By Sadie Bell, Billboard
CYN, born Cynthia Nabozny, is on the brink of cultivating the dreamy music career that nearly every singer daydreams about, but few can seriously fathom. Just a few years ago, CYN was a teenager growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, jotting lyrics in notebooks and escaping the melancholy of middle America through music. But now, because of her delightful voice and unabashed determination, CYN finds herself playing music for Katy Perry in her home and signed to the mega pop star’s label, Unsub Records.
“I found myself in Katy Perry’s living room playing my original music on a very colorful piano,” CYN tells Billboard. “It was absolutely surreal, but I got to wake up the next morning and tell myself it wasn’t a dream.”
After attending Perry’s California Dreams Tour in 2011, CYN says she reached out to Perry’s opening act, DJ Skeet Skeet, and after hearing her transformative voice, he knew the up-and-coming artist had something to offer. Over time, she says the two fostered a friendship, Skeet brought her out to L.A. to collaborate, and eventually she was connected to Perry, who fell in love with CYN in just the same way.
Though it may seem like her whirlwind career fell together by way of chance encounters, that narrative negates the singer’s raw artistry. Like many of us, CYN found solace in music and personal reflection in writing — realizing that she had a voice that needed to be heard. “I found in music an emotional understanding,” she says. “As I went through the typical thralls of adolescence, music proved to be my catharsis. It became something so special when it provided me with a means of understanding and relief. Our world is spinning, always — and to me, it makes so much more sense through a rhythm and a melody.”
What came from CYN’s love for singing and composition is a crisp, spirited pop sound carried by her timeless, all-embracing voice and literary lyrics that feel sincere and ripped from the pages of a poetry book.
CYN says she has always found “a voice of understanding” in writing and aims to use the creative vessel to “declare her individuality” as an artist. “The idea of blending in is so painful to me! I love when my word order gets a little weird or when I accidentally turn a noun into a verb.”
Her latest release “Together,” out today (July 14) on Unsub, is a flirtatious, saccharine track, its strings pulled together by the sprightly sound of CYN’s voice and lyrics that feel like a treat. With verses like, “Like the moon in the night / Can’t have one without the other / Like a bird and it’s flight / They just make more sense together,” and references to such classic crooners and comedians as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, the single embodies the singer’s pop poeticism.
“A couple days ago, I was thinking about ‘Together,’ and I came to the conclusion that it is the happiest song I’ve wrote so far,” she says. “I think this reveals an artistic intention that seeks optimism and solutions as opposed to pessimism or dead ends.”
The song is the first release off CYN’s forthcoming EP, which she made in collaboration with Perry’s team at Unsub. “Working with Katy and her team is everything I could have wished for. Katy asks me questions like, ‘Are you finding yourself through your art? Do you feel comfortable?’ These are questions you pray for your label to ask. Katy’s like my older song sister, a mentor who understands that I’m my best when I’m allowed to be myself.”
Though the singer was able to catch the attention of the industry, she intends to create music for other young people searching for understanding, just as she had growing up. “I hope my music can provide understanding for someone else,” says CYN. “I hope someone can make sense of their own feelings through my songs, almost like a melodic representation of feelings otherwise invisible.”
Listen to CYN’s “Together” below.
This article originally appeared on Billboard.