Who Is Kyla On Drake's "One Dance"? The Singer Had A Major Hit On Her Own Before 'Views'
The big day finally came for Drake fans when he released his long awaited album Views on April 29. Although Drake took forever to drop Views, he satiated everyones appetite by constantly putting out singles, or so it seemed. I feel like there never really was a drought when it came to Drake's music, and he really got everyone ready for summer when he released "Pop Style" and "Once Dance," the latter full of Caribbean rhythms perfect for a beach day. "One Dance" features Kyla, and while you might know some of Drake's past collaborators like Kanye West and Jay Z, there's a good chance you still need to get to know Kyla.
I didn't know who Kyla was, but I was immediately a fan of her voice. It is smooth and has such an incredible melody in the song. While Drake is known for some pretty high profile collaborations, he dug deep to find a sample from the past and gave a U.K. singer a bigger platform than before. The vocal melody from "One Dance" is sampled from Kyla's "Do You Mind," her funky 2008 single that mixed elements of dancehall and Afrobeat, genres which Drake obviously has an ear for.
Kyla's single "Do You Mind" became a minor hit on the U.K. charts in 2009, and she remained relatively unknown for the past few years — that is, until now. According to an interview with Pitchfork, before she even recorded "Do You Mind," Kyla was an ESL teacher who decided to quit about seven years ago to focus on her music. Kyla told Pitchfork that she is currently married to Errol Reid (who is also known by his producer name Paleface), who is part of the Crazy Cousinz production team and the co-writer and producer of "Do You Mind." With the release of "One Dance," Kyla now has a second chance to revive her singing career.
Kyla told Fader in April that only in 2015 did she start to begin recording music again after taking a break, getting married to Reid, and giving birth to their now 2-year-old son. She said of how Drake found her song,
I did ask this question actually, and Drake's manager said that they'd been hearing it on their radio station [in Toronto], for like two years, and they always said they wanted to do something with it, so they decided to go and do [it]. I was really blessed.
Drake does have a good ear, but this is not the first time a bigger star has decided to use Kyla's sample. Back in 2011, The xx put their spin on "Do You Mind" and came up with something totally different than Drake's version.
It's pretty obvious that Kyla has a gift for songwriting and melodies, and it seems like this huge exposure from Drake is pushing her in the direction to record much more again. She told Fader,
You know, the music world always changes and there’s new artists coming out. I was just trying to find a way to get my foot back in the door, so it was really nice of Drake to give me that nice step up that I was looking for.
I think we might be hearing a lot more from Kyla very soon.