Former FDM bandmember Kyle Lettman has just released his second EP Underconstruction which takes memorable elements of his past to construct the future. When he was in FDM he was signed to Ne-Yo’s Compound Music working alongside the label boss and the likes of Mary J Blige. Kyle’s songwriting ability has led to him writing alongside artists such as Frank Ocean, Nicole Sherzinger, Kele La Roc and Varren Wade. We caught up with Kyle to find out more about his solo career.
Tell us bit about yourself - what were you doing before you started making music?
What I really wanted to do was comedy, Eddie Murphy was the guy I looked up to, so I was on the path to becoming an actor. I got side tracked by FDM, but Ii was always involved in entertainment, one way or another.
What was the first style or genre of music you really got into? Was their a particular song or artist who inspired you?
Hip hop and R&B was my first love, my father loved slow jams so I quickly got involved in that: Whitney Houston, Oletta Adams, Freddie Jackson, Celine Dion, Anita Baker - my Pops was a true romantic. I found myself into Usher, Michael Jackson and D’Angelo more but that education in soul music set the base of my musical journey. Usher - “My Way”, “Nice & Slow”… those songs made me dance. I really want to dance and sing.
How do you set about writing tunes? Is there a common starting point for your work?
I listen to the instrumental first, just listen, then I think about how the track makes me feel: sad, happy, sexy, angry? Then I think about what to say with that emotion, the song practically writes itself after that. Just need to figure how to tie it all together in a couple lines which would be the chorus.
What was it like in the band Fundamental? What did you learn from being sign to Ne-Yo’s Compound Music?
It was an amazing experience, learnt a ton of things, met a ton of influential people and had a lot of unforgettable experiences. Boy i could tell you some stories, but i won’t! There’s a time and a place for all that… lol.
I learnt the behind-the-scenes of how Ne-Yo did his thing, how he wrote and created songs, how much a talented team around you helps you and how much work goes into what people consider success.
Tell us about new single “Crush”. What’s the tune about?
“Crush” is my outlet, my connection to Jamaica where I grew up. I love to dance and watch people dance so my team and I really wanted to create a track encompassing the whole style and idea of that reggae-ton, new age vibe. Like that whole Sean Paul flex.. commercial bashment.
I learnt the behind-the-scenes of how Ne-Yo did his thing.
If your music was a person, how would you describe their personality and where would they live?
Hmmmmm, if music was a person. Ok, SHE would be gentle, affectionate and understanding. She would give massages when you’re feeling tired and she would live in my house so she would be there when when I get home from work.
Do you have any pre-set rituals?
I actually do 50 press-ups before I do any singing at a gig if I have the space… lol. Apart from that I don’t do anything unusual.
What are your top three “must haves” while you’re on tour?
Water, my laptop and my ruck sack.. it’s literally got everything i need in it.
What have you been listening to this year? Can you give us a top three records of 2015 so far?
“Earned It” - Weeknd “Four Five Seconds” - Rihanna “Liquor” - Chris Brown
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Work out more, sing more and watch out for one particular ex-girlfriend.
Finally, what’s coming up at the end of 2015 and into 2016?
We’re working on an album and I’m currently acting in a web series, the EP is due out and I’m also working with a master dance choreographer called Mark Swarf. There’s a lot of projects happening in-between - trust me my team keeps me very busy - but I enjoy it all.
Fingers crossed 2016 will be a big year for the LateNightLabs team!
Download Kyle Lettmann’s EP Underconstruction on iTunes here.