Kyle Kidd

American Dreams Releases: Soothsayer

"Living as a queer, androgynous person, I have always seen the world beyond the binary.” That’s Kyle Kidd (all pronouns) talking about their debut solo album, Soothsayer. “Those who came before me,” they say, “were deeply connected through spirituality, with the gift to see the future wielded through the powers of ritual.” Kidd titled the album Soothsayer on the basis of this ancestral background. But the title doesn’t just reference a term, it clarifies what the album is: an expansive rendering of life beyond the binary, balancing self-possession and self-preservation, the challenges of vulnerability and the redemptive possibilities of love -- all in a half-hour.

To hear Kidd’s voice is to hear majesty: dynamic, virtuosic, evocative, and - frankly - hard to believe. On the moving, pleading opener “Salvation,” Kidd rockets to sublime heights with the divine energy of a holy spirit visitation. Perhaps this is no surprise given Kidd’s performance history. After performing in church choir and community theater as a child, she competed on several editions of American Idol, broadening their scope as a member with acclaimed Cleveland band Mourning [A] BLKstar. One might expect confidence from a singer with this resume, and Kidd delivers right out of the gate with the atmospheric “Salvation,” their voice easily swelling into the eaves of their register, one-and-a-half octaves above middle C. It’s one of two percussion-less numbers on the album, supported instead by ripples of synth (Jah Nada) and guitar (Smith Taylor, Marcus Alan Ward). These instruments provide a foundation for Kidd’s vocal runs, with subtle changes providing big mood shifts. On the simmering slow burn of “Temple,” they’re joined by drums (Red Tailed Hawk Luna, Neil Chastain); elsewhere, brass, woodwinds, harp, violin. Throughout, there’s a sense of Kidd pushing against the edges of soul, electronic, and experimental sensibilities, bolstered by a slew of Cleveland- and Midwest-based musicians.

A sense of urgency permeates Soothsayer, the result of Kidd’s conscientious self-love pursuit, but also the need to survive and affirm: Lead single “TMS,” a deep, kinetic nugget that nods to house and techno traditions, exemplifies Kidd’s desire to celebrate themself, their identity, their drive, and their community, singing “I’m living in the moment, I’m living forever, I’m right on time.” But though the catchy outcome is hopeful and joyous, the place it came from is personal, perspective-shifting, and very, very real. “In the time of writing this album,” Kidd explains, “I was battling the reality of my need to be defined by my old scars. The experience revealed that each moment I have overcome has in fact been an initiation of my becoming.”

Soothsayer is the result of that process, a burst of alchemical sparks equally at home on the dancefloor, on a turntable or in a concert hall. It’s not just the start of a new chapter, not just a sonic diary of the travails of love: “This album tells the story of longing to be saved, and realizing instead that salvation is in the deep work of self-love.” Kidd says. “It is divine. It is a vision of the future.”


© American Dreams Records 2021

Subscribe to the American Dreams Newsletter!