Sydney-based singer-songwriter Cyrus Villanueva, better known by his mononym Cyrus, emerged in 2015 with a golden, soul-tinged sound that possessed a glowing proficiency well beyond his years. Australia took notice. Now, less than two years on from his breakout moment, the twenty-one-year-old talent has ventured into new territory: cleverly constructed pop compositions and cross-genre collaborations exhibiting more precision and depth than ever before.
“I wanted to take some time off to reconnect with myself, reflect on where I’ve been, and realise where I want to go. There were so many experiences I needed to learn and grow from, so having a break to process these changes for myself was just something I had to do. “
And it’s a good thing too, as his latest efforts weave intricate narratives anchored by a fresh outlook, creative refinement, and, of course, the smooth, sweeping vocals for which he has become known, but above all, ones that are wholly imbued with the life of its creator. With more than 60 demos in the bag, Cyrus is ready to emerge a bona fide songsmith.
If you need any further proof of Cyrus’ standing as a captivating lyricist and gifted songwriter in his own right, his upcoming release ‘Alone’ is sure to be it. “Time will hide these scars / how can I break through this / I guess I’ll have to do this alone,” he sings in the chorus. Written and composed straight from the heart, this delicate love ballad draws from the soaring highs and earth-shattering lows of love and loss. “This song is about out embracing the grief that comes when someone leaves your life,” says Cyrus. ‘Alone’ has accumulated over 2 Million streams internationally over its current life.
In addition to his solo efforts, Cyrus is making time for various collaborative ventures. There is the guest feature on electronic producer BAYTEK’s upcoming track, ‘Anchor’ (out now), along with numerous other works in progress spanning myriad genres that serve to verify the young singer-songwriter’s status as an exciting and versatile artist to watch.
But it is on stage where Cyrus’ pure, uncut magnetism can be felt in its fullest force, a quality that comes by virtue of a musician father whose dedication to his craft left a resounding impression. Additionally, there were the years in the school choir and, following high school, a stint busking around his hometown of Wollongong performing crowd favourites and sentimental hits that perfectly mirrored the soundtrack to his youth. “Dad’s records were always playing in the house… Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, so all of my set lists were catered towards classic soul, and R&B, and 90s pop,” he says.
So it is not surprising then to hear that for Cyrus the live show remains the most treasured aspect of his practice. “Being onstage and performing my songs in front of people is so special… it’s the place I feel the most open and vulnerable,” he says.
With fresh material well on the way and various other projects in the works, Cyrus reflects on the positive impact these recent months spent toiling away in earnest have had on his understanding and appreciating for what’s next. “The past few months have allowed me to discover myself and understand what I’m here to do, and that’s been the biggest motivation,” he says.
Focused, refreshed, and inspired – Cyrus’ ongoing artistic evolution coupled with an unwavering commitment to his craft is certain to set the young talent on track to become one of Australia’s brightest stars.