INTERVIEW WITH TORONTO SOUL POP ARTIST CHYNNA LEWIS
‘Mind & Soul’ is the debut single from Canadian Pop/R&B singer-songwriter Chynna Lewis. Her debut eschews typical bubblegum pop standards, leaning more on singer-songwriter conventions. The Taiwanese born artist moved to Canada at age ten. Where she grew up in a highly musical family, and her love of Soul & R&B shaped her singing. In the Toronto music scene Chynna is making a name for herself and developing her skills as an artist. I chatted with her about her debut and more below.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your debut single ‘Mind & Soul’ and the inspiration behind it?
CHYNNA LEWIS: “Mind and Soul” was inspired by a friend that I fell in love with in my mid-twenties. I didn’t know where he stood with the relationship, so I was afraid of telling him that I wanted more than a casual fling. Being “in the grey” caused me a great deal of heartache so I finally womaned up and told him how I felt. Regardless of the outcome, I felt totally empowered by the fact that I took a chance and asked for what I wanted.
I think dating is especially difficult in this day and age, with the illusion of choice that exists through apps and people playing games. It makes you afraid of expressing your honest feelings in a clear way. “Mind and Soul” explores the playfulness and excitement of a definite attraction between two people, but there are also deeper feelings beneath the surface. I hope listeners can connect with the sexy vibe of the music as well as the earnestness of wanting love.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How is the recording and writing process going for your upcoming debut EP?
CHYNNA LEWIS: It’s going well! My producer, Scott McCannell and I are getting close to the finish line and we can’t wait to share all this new music with everyone! “Mind and Soul” is the first tune that we collaborated on together. We started by arranging the songs with a live band which resulted in a more traditional Motown/Soul sound at first, then we sampled these instrumental recordings for a beat-making approach. In the end we created this track that encapsulates that process, a combination of a modern beat with the warmth of old Soul recordings.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What has been one of your favorite things about being a songwriter?
CHYNNA LEWIS: I really love when songs come to you with a bolt of inspiration and you’re ready with pen and instrument in hand. That feeling of flow is so gratifying and once you start you cannot stop. Those songs are born from a real place, real thoughts that you’ve been turning over in your subconscious for a long time, and the art just flows through you because you’ve got so much authentic ammo to work with. Ninety-five percent of the time I sit myself down and dig for a long while before I find my way back to that state again, and sometimes you don’t even get that lucky but you do it anyway just in case.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How has your upbringing played a part in your artistry today? I read that you grew up in a musical family.
CHYNNA LEWIS: Yes, the presence of music in my household and family definitely played a big part in planting a seed for my career. However, I would say that my immigrating to Canada from Taiwan when I was ten years old played an even larger role in leading me down this path. My parents always said that I would have never sung a note had I stayed in Taiwan. In general, Asian cultures tend to view the arts as a hobby as opposed to a respectable career. Moving to Canada was the beginning of it all. There were so many opportunities that nurtured my musicality; all the talent shows, battle of the bands, school plays, music classes, and open mics played a crucial role in leading me to becoming a musician and artist.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Continuing along with that subject… What would be your earliest musical memory?
CHYNNA LEWIS: When I was three, one of the only songs I knew in English was “Happy Birthday”, so I sang it to death. I had a dance that went along with it too. Still remember it haha.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been listening to?
CHYNNA LEWIS: A mix of old and new: JP Saxe, Maggie Rogers, Snoh Aalegra, SiR, Emily King, Djavan, Bon Iver, Lauryn Hill, Norah Jones, to name a bunch.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What musician would you love to collaborate with? And why?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Emily King for sure. I just feel like we would make some cool music together. Her music really speaks to my soul.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s your dream concert venue to play at?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Definitely Radio City Music Hall in New York.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: In what part do you feel that social media has played in your growth as an artist?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Learning to give less of a s**t haha. Sharing personal stuff like your art takes guts so the practice of sharing on social media has been a great way to thicken my skin and set my ideas free then moving on to the next.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I wanted to do a quick lightning round of questions before we end so here we go so… Museum or movie theater?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Movie.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Coffee or Tea?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Coffee.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Pancakes or Waffles?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Waffles.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Netflix or Hulu?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Netflix. Though I love The Handmaid’s Tale.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Instagram or Twitter?
CHYNNA LEWIS: IG all the way.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Podcast or Playlist?
CHYNNA LEWIS: Podcast. I’m fascinated by other people’s conversations.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Anything else you would like to add? Thank you for your time, Chynna!
CHYNNA LEWIS: Thanks for having me! These are the best questions I’ve been asked during this entire release campaign. Very meaningful and thought-provoking. Lots of new music and visuals coming out this year, so stay tuned and stay safe!
Stream ‘Mind & Soul’ by Chynna Lewis below.
Follow Chynna on socials below!