We are firm believers in following dreams and that life is too short to not be doing what you love.
Photograph by Ron Milsom
UK saxophonist, vocalist, composer and band leader Kim Cypher continues to pay tribute to The Arts with her inspiring, innovative and vast project ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ – A Tribute to The Arts. As the project focus turns towards Kim’s original music, with a selection of tracks releasing ahead of her forthcoming 3rd album, I was keen to find out more about Kim’s inspiration and motivation for the project and especially a track and video featuring another of our finest jazz musicians, Liane Carroll.
Can you explain the motivation behind your ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ project and what led you to create such a vast body of work?
The idea was born during the covid-19 pandemic when we were all locked down and unable to carry on with ‘normal’ life. It was a very difficult time for everyone. But, as a self-employed musician and a ‘creative’ person, it was incredibly difficult. Myself as a musician and others working in The Arts were not only stripped of our livelihood and unable to work, but we all found ourselves having to fight to retain our identity and our self-worth in life. Naturally, this provoked all manner of emotions which I channelled into writing new music. It was a time of great creativity for me, but also a realization of how incredibly proud I am to be part of such a wonderful, creative community of like-minded people. I suddenly became overwhelmed with determination to celebrate these people who continually demonstrate passion, drive, determination and dedication to their Art, ultimately contributing to our Brighter Tomorrow for The Arts, and so the project was born!
You recently published a stunning online ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ magazine. How does that fit into the project and how can people view it?
The project evolved into a wonderful collaborative online celebration with those working in The Arts being invited to share their creativity using the hashtag #brightertomorrowforthearts
There was such an incredible outpouring in celebration of performers, venues, photographers, anyone working in The Arts and it was amazing to see what everyone was doing. As well as that, the project is focused around my own new music, leading towards my 3rd album later in the year to conclude the project.
Such a vast and unique project has been quite tricky to coordinate. In the end I decided to consolidate it all into an online webzine which tells the whole story up to now. I created and published a 284-page magazine which was a huge undertaking for me and my first dabble into magazine design. The project just kept on growing and growing! I am very grateful to Fiona Ross, founder of Women in Jazz Media of which I am a very proud team member, who supported me through the process. I’d love you all to take a look.
You released a couple of new original tracks recently as part of the project – ‘Gonna Be Alright, Gonna Be OK’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Song’. Can you tell us a bit about these tracks?
These two tracks pretty much mark the project from the start to the present day. ‘Gonna Be Alright, Gonna Be OK’ was written at the start of the pandemic after the initial shock settled down and we were looking for reassurance that everything was going to be ok. Then ‘Tomorrow’s Song’ marks where we are today, hopefully heading towards a brighter tomorrow. So, I thought those tracks would be the perfect choice to release ahead of the album. Everything composed in between those tracks is going to be recorded in the Spring and Summer.
Your next track releases on 24th February together with a video filmed at the 606 Club with Liane Carroll. Have you worked with Liane before and how did she become involved in this project?
It’s fair to say that I am very excited about this! I have been a huge fan of Liane’s for many years and she has been a great inspiration to me. I have had the pleasure of performing with her a couple of times before and she shares the same passion as me, being a total heart and soul performer.
Having recorded an instrumental version of ‘Tomorrow’s Song’ I found myself humming along to the melody line and before I knew it, I was releasing poignant emotions, singing along with some heartfelt lyrics. I could feel the passion in every word I sang. Suddenly I knew I needed to record a vocal version of the song, a stripped-back version, vulnerable and performed with the passion this project deserves. In my mind there was only one lady for the job.
Once that seed was planted, I simply couldn’t imagine anyone more perfect to bring my vision to life. So, I followed my dream, reached for the stars and asked Liane if she would record the song with me – just her and me and a whole lot of heart and soul. Guess what? She said YES!
The track is beautifully captivating and the ‘live’ performance filmed at the 606 Club captures a very special spontaneous moment between the two of us. You can join the video premiere at 2.00pm on Friday 24th February and view the video (after 24th February) here:
Beyond this, how do you see the project growing and developing?
Well, like all of my projects, they start small and they just keep growing and growing! My long-suffering (and very supportive) husband, who is also my drummer, knows all too well how my projects ‘evolve’. I just can’t seem to stop my excitement, creativity and passion taking over. I have to say that this is definitely a project I feel VERY passionately about. I cannot emphasize enough the pride I feel being part of such an amazing hard-working community. I will continue to develop this project to celebrate as many more incredible people as I can. I can already tell you HOT OFF THE PRESS that the next part of this project is getting back into the studio in the Spring to record more new original music. I am absolutely thrilled to be working with some more wonderful musicians who will bring my vision to life. I simply cannot wait. Special guest musicians to be announced soon!
When can we expect your album to be released and what are your plans for touring?
There has been so much put into this project and there is such an incredible back-story to every piece of music that it makes this album quite different to my previous albums. I feel I need to be kind to myself and not fix stringent deadlines, but more ‘go with the flow’ depending on how the recordings evolve and who else might become involved in the project. Having said that, I definitely see the album ideally releasing later this year.
I also have plans to continue my ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ tour so that I can share my music with everyone. There was a ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ launch gig last year at London’s Crazy Coqs and then there’s been a series of sell-out gigs at many jazz venues across the country. So, we will see where that takes me this year.
As a full-time jazz musician, how can people support you and others working in The Arts?
Being a full-time musician is an absolute labour of love. Myself and my drummer husband both bit the bullet many years ago and gave up our professional careers in teaching and banking to become full-time musicians. We are firm believers in following dreams and that life is too short to not be doing what you love. It’s fair to say we have never looked back and we love what we do. However, there have been some trying times and it is incredibly hard work. The best way to support us and others like us is to get out to live events whenever and wherever you can. We appreciate that times are tough for everyone, but if you can afford to support live events then please, please do. It is also really nice to get support for our work in the form of positive comments on YouTube and on socials etc. We really do appreciate it so much when our music is positively received. If you add our tracks to your Spotify playlists and generally help to share our music then we are happy. Of course, if you want to purchase any of our music, we also love that!
Kim is an incredibly hard-working, conscientious, vibrant musician driven by passion, who is always innovative and surprising. A truly inspiring ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ project celebrating The Arts and let’s face it, The Arts has never been in more need of some serious tlc. Here’s to our brighter tomorrow.
Listen to Kim’s Music here
Follow Kim on Spotify