Maximal Music Sync is so excited to welcome New York-based alternative R&B songstress Iyves to our roster!
You might best remember Iyves from her soulful 2014 debut single “Out of Touch”(premiered on Pigeons and Planes) or from her follow up, the glimmery stunner “Wilinout” (premiered on Noisey). However you best recall the alternative/electric R&B artist, she has left a lasting mark. Now she’s back and sounding bigger and better than ever. Songs like “Not Afraid to Fall” and “Palms” from her upcoming Chromatic EP stand as a message from Iyves; she is back and here to stay.
Hannah Taxman, best known by her stage moniker, Iyves, is a Colorado native, now based in New York. While undergoing a period of major life transitions— endings and new beginnings in relationships and with collaborators, changes in scenery— Iyves has been relentlessly pursuing and creating new music. This combination has resulted in the creation of her unique personal sound, as evidenced on her stunning debut EP, Chromatic.
A serendipitous meeting with REFS producer Zach Lipkins provided her with exactly the outlet she needed to realize the full potential of her sound, her “voice”. “Working with Zach was immediately comfortable, and familiar; yet I discovered so much new and unfamiliar things within myself. The experience made me unafraid to use my voice as a vehicle to tell my stories of pain as well as those of triumph.” This period in her life also exposed her to new contemporary influences like SZA, Solange, and NAO.
Iyves speaks often about her constant evolution and strong pursuit to develop her artistry. She recalls this fire within her since she was a young girl. She grew up in a musical home surrounded by instruments and relied on music as her main form of expression. The natural environment of her home in Boulder, Colorado, was extremely influential and impactful to her songwriting and craftsmanship. The precision and ethereal vocal layers that build up the imagery and soundscape of her music are something that leave Iyves’s unique fingerprint on her creations. She draws from a myriad of natural and musical inspirations to develop her deep soulful vocals and R&B groove. “Soul music has always spoken to me,” she muses when asked about her major influences, ranging from the legends of soul to the timeless grit of southern blues. “If you respect those that come before you, you have more of an understanding of what modern music can be,” adds Iyves.
The result of her collaboration with Lipkins is a collection of songs detailing the competing emotions that one experiences at the end of a long-term relationship. From the impactful opener, “Pressure”, detailing the realization that a relationship is over, the listener is taken on a journey to the truthful closer, “Phantom”, which describes the discovery of a higher self-awareness. “When I was able to let loose and belt out the words, it was an extremely cathartic and spiritual experience for me. It was a release of emotions as well as a cleansing of what this period of my life had been for me.” It was just the tip of the iceburg, Iyves mentions— she is discovering a new sense and access point in her voice to drive the vehicle of her instrument.
The other tracks on the EP continue to represent a nuanced departure from traditional breakup songs, depicting the brutally honest and confusing emotions of the “transition” experience. The haunting title track, “Chromatic”, sonically balances layered vocals with powerful rhythms as an expression of one’s relationship coming to an end while also embracing the resultant, often frightening, yet exciting, revelations of self-discovery and an appreciation for new experiences. Iyves’ full vocal range can best be heard when she tackles her most cathartic song on the EP, “Let It Play”, which illustrates how she allowed herself to let a relationship go, and begin to move on. Songs like “Not Afraid to Fall” and “Palms” state that no matter what hardships and confusion come her way, she is clearly here to stay and persevere.
With this new release, Iyves has embraced themes of vulnerability and change. While she has been quiet on the scene, she has been working with a creative team that aligns with where she is currently as an artist. “I’m excited to tell my story on my terms. This is some of my most honest work to date, and it was important for me to step back and ask myself not only who I am, but who I am continuously becoming.”
Iyves’ powerful EP, Chromatic, is as much a forward-leaning memento of evolution and self-discovery as it is an ode to the legendary female vocalists of music’s past. It re-introduces Iyves to the music scene as an artist without compromise or artifice. “At the end of the day, you really only have yourself, and that is indeed enough,” she confidently concludes.