We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyrey (Sikai) Bryan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyrey (Sikai), what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
I think the most important thing that the music industry has taught me is that you’ll never be as valued for your art as you feel you should be. Keep putting your work in and building on your brand so that you can create partnerships down the line if you choose. You still want to maintain as much control and ownership as possible. Many people push to stay independent with all of the “do it yourself” tools we have today, but it can still be time consuming and financially draining. Your worth in the market might not reflect when in negotiations. It’s important to know your insights and engagements. I’ve learned to be more hands on outside of the music. Having your business in order is essential. If you’re consistent then no one can take anything from you figuratively speaking, but if you truly have your business correct then no one can take anything from you literally speaking. We work really hard to put out our personal art and creative ideas. We lose sight of how successful we can become to the masses because it’s quite hard to tap into a fan base. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a great product. It’s important to keep in line with your goals and to continue moving forward. Everything will start to fall in place and gain the attention over time, and sometimes that can be very quick so you want to be ready. We have a habit of thinking that we must not be doing something right if there’s no instant validation. Even the overnight stories take time. Delayed returns are one of the reasons why many of us quit early. We live for the pleasures of having it all right now instead of thinking long term.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am one of ‘thee’ best song writer’s. I’ve perfected the craft over time. It really sets me apart and I take extreme pride in that. I’m truly an artist. I’m able to say it in that way because I strongly believe in my song-writing capabilities. I’m one of the best because I’m able to provide content and deliver it appropriately. I can also be very captivating. I’ve been working on music since I was about six years old. My first song was about ice cream. Oddly enough, those experiences have gained me an advantage. Particularly when it comes to criticism and feedback. Putting art out into the world for so long you learn that you are leaving yourself open for any ridicule. Taking a risk that huge I learned to start taking more chances with my music or any ideas that I have in life. I live without the fear. The worse thing that can happen is someone may say they don’t like it. That thought process helps me to get through those low points of uncertainty and despair. I look forward to presenting fans with relatable content. It gets me excited. I like being realistic in a culture where we have learned to glorify fantasy and being the people we are not. I’ve only ever wanted to just be myself and not to ever be ashamed of it. There are so many people who live in constant comparison and social competitions that they forget to celebrate their own personal wins. They’re always focused on the next person and they may even start to question if they’ve done anything special at all. I’ve been guilty of it myself. We only really get to see accomplishments of other’s and not many of the failures. Both are a great part of the success story. It’s in our nature to always want more for ourselves whether we’re putting the work in to get it or not. It is never easy but overcoming these challenges in that way has helped me to gain a mindset that removed doubt. It allows me to bring a different vibe to my music and you can tell right away. It’s not easy to build a fan base or a connection where people are willing and ready to support. There’s an abundance of people who complain about a lack of support. We often disregard the majority who are caught in similar struggles and focus on those who seemingly have the things we admire or want. We may even disregard the people who are actually rooting for us. I want the world to know that it is absolutely okay to take risks and admit to your failures just as long as you keep going. I’ve learned to pay attention to the people who are paying attention to me. It helps with direction. This hip-hop culture isn’t always based on support and love, but hard work proves undeniable. My brand has gained attention, and I don’t take this journey for granted. There’s still so much more left to do. I find peace in knowing who I am and what I identify with. Creating evidence of who I am allowed me to build somewhat of a team. People trust in the thing’s they can physically see, but there are still difficulties in cross functioning. There are pressures that begin to come about in certain areas with people from different departments or who cater to different ideas. It can cause friction and it’s important to step outside of yourself and understand all roles and how they must operate towards the grand scheme.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I can be super random and spontaneous when it comes to planning so there’s very little planning to begin with honestly. Due to this fact I do have some pretty clutch go-to spots in the back of my mind. I won’t give up too many of my secrets but hiking is always in the game plan. I’m down to vibe on East Rock or Sleeping Giant. Being out in nature always makes for good bonding time. Plus the views alone are just epic. If those views won’t suffice we can always do a tandem jump at Danielson. Then we can hit the outlets for some new Nike or Adidas apparel. I keep pretty active so I’m always down for more workout gear. I’d probably want to head over the race track afterwards and then later make it a casino night. That week would also more than likely consist of bowling matches, axe throwing, and skeet shooting. I’d have a few brunch spots lined up because everyone loves brunch. I’m also a huge fan of Mexican food and sports bars so Puerta Vallarta is one of my favorites and would be a perfect location for food and drinks. Connecticut has some awesome places that I can honorably mention for food and desserts like Milkcraft, Sugar Bakery, Donut Crazy, Mecha Noodle Bar, Garden Catering, and Stowe’s. Just to name a few places that are pretty specific to this area. I’d also want to plan a studio recording session for that week. If I can vibe with you in the studio that confirms it all. I love receiving new inspiration. The best people to hang with are the ones who are open to new ideas and trying new things. They bring in great energy and conversation. It’s so important that they are appreciative as well. So many people feel like they are obligated to the benefits of you. They don’t see the value in it because they believe you’re supposed to be doing these things for them. We can be blessed with the opportunity to endure an experience that we once only dreamed of, and we shouldn’t take that for granted. Especially knowing that so many others may not be able to. The people that appreciate your time, efforts, and presence make you feel great about lending it. I’m often interested in people who have a common respect and who have chosen different career paths, because I like learning new things or hearing about different fields of work. It’s a plus if you’re into music and listening to new artists. I love exchanging playlists. People with different views, patience, understanding, and respect are the coolest.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have a really solid foundation of family and friends that have been super supportive throughout the years. There’s quite a few to name when it comes to those who keep me encouraged, but I’m blessed to have such great people around me. One’s that have allowed me to make my own mistakes as well as my flourish in my own personal growth. They’ve accepted me for who I am. It’s not about being perfect, but more so being consistent. The biggest thing is that they hold me accountable. I’ve grown to appreciate that. I always recognize my mother and god parents for vital lessons on perspective and giving me the space to navigate my talents. I used to think my talents were normal because they came super easy to me, but I’ve learned that we often forget how special we are when things are easy for us. We forget about perspective and how these things may not come as easy for others. It’s important to keep things on a bird’s eye level. My family started a non-profit organization in 2018. The Melville Family Foundation, which motivates the understanding of world community. Things are much larger than what we see in our own environment. We have programs that encourage academic excellence, economic stability, and food security for children in the southern sector of Dallas, TX. Being able to see the impact of what the foundation along with other generous individuals and organizations is doing most certainly keeps me inspired to do my part. In whichever way that may be, I understand the cliche of being the change you would like to see. I bring that attitude into my business and my art. I’ll name a few others who have contributed effort, support, love, and encouragement in my life. Mr. Roosevelt Young, Myles, Hailey, Kayla, Sterling, Bianca, Dominique, June, Clarence, Tyler, Marlon, Nigee, Sheika, Mykel, Whit, and the list goes on. I appreciate everyone who has been there for me throughout my process of starting my business and record label.
Sarah Seymour @Sassafresa Corey Robertson @icrvision Thomas Jansson @toms.design.vault