A professed Southern Gothic songster born in Chattanooga but based in Johnson City, Tennessee, Amythyst Kiah’s commanding stage presence is only matched by her raw and powerful vocals—a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs echoes of a distant and restless past. Accoutered interchangeably with banjo, acoustic guitar, or a full band (Her Chest of Glass), Amythyst’s toolbox is augmented by her scholarship of African-American roots music. Provocative and coolly fierce, her ability to cross the boundaries of blues and old-time through reinterpretation is groundbreaking and simply unforgettable. Amythyst Kiah is forging an important path from her musical ancestry to a multi-cultural generation with contemporary sensibilities and undeniable flair.
A graduate from East Tennessee State University's Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies, she was the only African American in the program during the time of her enrollment. Amythyst's eclectic influences span decades, drawing heavily on old time music (Mississippi Sheiks, Son House, Jimmie Rodgers, Olla Belle Reed, Carter Family), inspired by strong R&B and country music vocalists from the 1950s-1970s (Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn) and influenced by contemporary artists with powerful vocal integrity (Adele, Florence and the Machine, Megan Jean and the KFB, Janelle Monae).