By Simone Goldstone | Special to the Newport Beach Independent
Singer-songwriter Lia Menaker is getting better with age.
The NB Indy last encountered Menaker in the fall of 2017 when the East Coast native embarked on a two-month solo tour in support of her debut record release that included stops at the renowned Blue Beet in Newport Beach and Casa Restaurant in Costa Mesa. [Read that article here]
Now, Menaker has released a follow-up EP entitled “I Am Kyros,” a collection of originals songs with influences ranging from Amy Winehouse to Fiona Apple. The recording explores Menaker’s changing identity and directions after age 30.
Since releasing Animal Behavior, her debut album with songs mostly written in her 20s, Menaker took a fellowship job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “I thought in Global Health I could make a difference, but I felt really dead inside not having that creative part of my life,” recalled Menaker.
Her leap away from job security and into pursuing music as her main purpose and career is a large part of what influenced her new songs. “I Am Kyros) has five songs that detail Menaker’s exploration inward.
The song “All My Life” was written when she started to take music seriously.
“I was still feeling out the business, and it was hard to get people’s attention,” explained Menaker. “It was a song out of the frustration that this was my purpose. We can become attached to our purpose in unhealthy ways, too.”
Menaker said the song “Some Kind” is “a reflection of where I am in life. Who are we really? We’re not just the stories we tell ourselves.”
“Imprinted” is meant to be a “birds-eye view picture of it all,” she said. “It looks at how we are as a culture, and how our view of life and success comes so much from the ego. Culturally, we’re made to believe that if you don’t make it to a certain level of success, you’re not as important or good enough.”
“Stranger” was written when Menaker started working at the CDC and dropped all the things in her life that felt true to her life.
“I’m in my 30s and I should be setting up this future for myself, but it was not where I was meant to be,” she stated. “I’m this artist surrounded by scientists. Why do we keep running away from the things that make us feel whole?”
The EP ends with “To Be Human.”
“This song was written out of my frustrations of social media. Is it bad that we now use it as our main way or interacting with others? Maybe it’s just the new way of being human.”
“I Am Kyros” sounds almost tribal, a far cry from the jazz and piano sounds of Animal Behavior.
“I got more raspy and free in discovering my own voice,” said Menaker. “I started buying software to record my own songs. I worked on Ableton (a music production application) and a vocal looper. I was very inspired by Bjork and SOHN.”
Menaker’s future plans for “I Am Kyros” include a tour when COVID-19 restrictions are eased (hopefully back to the Newport Beach area). For now, she’s writing more songs.
“I want to get a good volume of music out there,” she said. “I want to keep releasing a few songs every year and play music in places with a solid fan base. I’m starting to get an international fan base from Twitch (a live streaming program).”
Her music has been licensed for Sync and has even appeared in a small Italian TV show. “It’s been a tough road until the last 8 months or so,” she shares.
Menaker’s background in musical theater allows her emotions to be expressed in her music in ways that are soulful and ear-catching. “I Am Kyros” ultimately is a complex meditation on life, purpose, and being human—and a testament that her change in direction has paid off.
For more information and to access her music, visit www.LiaMenaker.com.