One third of boy group Fundamental, Kyle Lettman is now a solo artist and showing his fans just how versatile he can be. In this candid interview, Amor got a chance to sit down with the South London based singer to talk about his one true passion: music and his journey as a musician. What I was not expecting was his honesty, pure dedication and humility that ooze itself into his music. Read the interview below to find out about the singer we should all be paying attention to.
Let’s start from the beginning. When did you start singing?
I started singing when I was about fifteen, sixteen. I was a late bloomer, I wanted to be an actor first, and then I found dancing. Singing kind of came last.
You mentioned dance, I looked up some videos on Youtube and came across some videos of group you have called The Clique, how did that come about?
Yes. With the last group I was in (Fundamental), we danced a lot. With this album, I really wanted to stick with having fun and having energy. I went about forming a dance group that could have fun with me on stage. In my mind, I needed a team that I would feel comfortable with and figured I would put them together now. That’s how The Clique came about. A couple of them were my friends and we drafted in the rest. The chemistry between us is so big that it feels like it is official.
Your Body seems to be a mix of genres where as One More Drink is a RnB song. What are some your influences?
I did a lot of travelling with the group, and I think it opened my eyes to a lot of different genres of music and different energies. So I don’t have a specific energy right now. Doing RnB is very easy because that is where I was raised, doing One More Drink was one of the more easy songs on the album but to do Your Body was a bit more fun because now we are messing around with the different types of energy and how would I make that energy fit in with my personality. So I just chase energy, whatever genre.
My mother and I had a conversation about how British music in 80s dominated in the charts. Do you think that is happening now?
I kind of feel like England has found its own personality now. In the eighties it had its own personality. Whereas in the nineties America dominated and became so massive that we sort of infused ourselves with that, and we allowed that to be us as well. So RnB became a part of our culture, whereas in the eighties that pop culture was a bit stronger. I feel like in the early 2000s British people started finding their own voice again. It became more of a thing that you should be English in what you do. So after a while Amy Winehouse, Adele, Lily Allen– these people began to shine and that brought English personality back to music. I think we are now at a point where we are comfortable with who we are in music.
Was the transition from being in a group to being a solo artist a difficult one?
For me, it would have been difficult if I had done the transition immediately after I broke up with the group. That’s when it becomes a problem, but I took a year out maybe two. So I had an opportunity to live a normal life. To not have to deal with music. Now that is has been so long since we broke up I’m not attached to that anymore. That part of me is gone. It’s no longer a transition for me now, I’m just being myself. If the group never happened, this would be who I would have been.
Was it easy to go back into writing and producing? How is your process of working?
If I’m honest, when the group broke up my dreams died. I was depressed for a long time. I didn’t think I was strong enough to be a strong solo artist, I didn’t think I was good enough writer. I became so used to playing a laid back character in the crew that I didn’t know what I was capable of. I have more belief in myself than I did back then. So when I came back I was able to write what I felt and I became more comfortable with that.
How do you think you have matured as a musician?
I was a lot younger back then. Now I’m aware of what my feelings are. Being mature, you become sure of what it is you want to do, it is easier to focus myself on it is what I want to do.
Is there anyone you would really like to collaborate with?
I would like to collaborate with Hayley Cassidy. She’s an English artist, she’s really good. Angel, because I feel like it would be unusual but great. I don’t think we are that far a part in terms of artists.
When can we expect the new album?
The album is going to come out at the end of the month.
What can we expect?
There going to influences of afro beat, bashment, piano ballads, RnB ballads, pop ballads but with twists. It’s got all the different energies that I have come across so far.
What is the best advice you have been given?
Hone your craft. Whatever it is that you are doing, hone it. Because no one is going to hire a window cleaner who doesn’t know how to clean windows properly. You have to put the time in. A lot of artists put in a lot of time before you see their work. It took Alicia Keys eleven years before anyone saw her face. So that is what it is to me. It’s hard work.
Lastly, how would you describe your personal style?
For me, I think it is just how I feel I stand out. I’m not really a fan of expensive clothes. I’m very much like I want a plain black tee and a nice jacket. I think the most expensive thing I own is trainers. I am very much into my trainers. A part from that, I feel like there is a comfortable middle ground of dressing nice, of just being presentable at all times.
With the experience and work ethic, Kyle Lettman could be a part of the class of British musicians to be on the map of the English music industry.
Be sure to follow him on Twitter for updates: https://twitter.com/KyleLettman
Words: Vanessa Dos Santos