Time to shine a spotlight on a harpist by the name of Kristy Chmura because it’s not every day we get to talk to someone who plays one of the most heavenly-sounding instruments on earth. In fact, Kristy Chmura is only the third we’ve had the opportunity to chat with over the years, and we kicked off with how she landed on such a grand set of strings. Along with that, we touched on her new album, ‘Where The Light Gets In,’ due out on September 2nd, and so much more in this back and forth.
Kendra: We have to kick this off with you being a harpist because that’s one of those instruments that looks and sounds quite magical that I feel not too many play. How’d you come into learning the harp?
Kristy Chmura: I sang in my church choir when I was very young, and one time they had a harpist accompany the choir. That was the first time I heard and saw someone play the harp and I loved the sound so much that it inspired me to want to learn how to play it. I remember asking my mom about it and her response was, where are we going to find a harp?
Then a few years passed and I remember asking my mom again, as luck would have it, she ran into the harpist who played with our choir at the supermarket, my mom mentioned to her that I was interested in learning how to play, and she said, I teach harp lessons, and that was how it all started.
Kendra: Now some time has passed between your last record, ‘Stained…Glass Heart’, and September 2022’s ‘Where the Light Gets In.’ For you, when you’re in between records, are you someone who takes an hour here and there to work on new material, or do you just let it come to you naturally?
Kristy Chmura: I tend to work on writing new songs when inspiration hits and not schedule it. I find a new song idea comes to me when I’m practicing other music and make a mistake, and I think, oh that sounded cool. Then I get sidetracked from practicing what I was trying to learn, and I just let the creativity start to flow instead. Sometimes I’ll even hear song ideas while I’m asleep and dreaming. Then in my dream I think, too bad that’s already a song because I like it, but then I realize I’m dreaming and tell myself I have to remember to record this on my phone when I wake up.
Kendra: With this record, you noted, “As I reflect on things that may cause pain in my life, I try to remind myself that there is beauty in the darkness, and light shines more brightly in the dark…” With that, do you think you’d be the same artist you are today without your personal darkness?
Kristy Chmura: I don’t think it would be possible for me to be the artist I am today if I didn’t sit with my personal darkness. That is where I draw most of my inspiration from because it’s my way of processing heavy things. I think a song is a safe place to put those unwanted feelings and turn them into something beautiful or interesting.
Kendra: You were very open about what you’ve gone through in “Leigh” and even sing, “This world is so unkind.” That line stood out on a personal and universal level to me for a multitude of reasons, but I did want to know if penning this was a therapeutic moment for you?
Kristy Chmura: It was therapeutic…I think I explain how I’m feeling the best when it turns into a song, the whole process of writing and recording is cathartic. Once the song is done and I listen back l feel a sense of closure, like I said what I needed to say, and expressed my feelings as thoroughly as I could.
Kendra: Another song I’m excited for people to hear is “Lie Awake” because I think that’s an issue so many of us have. Do you have any home remedies you use to combat those sleepless nights when the thoughts don’t want to seem to turn off?
Kristy Chmura: Thanks! I like to turn on white noise like rain with Tibetan singing bowls and it helps a little. Sometimes I try to walk myself through the yoga pose, savasana, where you lay flat on your back, aligning your spine, arms by your side, palms of your hands open and facing the ceiling, let your heels touch and toes fall open to the side and imagine you are floating through space, breathing deep and focusing on relaxing every muscle in your body with each breath. Sometimes it helps.
Kendra: Time for a side note – with it being summertime, I’d love to know your favorite memory from this season whether it was from your childhood or more recent…
Kristy Chmura: My favorite memory from childhood during the summer is going to the beach with my family and after spending all day in the sun and swimming in the ocean, going to play a game of miniature golf and getting either ice cream or a funnel cake, or both after.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Where the Light Gets In,’ out on September 2nd what else can be on the lookout from you come the fall?
Kristy Chmura: I’ll be releasing new music videos for “ Where The Light Gets In” and lining up some live performances with my band to promote the EP. I can’t wait!