A native of Vermont, Kristina Stykos is one in a million. She is not only a gifted singer/songwriter she is a warrior woman on a mission. Her songs fill your spirit with a drive to succeed and overcome and the music is intoxicating.
She began her career in 2008 as an audio engineer and earned a certificate in studio production from Berklee School of Music. Today she has garnered credit to her success with upwards of 30 albums from her recording loft, Pepperbox Studio, a beautiful place to record that is solar, wind and generator-powered, plus…fully off the grid. She is also the proud owner of a small Americana label called Thunder Ridge Records.
2013 she was awarded “Best Songwriter of 2013” by Vermont’s,
Times Argus newspaper for
“Wyoming Territory”, her 5th solo album. The album was supported by the Ucross Foundation & Brush Creek artist residence of Wyoming.
Kristina’s newest album, “River of Light” brings on board Jackson Browne guitarist Val McCallum and several other notable friends and session players. Each album that Stykos completes is a masterpiece of art and a miracle.
You see, in 2017 Stykos was diagnosed with a rare and challenging disorder. She was diagnosed with “Spasmodic Dysphonia.”
Spasmodic dysphonia is a disease caused by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the voice box (larynx). Signs and symptoms may range from occasional difficulty saying a word or two to substantial difficulty speaking that interferes with communication. Spasmodic dysphonia causes the voice to have a tight, strained, or strangled quality. While the cause of spasmodic dysphonia is unknown, some researchers think it might be caused by problems with the basal ganglia in the brain.
There is a wide range of speaking difficulties that may be associated with spasmodic dysphonia. Some affected individuals may occasionally struggle to say a word or two, while others may have substantial difficulty speaking that interferes with communication. Some types of speech, such as singing, laughing, or yelling, may be unaffected. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/7668/spasmodic-dysphonia
Her voice is now gritty, seasoned, and raw with passion. Her vocals are a testament to the love, dedication, and passion she instills in her music.
“Since You Asked” touched deeply on my emotions. Such talent, so gifted. Please enjoy it here:
Stykos describes the album “River of Light” as “an exciting departure from anything I’ve done before.” “I’m a poet-musician working at the outer boundaries of the music industry, and I believe that we can all take control of our own message.” (quote)
“Since she started churning out recordings on her Thunder Ridge Records imprint in 2005, Kristina Stykos has embraced a unique vision of Vermont. Her dark and complex view of life in the Green Mountains is embodied by the folk-rock songwriter’s Pepperbox Studio, where she’s produced her own albums and dozens more for other artists. The off-the-grid studio is scenic and homey, a quintessentially rustic Vermont setting with sweeping mountain panoramas. But life there is as isolating and unforgiving as it is beautiful. That dichotomy has long informed Stykos’ music, making hers a singular Vermont voice — up to and including when she lost it.
In 2017, Stykos was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that
makes speaking and singing difficult or even impossible. It’s the same ailment that has long plagued British folk-rock singer Linda Thompson. But rather than cowering in the face of a career-threatening disability, Stykos confronted it head-on. As she told Seven Days in early 2018, “If I can’t sing, I’ll talk.”
On River of Light, her recently released sixth album, Stykos does both. She alternates between a dusky melodic rasp and a sort of spoken-word style that’s equal parts slam poetry and talking blues, but set against a twangy, alt-country backdrop. Stykos’ songwriting has always had a jagged edge. If anything, her vocal condition enhances that rough-hewn quality, bringing the stark isolation of her writing into finer focus.” Dan Bolles, Seven Days
“Overall, Stykos comes across as a fiercely independent spirit roaming the land and thinking a lot about the beauty and brutality of her immediate surroundings and, by extension, the world.” Martin Raybould, Whisperinandhollerin, Ireland – UK
Kristina is a solo artist and does not have a full band but the following musicians performed on her album. Val McCallum: guitars, bass, vocals, and lap steel. Steve Mayone: guitars, bass, vocals, and lap steel. Jeff Berlin on drums, Patrick Ross on fiddle, and cello, and Abby Jenne doing a superb job on backing vocals. Kristina is thought to be in the genres of outlaw country, Americana, roots rock, folk, and said to resemble the styles of Patti Smith, Lucinda Williams, Melissa Etheridge, Bob Dylan, and Gillian Welch.
For more information on Kristina and her music please visit the sites below. All media links and photos are courtesy of Independent Music Promotions.