The moody pop sensation, MYRY, has been writing songs since her pre-teen days. Raised in Brussels, she started building a fanbase via YouTube, releasing covers that reached millions of views. She soon moved to the UK to pursue music, as well as a career in medicine. In 2020, she released her first singles, “Ghosts” and “Stuck in a Loop” — instantly cementing her songwriting talent and artistry as one to watch.
During the pandemic, however, she worked full-time in A&E as a junior doctor — leaving little room for music. She’s back now, and truly better than ever. Her most recent single, “Born Tired”, marks a new chapter for the impressive songstress. Melancholic notes, crisp vocals, and vulnerable lyrics come together to form an atmospheric, ethereal, intimate masterpiece. Intricate, soft instrumentals set the stage for her smooth vocals as she details feeling overwhelmingly exhausted, yet grateful for the things that keep her going. Initially written as a sarcastic, upbeat track, she took it down for the final version — balancing a (dark) sense of humour with a sincerity and rawness that only MYRY could accomplish.
We had the privilege to speak with MYRY about her early love of songwriting, balancing music and medicine, and “Born Tired”.
Stream “Born Tired”…
Read the interview…
You started creating music at such a young age — how did your love for singing and songwriting begin?
I cannot remember the first time I sang a song, but my dad has many videos of me being a rather musical toddler! Early on in school I joined the choir – I remember finding a safety there that kept me going through experiences like bullying, separation anxiety and general early-life challenges. I started writing my own songs before I could actually speak much English (with it being my third language), I think I was around 12, and of course, they were terrible. Through the years, I took a variety of music lessons, including singing, piano, guitar and drums, and eventually started releasing covers on YouTube while writing original songs on the side. Writing songs was my early way of communicating things that I did not feel safe talking about about – you know, before I learnt to have those ‘serious, open and honest adult discussions’ that are actually quite important (and arguably sometimes more efficient than writing a song on a piece of paper and then throwing it away).
Who were your early musical influences and what music are you listening to currently?
My early influences were genuinely really broad. I used to love mainstream R&B, rap and hip-hop as a kid, but also really appreciated soul and blues like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill – voices I tried to learn from early on as my singing teacher recommended. As a teen, I went through a phase of rock and alt-metal ranging from Patty Smyth, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Linkin Park, all the way to System of A Down (which are to day one of my favourite bands ever), and later Coldplay and Muse. However, I found the most inspiration in alt rock and indie bands that I discovered a bit later, like Alt-J, Editors, Interpol, Glass Animals, Florence + The Machine, Keaton Henson, and Daughter. These are still the bands I listen to the most these days.
How would you describe your sound?
I always struggle to do this and generally end up using either lots of adjectives in a row or just citing my influences. I suppose I would describe it as a warm, intimate, but generally shy and fragile voice in the midst of a loopy/moody instrumentation, which sometimes tends towards slightly more epic drums (because why not?) and sometimes stays very minimalist. Does that make any sense?
Do you have a typical songwriting process?
I actually switch it up a lot. Often I struggle to sleep because my brain is constantly roaming, and sometimes, that culminates in me coming up with a hook for a song (which I either jot down somewhere or forget forever), that I then develop a song from eventually. Sometimes, I start by writing the drums first and then seeing what chords I can come up with that fit with either guitar, piano, or synth. But probably the majority of songs I write sitting down at the piano, playing about with chords until something resonates with how I am feeling or how I can imagine someone else feeling. I tend to start a lot of songs and let them ‘ripen’ and revisit them later, making tweaks and small changes one at a time. Every time I open the project, I am looking at it with a slightly different perspective and a little more life experience.
How did the move from Brussels to the UK influence your music and/or career?
I actually chose to move to the UK partly because I felt that it was the best place to be in order to make music, since most of my favourite bands ever were made in the UK. The other reason was that I had heard great things about UK medical schools. I would say that in Brussels I had a bit more of a music network including musicians and producers, whereas during medical school in the UK I didn’t have as much time to build that and I had to start over seemingly from scratch. In fact, it was sometimes quite difficult to find time to make music at all. However, eventually, I was very fortunate to meet some amazing people in the UK who supported me and motivated me to pick up the music right from where I left it. I was very fortunate to work with an enthusiastic and supportive label and management team (big shout out to James Gardiner & Joshua Bowyer) as well as amazing producer James Kenosha (Birdy, Rhodes, Dry The River) on my first releases as ‘MYRY’, and I will forever be grateful for that opportunity, even though the pandemic meant that things didn’t quite work out the way we had originally planned them. I remember this surreal feeling when I found myself in a London music studio for the first time with so many people working on a song I had written on my old laptop. Some of those musicians had played for some of my favourite bands (e.g. Luke Saunders from Daughter / Au/Ra / Shura), and I felt like a fraud just being there. It was some kind of weird magic. I knew then that I had made the right call moving to the UK.
