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Amythyst Kiah

Before earning a Grammy nomination for her work with the all-female folk supergroup Our Native Daughters, Amythyst Kiah had already built a substantial career as a solo artist in the Americana and roots music arena. A versatile songwriter and deeply soulful singer from Tennessee, Kiah's music drifts easily between old-time folk, blues, country, and more contemporary strains of R&B and alt-rock. Self-releasing her first solo album in 2012, she then established herself as an international touring act before joining Our Native Daughters, whose acclaimed 2019 debut was led by Kiah's standout song "Black Myself." The song was later re-recorded for her 2021 Rounder Records debut Wary + Strange. Raised in Chattanooga, Kiah began playing guitar in high school, taking influence from her parents' diverse musical tastes as well as the alt-rock she heard on MTV. After coming out as gay during her teenage years, she struggled to find acceptance and took solace in her creative pursuits. Her shift toward roots music began in college when she enrolled in a bluegrass program at East Tennessee State University where she also picked up the banjo. Released independently in 2012, Kiah's debut album, Dig, set her on a path of perpetual touring that would carry her over the next several years. With her powerhouse voice and rich amalgam of roots-related styles, she learned to command an audience and became a festival favorite both in the U.S. and the U.K. With her backing band, she released the 2016 EP, Amythyst Kiah & Her Chest of Glass. When the opportunity to collaborate with a group of other likeminded women of color in the roots music scene arrived, she jumped on board. Spearheaded by Rhiannon Giddens and featuring Kiah, Allison Russell, and Leyla McCalla, Our Native Daughters' debut album boldly took on themes of American history and cultural identity from slavery and racism to sexism and civil rights. Released in 2019 by Smithsonian Folkways, Songs of Our Native Daughters was led by Kiah's fiery Black identity missive "Black Myself" which was nominated for a Grammy Award and earned Song of the Year honors and the Folk Alliance International Awards. With her profile on the rise, she teamed up with producer Tony Berg (Andrew Bird, Michael Penn) to record her second album. Issued by the Rounder label in 2021, Wary + Strange paired Kiah's gritty alt rock influences with folk, Americana, and blues and featured a rearranged version of "Black Myself."
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Discography

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