By: Amanda Hather
Toronto R&B group Kuya consists of four members, brothers Sammy and Bobby from Toronto, and Johann and Jayson from Montreal. Before the group made their comeback, Sammy and Bobby were known for their production of music and started up Kuya Productions. Over the years they had worked with artists such as Jesse McCartney, Big Time Rush, Akon, and many others.
After about 10 years out of being a band, they have gotten back together and are ready to release new music. We were lucky enough to have an email interview with the band. Keep reading to learn more about them and their new music.
What made you get the band back together?
Kuya: We’ve always been close to each other no matter what the circumstances might be. But it was because of this song and the message that it got us to realize that this was something really special. That’s all it took to inspire a comeback.
What inspired you to first start playing music?
Kuya: We grew up listening to artists such as Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Donny Hathaway. But really it was our love for 90s R&B. Seeing groups like Boyz II Men , Jodeci and Dru Hill made us believe we could be up on stage together as well. It was that time in music that Kuya was formed.
If you could work with any band or artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Kuya: Would love to work with Prince and feed off his creative genius. Also the Beatles. Their songs always had a story, which were always genuine. And you saw their progression of their artistry as a band, with every album that came out
If someone hadn’t heard your music before, how would you describe it to them? What song would you suggest they listen to first?
Kuya: I would define our music as alternative R&B and I would suggest listening to artists like Mikky Ekko. James Blake, Daley and Sam Smith. “Pull Me Down” By Mikky Ekko would be a good reference.
What advice would you give to someone trying to break out in the music industry?
Kuya: Do You. Own your music and stand by it. OH….and if your going to do it, you will need to invest into your craft and think long term. Make the right connections, get out there and play live. People will feel it and want to follow and support it.
Have you always wanted to do something with music?
Kuya: Absolutely. Whether it was being artists ourselves, to writing and producing. All four of us have performed since our childhood.
Do you feel that being in production for so many years gives you a different perspective on writing your own songs?
Kuya: Yes because we’ve learned so much from working with artists In different genres. Also we’ve produced some successful radio singles and know what it takes to write a hit song. This knowledge is a great foundation we use and apply when writing for our own project.
When you’re writing songs, what comes first? (E.g. lyrics, melody, etc.)
Kuya: It depends. Some days humming a melody can trigger an idea. Other times a lyric or concept may set it off. We try to stay open and ready as the ideas come along.
What’s one thing fans would be surprised to know about you?
Kuya: We do not live in the same city. We’re corny dudes that enjoy corny jokes
Now for a few fun questions:
Go to karaoke song?
Kuya: Turn the Lights Down Low , Bob Marley.
You’re stranded on a desert island, name three things you would want to have with you.
Kuya: Hot women, a guitar and some sunblock
Any Canadian band/artist you would recommend to your fans?
Kuya: Drake, Arcade Fire, JRDN, Serena Ryder
If you could see any band or artist in concert, who would it be?
Kuya: Imagine Dragons
Top three places you’d like to travel?
Kuya: Philippines, Greece, Brazil
Favourite social media site?
If you were ever in charge of putting together a festival, who would you have playing at it?
Kuya: Imagine Dragons, Mumford and Sons, KUYA, JAY-Z , Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Beyonce
Do you have any hidden talents?
Kuya: Johann beatboxes. Bobby is good at making puns. Jayson skateboards, Sammy throws darts
What do you think your most played song on your iPod is?
Kuya: Bittersweet by Lewis Taylor.
Favourite flavour of ice cream?
Kuya: Mint Chocolate Chip for Johann. Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt for Sammy. Pistachio Gelato for Bobby. Heavenly Hash for Jayson.
For more information on Kuya, check out the links below:
Kuya on social media:
I’m a Toronto girl born and raised but have been living in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick since 2010. Music and writing are my two passions, so what better place for me to be than a writer with Canadian Beats? I have been writing for the blog since May of 2013 and have had so many great experiences because of it. I listen to almost every kind of music but my favourites are pop rock, rock, indie, folk, and any other combinations of them. Concerts are definitely my favourite place to be, especially when you’re right against the barricade and can feel the energy from the band and the crowd, everyone singing the same lyrics and moving to the music. I also have a college degree in Business Administration and hope to one day be able to publish a novel.