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Thanya Iyer to release new album KIND on July 31st via Topshelf Records

April 19, 2020
art by Emilie Muszczak

Montreal’s Thanya Iyer to release new album KIND on July 31st via Topshelf Records

Crucial questions around healing, cultural identity, and disability are among the many subjects visited by Thanya Iyer’s sophomore album, KIND. Although represented by a concise title, KIND explores an expansive universe where Iyer and her band examine interpersonal relationships, ideas of home and destination, and our collective responsibilities to one another. To aid in this journey of big, difficult questions, Iyer enlists the help of a huge cast of musicians, with guest features ranging from brass trios, vocal sextets, flautists, and harpists.

Underscoring its explorative nature, the constant movement of KIND melds the sounds of experimental pop and improv into a magical amalgam that teems with flashes of jazz and nuanced electronics. Iyer’s rhythm section pulsates with genre-defying palettes of blips and skitters that twist elegantly into the melodic voices of interlocking synth, strings, and piano, all led by Iyer’s enrapturing lilt. The rhythmic direction of bassist Alexander Kasirer-Smibert and percussionist Daniel Gélinas clears a navigable path in an otherwise unnavigable setting, built on the pair’s understated yet intriguing expertise.

The most succinct distillation of the album’s themes is perhaps found in KIND‘s tracklist. “Please Don’t Hold Me Hostage for Who I Am, Who I Was” and “Bring Back That Which is Kind to You” inspire philosophies of self-care and emergent reconfigurations of justice, calling on listeners to self-reflect and detach from our preconceptions of ourselves and our identity. At the end of its course, KIND arrives at the conclusion of acceptance and resolve: acceptance of our collective circumstance, and the resolve to make the choice to do better. 


  1. I Woke Up (in the Water)
  2. I Forget to Drink Water (Balance)
  3. My Mind Keeps Running
  4. Please Don’t Hold Me Hostage for Who I Am, Who I Was
  5. Look up to the Light
  6. Bring Back That Which is Kind to You
  7. Into the Water
  8. Let the Smoke Clear
  9. Alien
  10. I Just Lay Down My Head
  11. Always, Be Together


  • All songs by Thanya Iyer
  • Produced by Daniel Gélinas, Alexander Kasirer-Smibert & Thanya Iyer
  • Additional lyrics by Daniel Gélinas (track 7) and Alexander Kasirer-Smibert (tracks 8, 10)
  • Recorded and Mixed by Daniel Gélinas at Studio Chocolat Chaud (Ogden, QC), St George’s Anglican Church (Montréal, QC) and Resonance Café (Montréal, QC)
  • Mastered by Elton Chueng at Classick Studios (Chicago, IL)

Performed by:

  • Thanya Iyer: voice, synth, violin, piano
  • Alex Kasirer-Smibert: Bass, percussion, synth, voice
  • Daniel Gélinas: Drums, Drum machine, percussion, voice


  • Shaina Hayes: Voice (tracks 4,5)
  • Simon Millerd: Trumpet (tracks 2, 5, 6, 7, 8)
  • Mawmz Plus Choir [Shelby Cohen, Corey Gulkin, Emilie Kahn, Brigitte Naggar, Sarah Rossy, Tamara Sandor] (tracks 7,9)
  • Emilie Kahn: Harp (track 2)
  • Frédérique Roy: Accordion, Voice (track 6)
  • Devin Brahja Waldman: Saxophone (tracks 2, 3, 6)
  • Felix Del Tredici: Trombone (track 2, 6)
  • Anh Phung: Flute (track 3, 6, 11)
  • Scott Bevins: Trumpet + electronics (track 10)

Speaking of KIND- Thanya Iyer on KIND:
“To me – the story behind KIND represents a journey. A journey filled with questions that travel around grief, depression, anxiety, racism, disability, chronic pain, healing, self love, and giving that love outwards to the relationships around you. The creature in the film represents yourself, everything that you don’t want to face. But its important to love every part of you, including the parts that are hard to face and difficult to let go of. The journey of loving yourself is supported by your loved ones (your friends, your fam, your community, your people) but at the end of the day you have everything within you, all the strength is inside that you need to help yourselves, love yourselves, honour your good, your bad and the high/low tides of life.”

This standout stunning record will captivate you. It will take hold of every emotion you own and you will be left in a state of astoundment. Thanya Iyer conveys such strong power in her vocal abilities, the songwriting and the beautiful instrumentations- a truly mesmerizing force. You need to seek this artist and follow the harmony to what will be one of the most ravishing records of 2020. Fall into the lyrical lull and this record will elevate you to another level. Intricate, wistful, observant and beautiful. Easily this record will be the most crucial listen of this year- another incredible release on the Topshelf platform.

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