Kyla La Grange
Kyla La Grange, a Cambridge University philosophy graduate and bewitching folk-pop songstress, originally plied her trade in the anonymity of open-mike nights in darkened bars.
Hailing from Watford, England, she quickly met like-minded musicians, forming a backing band and writing songs with bigger aspirations than the small student pubs she had become accustomed to. After finishing her studies and moving to London, La Grange concentrated on her music, which began to take on a brooding, darker tone. She was signed to indie label Chess Club and released her first single, "Been Better," in 2011. Once settled in London, she played a series of gigs at the popular Communion nights in Notting Hill -- the breeding ground for contemporaries Ben Howard, Treetop Flyers, and Marcus Foster -- and demonstrated her acute songwriting talent and poignant lyrics.
Influences such as Cat Power and Joni Mitchell only scratch the surface of her gothic, pastoral folk. Her inventive live stage show would often involve foliage, glitter, and a tiara made of pigeon bones. Invoking comparisons to the pageantry of Florence Welch and the mysticism of Bat for Lashes, La Grange's theatrics and stage presence provided an eerie backdrop to her darkly dramatic folk-pop tales of heartache and loss. With her strong, angsty vocals, La Grange's soaring, epic choruses in "Heavy Stone" and "Vampire Soul" gained her many plaudits, and major labels were alerted to her raw talent. La Grange's highly anticipated debut album Ashes was released in 2012 and produced by Brett Shaw (Eliza Doolittle, Ed Sheeran, the Twang). Following the record's release La Grange went on to appear at a handful of summer festivals before embarking on a full headline European tour until the end of the year.
After she had finished touring, La Grange took a break in early 2013 and began writing the music for her second album, which led to a move away from the folk-influenced sound of her debut. She subsequently enlisted producer and DJ James Jacob -- better known as Jakwob -- to help transition her sound with more electronic influences and infectious, poppy hooks. The finished article, titled Cut Your Teeth, was released in 2014. ~ Scott Kerr, Rovi