Holler Country Music

EXCLUSIVE: Kyshona Premieres ‘Carolina’ Featuring Keb’ Mo’ and Written with Brittney Spencer

April 4, 2024 11:00 am GMT

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"My relationship with South Carolina is a complicated one,” Kyshona says about her forthcoming single. “It was a hard place to grow up, but a beautiful place full of a cultural richness and family history to return to and visit. 'Carolina' is, at times, a love song to my home state and as well as a breakup letter. Sometimes you need a little distance to understand the value of the place that raised you."

“I can't separate the wonder from the why / The dying tree I used to climb still got blood on the vine,” she sings in the opening verse of the song, a soul stirring exploration of the complexities of the idea of “home” and belonging, and the power of storytelling and art to make sense of it all.

“I went searching for redemption / Found what I was missing in a song,” she sings as a steaming country funk beat bubbles beneath the surface before it boils over and it all ends up sounding something like Odetta cutting a '70s Stax slow jam.

Taken from Kyshona’s highly anticipated forthcoming album, Legacy, release on April 26th via Soundly Music, ‘Carolina’ was co-written with Brittney Spencer and like all of Kyshona’s work it’s a puzzle piece that comes together to form a bigger picture.

Listen to ‘Carolina’ (featuring Keb’ Mo’)’ exclusively on Holler below.

Kyshona has never been an artist who thinks small, and the Nashville-based artist, music therapist, and activist embarked on a deeply personal exploration of her ancestral history, family, and communities for the album. Co-produced with GRAMMY-nominated producer, engineer and mixer Rachael Moore, Legacy tells the long story of her family’s journey; through stories, photos, film, ancestry and genealogy research, and travels in the power of place, Kyshona shares that story while inviting listeners and concert goers to join her in exploration of self, healing and growth.

The album boasts guest contributions from luminaries like Ruthie Foster, Keb Mo', Odessa Settles, and others, making it a rich tapestry of voices and experiences. The collaborative effort extends to songwriting, with contributions from Aaron Lee Tasjan, Brittney Spencer, Caroline Spence, Jess Nolan, Kyshona's brother Kelvin Armstrong, and her late grandfather Hawthorne “H.T.” Armstrong

Storytelling is the way we pass information - between friends, colleagues, and family. Stories are how we imprint our culture and give gifts from one generation to the next. In telling our stories of the past, we shape a collective future informed by where we have travelled, all we have learned, and who we have been.

The album is more than just music; it's a project rooted in deep research. Kyshona collaborated with a genealogist at The Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, tracing five generations, with records dating back to the 1860 US Census Slave Schedules.

Legacy is released on April 26th via Soundly Music. ‘Carolina’ (Featuring Keb’ Mo’)’ is released on April 5th.

Written by Jof Owen
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