Interview by Marie-Pauline Cesari

Today, we’re excited to introduce Toronto-based R&B artist Lyhz and her latest single, “Temporary,” dropping May 3rd. This track, part of her upcoming 2025 EP, blends bittersweet authenticity with early 2000s R&B vibes. With her debut single “Enough” already making waves, Lyhz is poised to captivate audiences once again. Join us as we dive into her musical journey and uncover the inspiration behind her captivating sound.

What initially sparked your passion for music, and how has that passion evolved throughout your journey as an artist?

My introduction to music began in the church – I remember being captivated by gospel choirs, their expansive vocal ranges, the intricate musical arrangements that made each song feel larger than life, and the raw talent and emotion emanating from the singers. The pivotal moment for me was singing at a wedding, performing the very first song I had learned – Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Witnessing the crowd’s reaction and receiving personal feedback on how moved they were was incredibly inspiring. It ignited a desire within me to not only move people with my singing but also to create my own songs that could inspire and resonate with listeners.

Could you share some of your musical icons or inspirations who have played a significant role in shaping your artistic style and vision?

Brandy, often hailed as the “vocal bible,” stands as one of my greatest musical influences. I frequently revisit her third studio album, “Full Moon,” for its lush vocals and innovative techniques like stacked vocals, which continue to influence R&B music today. Beyond music, her versatility shines through in her acting roles, particularly in television’s “Moesha,” and her portrayal of Cinderella in the live-action adaptation was truly remarkable. She has been a trailblazer for black women in music and entertainment.

Rihanna and Mya are also artists from whom I draw inspiration. Their timeless beauty and distinctive sense of style set them apart in the R&B landscape. Lastly, Whitney Houston remains an eternal source of inspiration. Her unmatched vocal range, captivating performances, magnetic charisma, and exceptional songwriting cement her as the epitome of a star, a standard that has yet to be surpassed.

If you could describe your music style in just three words, what would they be?

Nostalgic, Soulful, and Introspective.

My style is deeply rooted in soulfulness, drawing inspiration from my gospel background and legendary vocalists such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Keely Price, and Brandy, who were celebrated for their powerful vocals. Additionally, I would characterize my sound as nostalgic, as I often draw from the rich soundscapes of the early 2000s, embracing the rhythms, melodies, and production stylings of artists like Amelie, Bobby Valentino, and Mya.

If someone were to hear your music for the first time, which song would you recommend as the perfect introduction to your sound?

I would highly recommend “Temporary” as the ideal starting point. Not only does the song carry themes that resonate universally, regardless of where one is in life, but it also showcases a meticulously crafted arrangement and production that contribute significantly to its captivating soundscape.

As an independent artist, what challenges have you faced in the music industry, and how have you overcome them?

One of the significant challenges I’ve encountered is persuading individuals to invest the necessary time and effort into realizing my artistic vision. I’ve learned that simply paying for expertise and experience doesn’t guarantee the same level of passion and dedication. To address this, I’ve prioritized collaborating with individuals whose goals align with mine and who genuinely love their craft, whether it’s in photography, videography, production, or other areas, fostering long-term working relationships based on mutual respect and shared vision.

Another challenge I’ve navigated is the pervasive culture of comparison in the industry. In a landscape where attention spans are short and virality is expected, there’s a constant pressure to outdo others who are in the spotlight. However, I’ve come to realize the importance of giving myself grace and allowing myself the necessary time to pursue my dreams, understanding that everyone’s journey is unique and that true fulfillment comes from staying true to oneself rather than chasing fleeting trends or comparing milestones with others.

Your new single “Temporary” explores themes of fleeting relationships and acceptance of impermanence. What inspired you to delve into this subject?

Ironically, the title “Temporary” was inspired by my experiences in short-term positions during internships and contract work. The song isn’t about romantic love but reflects my post-university transition, where I felt like I was constantly moving through short-lived jobs, friendships, and opportunities in my pursuit of a media career. Despite my efforts, life felt like a revolving door of beginnings and endings, often leaving me disappointed as soon as I became familiar with something or someone, it was time to say goodbye. “Temporary” reflects the universal desire for connections and experiences that endure beyond fleeting moments.

You mentioned the search for a voice and sound that really resonate with you. What steps have you taken to hone that authenticity?

Writing with intentionality has been key in my search for authenticity. Initially, I tried to emulate the styles of popular artists like SZA and Summer Walker, but I realized their success came from developing unique styles true to themselves. Moving away from imitating successful trends helped me break free from constant comparison and explore music that truly resonated with me.

“Temporary” is part of your anticipated 2025 EP. Can you give us a glimpse into what listeners can expect from the EP as a whole?

Drawing from my love for classical music and jazz, I’ve incorporated elements of orchestration into “Temporary,” with string crescendos and violin riffs enhancing its sonic landscape. This orchestral influence will be further explored in my EP, with songs featuring symphonic intros, instrumental breaks, and lush arrangements. Listeners can expect a smooth, luxurious, and cinematic experience, akin to a soundtrack to a movie.

In your opinion, what sets “Temporary” apart from other contemporary R&B tracks, both lyrically and sonically?

Lyrically, “Temporary” aims to impart a message of hope and resilience, empowering listeners facing similar circumstances to embrace the transient nature of life as a gateway to fulfilling destinies. Sonically, the song pays homage to early 2000s R&B with its vocal buildups, stacked harmonies, and layered adlibs, diverging from the prevalent trend of minimalistic vocals in contemporary R&B. Despite these differences, each contemporary R&B track possesses its own unique flair, and “Temporary” is no exception.

How does fashion play a role in your life and artistic expression, and how does it intersect with your music and identity as an artist?

Fashion serves as a means for me to express my personality visually and complement the mood of my music through visuals and cover artwork. For instance, the aesthetic for “Temporary” draws inspiration from high fashion and trendy styles of the early 2000s, reminiscent of iconic fashion-focused TV shows and movies like “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” I view fashion as a tool to create recognizable eras alongside the evolving sounds of my music, akin to artists like Rihanna, who utilized fashion to reflect different phases of her career. By experimenting with styling and wardrobe, I aim to transport listeners to distinct eras when experiencing my music.

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for your music career, particularly after the release of “Temporary” and your upcoming EP?

Beyond “Temporary” and the EP release, my aspirations extend to expanding my role as a songwriter in the music industry. I’m passionate about storytelling and creating diverse narratives beyond the confines of R&B, and I look forward to collaborating with talented individuals in songwriting camps to further explore this avenue. Additionally, I aspire to grow as a performer, connecting with audiences worldwide through live performances and showcases, refining my craft and stage presence along the way.