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Producing a platform for connection

Kbyat in his home studio in Solway. PHOTOS/TOM TAYLOR

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At sixteen years old, Masterton music producer Kbyat [aka Fred Day] has already clocked more than 100,000 plays for his songs on Spotify.

Now he wants to use his platform to raise awareness for mental health by sharing his own journey.

The Wairarapa College student kickstarted his musical career in Year 7, using free web browser-based production software Audiotool and consuming YouTube tutorials by the terabyte.

Fast-forward five years and Kbyat [pronounced kay-be-at] had a slew of singles on Spotify, releasing nine songs in the past two years.

The deluge of music was the result of thousands of hours spent studying the tools of the trade.

“It took a lot of learning; a lot of frustration,” Kbyat said.

“But it’s all worth it to be able to share that music with other people; to share a vision and a mission with others.”

Kbyat puts the finishing touches on his latest single, ‘Want To Know’.

As he honed his craft, he also upgraded his software, moving on to digital audio workstation FL Studio.

At this point, he started publishing his music.

Kbyat initially focused on creating hip-hop beats, which he sold to rappers across the world for up to $300 a track.

However, he decided to put this money-making venture on hold in favour of creating music for himself.

“I wanted to have my own sound – my own voice.”

That was not to say that Kbyat performed his own vocals.

“It’s best that I don’t,” he said.

For a recent release, Kbyat partnered up with fellow Masterton musicians charlie and chelsea, remixing their song ‘Smooth Sailing’.

He had also sought talent from further afield, teaming up with singers he had only ever met online.

For ‘Next to You’, his debut single, he worked with American singer Moia Bri.

The pair had never worked in the same physical space but collaborated by sending digital tracks back and forth.

“That’s the beauty of social media nowadays – you don’t even need to be there to connect with people across the world.”

For Kbyat, forming connections was an integral part of both music and his mental health journey.

In his early teenage years, he was trapped and struggling to find a way out of what he described as a “dark space”.

He said music was his only outlet during this difficult time, with no one else aware of what was going on inside his head.

Eventually, Kbyat was able to open up to his family.

“They were very supportive of me, and now I’m trying to help other people that are feeling like that.”

Using his own experiences, Kbyat hoped he could now help to guide people in the right direction.

“It is one of the biggest issues in society.

“The youth are the future, and if they don’t have the right state of mind and the feeling that they can make a positive impact on this world, it’s all going to go downhill.”

Having set the stage through his Spotify success, he was now looking to connect with people directly through some live shows.

Although the pandemic had put a temporary dampener on his aspirations to play at festivals, Kbyat said he would use the opportunity to build his online presence and continue working on new material.

“Obviously, covid has a negative impact on mental health.

“Trying to connect with people online is tough, but it’s doable. You’ve just got to adapt and make the best of it.”

  • Check out Kbyat’s latest single, ‘Want To Know’, released on Spotify at the weekend.

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