How do you balance your time between medicine and music? Have you found there to be any connections between the two industries?
This has been challenging at times. I now work part-time as a doctor and dedicate the rest of the time to music. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I was working full-time in A&E as a junior doctor which was stressful per se, and I also became quite unwell early on. I was off sick with persistent fevers for a whole month and kept relapsing on a monthly basis for over a year after that, which was both scary and draining. With the world being on standby, there were also less opportunities for music. So everything did stall for a while. Having lost the momentum built-up from the first singles released as MYRY right before the pandemic (“Ghosts” and “Stuck in a Loop”) and having gone through a lot in the meantime, I did take a step back at the time. But I am back to stay now. I meet creatives every day at work in the NHS – from colleagues who are amazingly talented musicians, musicians who become colleagues through musical therapy, to patients who say that making (or listening to) music is healing for them (something I can certainly relate to).
How did “Born Tired” come to fruition? What was the initial inspiration and how did it evolve?
I wrote “Born Tired” almost as a joke initially. I was exhausted for no reason, almost as if I was born this way. I was actually in a relatively good mood, as I had been spending more time with friends who ‘dragged me’ out of my safe space (i.e. my room, where all my instruments are). I rarely write songs when I am in a good mood, and when I do, I generally end up ‘taming’ them quite a lot so that they end up sounding somewhat sad. This did happen to some extent with “Born Tired”, as I originally wrote it as a cheerful, almost sarcastic acoustic guitar song, but once I transferred it to my DAW, it became much darker. The final chorus was actually meant to be written in the past, so that by the end of the song, the sorrow made more sense, as it was actually a tale of having lost the one thing that kept you going through life. However, I decided to challenge myself to make it slightly more positive and uplifting by keeping the chorus in the present and going heavier with the drums. Ultimately, it is still a song about exhaustion, but with a sense of gratefulness for the things that keep you going through it.
What do you hope listeners take away from the song?
I hope that people experiencing a sense of exhaustion or numbness can see that they are not alone, but also reflect on the things and people they are grateful for – the things that give them the energy to get up in the morning or to get out of the house sometimes. We all have things worth living for, and we too often take them for granted. This was kind of a ‘thank you’ (with a sigh) song. When you listen to “Born Tired”, I want you to feel at peace with your fatigue, with an uplift in knowing that there are things that will keep you going no matter how drained you may be, and I want you to appreciate those things with me.
You are beautifully honest and open about your experience with ADHD and RSD. How have past hardships influenced your art?
My first memories of writing songs always involved heartbreak, even early on in life. I would say that I take rejection harder than most people I know, but while in my teen years I let it crush me into depression, anxiety and repetitive behaviours, I am slowly learning to channel it. I still feel significant sadness every-time I remember any rejection I experienced at any point in my life, no matter how long ago. I realise some people find this odd (having spoken about it with others who just ‘move on’ after a while). However, I now try to use that sadness to my advantage, more as if I was capturing a glimpse of the past for a source of inspiration, rather than going through it again as it can sometimes feel. It is not a fool-proof mechanism and I still end up spiralling sometimes, but it’s a start.
I was diagnosed late with ADHD, so I spent a lot of my life just getting frustrated with myself just for being upset (effectively ending up in a vicious circle or “Stuck in a Loop”), or for speaking or acting before thinking, for being or doing too much or too little. Most of the songs I’ve ever written emerged from a combination of all these feelings.
To you, what is the importance of being vulnerable in music?
Making music *is* being vulnerable. Releasing music to ‘the public’ is literally like pouring your heart out to strangers. For many artists, music is the only way to open up about insecurities, almost as if we needed to hide behind our music to say how we feel, to feel safe. That’s why it matters so much. That’s why it’s so sensitive. For some of us, sometimes, it almost feels as if it is ‘all we have’ from an emotional intelligence point of view – the only way we can truly communicate and show either what we feel, or our perception and understanding of what others feel. There are so many feelings, thoughts and emotions that only come to life in melody or through deliberately slightly vague or ambiguous lyrics that almost want to be misunderstood. This is not a way of concealing the truth, but rather an attempt to make the song less about my feelings specifically and more about how the emotions I may be going through could resonate with someone else in a remotely similar situation. I try to find a balance between keeping music and lyrics open to interpretation but still clear and vulnerable.
What are you excited about moving forward?
So much more music and so much more learning! Every day I am trying to get better at something (currently focusing on music production) and to take one of the unreleased songs a little closer to the finish line, and I am so excited to show you what I have been working on – including collaborations with incredibly talented people that I have been lucky enough to meet.