Novy works with a student on her original song.
Novy works with a student on his guitar technique.
Kyle Novy brings his experience in modern songwriting and technology to the Singer-Songwriter program at the Interlochen Arts Academy. A guitarist of nearly 20 years, Novy is equally experienced on stage and in the studio. He also writes and performs on piano, mandolin, drums, bass and hammered dulcimer.
As a music producer and audio engineer, Novy has guided many artists through the creative process, and is currently a judge for the Indie International Songwriting Contest. Novy owns and operates My Song Alive, an online production company that records songs for artists all over the country. His most recent project, Mount Valor, is available for free on Spotify and at mountvalor.com.
We caught up with Novy to learn more about this dynamic artist and teacher.
Which of your songs is your favorite, and why?
Right now it's probably "Empirical Love." It's hard to put into words, but it's one of those where you feel like you really captured something special. This song is all about the beauty, mystery, and thrill of romance—jumping in and allowing someone to truly love you. I remember in the studio just weeping for a solid half-hour at just the thought of it all, what an amazing story we're a part of as humans.
What was the first song you wrote?
That's hard. I'm going to skip the rap phase at age seven and go with "Traveling Oysters," a middle-school classic.
Who was your favorite teacher you ever had? Why?
Probably Gary Solt at Musicians Institute. He really forced you to know your stuff, from arranging to guitar soloing to classical theory. Someone who can teach about Bo Diddley and a week later introduce you to Ravel's String Quartet in F Major is a great guy in my book.
What other instrument(s) would you like to learn?
I recently took up the hammered dulcimer, and that's been fun. But it's always been a dream of mine to learn the harp. I rented one and took lessons for a while when I was living in Los Angeles, and I loved it. It's such a beautiful instrument.
What’s your most embarrassing moment from a rehearsal or performance?
When I was 12, I got to play my first set as the electric guitarist at a concert. The sound guy came up afterwards and said, "I wasn't getting any signal from you." Then my eyes slowly panned down to the guitar's volume knob, peacefully resting at 0.
Tell us about your instrument. What make/model is it? Does it have any interesting backstories?
I have a Bourgeois OM acoustic guitar. It's about 25 years old. I drove down to Elderly Music in Lansing a few summers ago, and blind-tested probably at least 50 high-end acoustics (Martins, Taylor, Guild, Gibson, you name it). I just kept coming back to this Bourgeois - it was destroying the competition. I've written quite a bit on it, and it's by far my go-to in the studio.
Would you rather read a book or watch a movie?
This feels like a trick question, because neither answer seems satisfying. So I'll answer it with a Chesterton quote: "There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read." Enough said.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I love designing (fonts, graphics, furniture, buildings), I'm a table tennis shark, I will destroy anyone at Super Mario Kart and I can catch grapes in my mouth from long distances.
What’s your favorite season?
I've got to go with fall—the energy, the colors, the smells, the crisp mornings. It’s always a good time to write an album!
Want to study with Kyle Novy? Join the singer-songwriter program at Interlochen Arts Academy and meet him for yourself!