’s suicide, while “Hangover Blues” and “Firewater” refer to her drinking to cope with social anxiety. “How much spirit does it take to raise a spirit,” she sings at the end.

Amythyst Kiah on the Grammys red carpet
Kiah was nominated for Best Original American Song at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Getty Images for A . Record

Then there are “I am black myself,” earned Kiah a Grammy nomination for Best American Original Song in 2020 for the original recording she made with the supergroup. Our native daughter. “It’s really the end result of being in the studio with three black women, all of us in a genre of music that’s historically been considered white – and we can all share those experiences of being black. either accused of acting white or still being too black to be in certain spaces,” she said.

“Do Something for the Ancestors” in “Songs of Our Native Daughters” in 2019 with the group, which includes the Grammy Award-winning banjo player Rhiannon Giddens, was a liberating experience for Kiah.

“I’ve had a closed-door and singing policy for a long time,” Kiah said. “I intentionally stayed away from protest songs because I was afraid of a backlash. So the border was finally really openly talking about white supremacy. “

Amythyst Kiah
Kiah first recorded “Black Myself” with the original supergroup Our Native Dauairs.
Credit: Sandlin Gaither

Now, Kiah has completely – and fiercely – expressed both her bad luck and weirdness, proudly representing both communities: “I know what it’s like to be ‘supported’. “I know what it’s like to feel like I don’t belong somewhere. And I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. And so I want to play music, create moments where people feel included. blend in.”

Included on a double bill with Carlile – a different one quirky female artist – will make Friday a very special night for Kiah. The two first bonded together in a shared fan-girl moment in 2019.

“Our local daughters opened the Americana Music Awards with ‘Black Myself,’ and at the end of the ceremony I met Brandi, and she said, ‘Oh my God, you’re so real. wonderful!’ “And I said, ‘Oh my God, but you’re amazing!’ It was one of those things where I thought, ‘What planet am I on?’ ”

https://nypost.com/2021/07/22/amythyst-kiah-turns-trauma-into-roots-music-triumph/ | Amythyst Kiah turns trauma into roots-music triumph

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