Despite not being big on birthdays, Khyenci Tienne released a three-track project titled Balance in a celebratory manner for her 21st birthday. Listeners have probably seen the singer featured on singles along with other artists like CJ, Cash Campain and T Carrier. However, this time around she went solo, showing new and old fans a taste of her R&B soulfuness.
You celebrated your 21st birthday by dropping Balance. Why did you decide to release it that way?
I’m usually not a big fan of birthdays, to be honest. So I usually pretend that it’s not my birthday. I just try to get through it without making it into a big deal. But this is obviously a big birthday turning 21. Definitely excited for the mark of turning 21, I can go places and do all the things that I haven’t been able to do. I think the last year of my life it’s been really crazy. Upon turning 21 this year, I’m a really different person than I was last year. Around my birthday last year, there was a lot going on. I’m really proud of myself for coming this far. I really started to feel confident within this last year, so what better way to make music that encompasses that and share it for myself. Definitely was kind of therapeutic for me. And also to let people hear what I kind of am now that I’m coming into my adulthood. My birthday present to myself to celebrate my confidence.
In your project, you touched on self-confidence, caring for yourself, and believing in yourself. Was that a message to yourself or something to shoot out to other people? Why did you focus on those specific things?
Those concepts are really big for me in my life. Those are things that I really try to speak on, touch on, and push to the people around me. As well as a constant reminder to myself because I have a past that really kind of spotted with a lot of struggles with myself. Not feeling confident, not feeling strong, not feeling that I could handle things that happen. And I think we live in a society that gets very distracting by a lot of things that are going on. It’s fine but I feel like sometimes we don’t take enough time to remind ourselves [that] exactly where we are and what we are working on right now is okay. So I like to touch on the importance of just saying this is where I am in my life right now and it’s okay to take the time to care for myself and to be patient with myself. So, it’s equal parts message to me and everyone else.
So how do you keep your R&B sound afloat in a sea full of Bay Area music?
I don’t think it takes too much effort per se. It’s really just when I’m in a creative space I tend to separate myself. Most of my friends are music makers too, so I listen to a lot of music and to a lot of Bay Area music. But I also know what inspired me growing up and what I like to listen to. And I tend to, especially when working on a song or project, just lock back into the stuff that started to inspire me when I was just beginning with music. I’m more jazz and R&B influenced than Bay Area music influenced. I go into a creative hermit, hide away with my music. I don’t want to be influenced too much, I really just like making whatever feels right.
Listen to Balance below: