Photo credit Rina Statovci_

Fusing pop-perfect hooks with a laid back indie style, SYTË (meaning “eyes” in Albanian) are making their mark in the alt-pop scene. Based in New York, the group has an abundant blend of musical backgrounds, with elements of R&B, pop, indie, metal and Jazz, creating a sound and vibe that transcends genre, geography, age and gender.

The group initially formed when vocalist Nita Kaja was visiting her family’s hometown of Prishtina, Kosovo and met future partner and band mate Drin Tashi. Falling deeply in love with the free-spirited and alternative lifestyle of the city, and being surrounded by a thriving and youthful music scene, Kaja felt inspired to create her own music, forming a duo with Tashi in 2018, before teaming up with drummer Granit Havolli and bassist Fatlind Ferati; evolving into the four-piece band we know today.

What makes this song stand out?

The juxtaposition of the dancey, slightly tropical instrumental and the melancholic, pleading lyrics. It was written during quarantine, which makes the dancey/tropical vibe ironic considering how trapped and depressed I felt during that time and when I wrote those lyrics. 

What would you call your own style?

I wouldn’t want to be confined by a genre but I always want my music to be perceived as “colorful” and “textured”. Grooviness is a staple. 

What’s your least favorite topic you like to write about?

I don’t have one. I won’t write about anything I don’t want to write about. I can’t even imagine what I wouldn’t like to write about to be honest. I’d hate to be commissioned to write a jingle for remembering math formulas or something I guess. 

What’s your favorite song of yours?

Crystal Floor! I was inspired to write this song by how the youth tends responds to miserable socio-economic and political circumstances with hedonism. There’s no use in wallowing in helplessness. You might as well have fun as you watch the world (you didn’t ask to be born into) burn (by the hands of those who deal with the consequences the least). It feels like my entire life has been marked by traumatic global event after traumatic global event, so this song will always be relevant to me. 

Was there a moment when you thought about quitting?

It’s always at the back of my mind. I’m sure every independent artist can relate. It’s kind of humiliating and rewardless to follow your dreams at times, but my deep love for my craft and my firm belief that my art has a greater purpose always outweighs the urge to quit. Even at my lowest, the positive outweighs the negative by at least 1%.