“People tell me I have a Transatlantic accent. I have no idea why,” Cyn says as she politely lowers her croissant to avoid eating while talking. Though she hails from outside of Detroit, the rising pop artist’s speaking (and singing) voice is reminiscent of an Old Hollywood film star, her airy vowels floating high above her mass of sandy blonde curls. Most likely, she says, it’s due to her childhood years spent listening to jazz music.
“I grew up listening to vinyl with my grandmother,” Cyn, who was born Cynthia Nabozny, tells me. “She would play Doris Day all the time. And I think that was what I thought singing was from a very early age. So when I’m home alone, or just singing in the shower, I’m singing in a way that, in my opinion, is very 1920s.”
But being only 26 years old, Cyn’s music inevitably incorporates modern pop influence. Her debut EP, 2019’s Mood Swing, opens with a driving drum beat and Cyn speak-singing about her dizzying new life in LA on “I Can’t Believe”. The EP’s first single, “Holy Roller”, an addictive track with a chorus big enough to sweep listeners off their feet, solidified her as a force to be reckoned with.
Her brand of pop caught the attention of pop veteran Katy Perry after Cyn attended the superstar’s California Dreams tour and reached out to Perry’s DJ about her own music. A few years later, Cyn finally linked up with Perry, eventually signing to her record label, Unsub Records.
What followed was years of songwriting, releasing singles, and even touring alongside Perry, all in preparation to release her first body of work, Mood Swing. The 7-track EP boomerangs between sultry-sweet pop beats to heart-piercing confessionals, which Cyn says is reflective of her personal temperament. “The reason my EP is called Mood Swing is because I’m a hormonal, crazy chick,” she admits. “I go from feeling like the world is ending to ‘Oh my god, the sun!’ and then it’s like ‘I’m bored.’ I go through these cycles and then I write these songs that end up being these swings of my personality.”
She’s an undeniably fresh voice in pop, but the thing that strikes me the most about Cyn is that she built this life for herself, despite an upbringing that naturally guided her towards a more traditional path. Cyn felt a deep connection to music early on and continued to pursue it—no matter what life threw at her. Her parents divorced when she was only three years old, leaving her not only with pain and confusion, but two single parents who didn’t necessarily have the time to nurture their child’s musical dreams. Cyn didn’t put up a fight; she went about her life in the Midwest, eventually graduating from DePaul University with a degree in Management Information Systems, writing music in her spare time.
“I didn’t get into the music school at DePaul,” she says. “I was like, ‘Okay, guess I’ll do business.’ And then a couple years later, they asked to interview me for the school paper about my music.” There isn’t a trace of resentment or arrogance in these statements, but rather, a calm assuredness that music is her life’s calling.
Now, the year after her debut EP sent shockwaves through the indie-pop scene, Cyn is slowly building her empire. Last week, it was announced she has a song on the soundtrack for Birds of Prey, the new DC film starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. “Lonely Gun”, the rock-leaning track she penned with longtime collaborator Matias Mora, is a different direction for Cyn, once again showing off her range as an artist. Mood Swing’s opening tack “I Can’t Believe” is also being featured on the soundtrack for the highly-anticipated Netflix movie sequel, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. In 2020, Cyn promises new music that “feel a bit more hip-hop-y”. She’ll also be on tour starting in March, supporting singer-songwriter Sasha Sloan.
Slowly but surely, Cyn is carving out a place for herself in pop, thanks to her unique talents, fresh sound, and sheer tenacity. “This is so cheesy, but something that separates a successful person from a not successful person is how many times you can handle being told no and not even like hearing it,” Cyn says. “I’m still being told that. I don’t care. I know I’m great.”
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
03/25 – Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR*
03/27 – Fortune Sound Club – Vancouver, BC*
03/28 – Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA*
03/30 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA*
04/01 – The Greek Station – Salt Lake City, UT*
04/03 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO*
04/05 – The Parish – Austin, TX*
04/06 – Trees – Dallas, TX*
04/08 – Lowbrow Palace – El Paso, TX*
04/09 – Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ*
04/23 – The Moroccan Lounge – Los Angeles, CA
*DATES SUPPORTING SASHA SLOAN
CONNECT WITH CYN
photo / Daniel Batalles and Eleshwa Fahmie
story / Catherine Santino