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“My soil is the harper,
the poet and the warrior
drenched in holy water,
the prophet calling fire…”

Welcome. Thanks for taking the time to check out my project and learn about who I am and what I’m about. I generally don’t like talking a whole lot about myself, but I figured it’d be rather disingenuous to invite people to come journey with me through the project and not shed light on who I am. So I’ve spent some time thinking, and here are a couple things that might help you know me better:

I’ve messed up and failed so many times it’s ridiculous. I’ve hurt, betrayed, and disappointed over and over. But that doesn’t define me. For all my faults and shortcomings, my story is of triumph and victory. Perhaps John Newton said it best: “Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was.”

Kyle. Erik. Novy. My name basically means (if I were to apply some dream interpretation principles mixed with artistic flair) that I’m a new leader who has the power to connect people, cultural ideas, and the spiritual realm. I’ll take it.

I teach songwriting at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Northern Michigan. It is really quite a magical place where young artists from all over the world come together to grow in their craft. To all my former and current students, may these songs be a deep well to draw from on your journey as artists. You don’t always have to like the songs – tastes vary and styles change – but I know you can learn from them. They’ll teach you a hundred times more than I’ll ever be able to teach you in class. You are loved.

I’m the proud owner of My Song Alive, an online music production company that helps artists bring their songs to life with dynamic, creative productions. It’s pretty cool, and so for that reason, and that reason alone, you should check it out.

I play guitar, piano, mandolin, bass, drums, and most recently hammered dulcimer. I try to approach instruments like my son approaches toys: never serious enough that you aren’t having fun (after all, they’re toys – they’re meant to be fun!), but always serious enough that you do the toys justice (if you don’t really treat a train whistle like a true train whistle, you’re disrespecting the toy). With music, I don’t think the two sides are mutually exclusive. Music making to me is equal parts enjoyment and commitment. Half-hearted kids are a bore to play toys with.

I’m generally a fairly mystical person. Maybe I’ll define mystical here as “spiritually mysterious” things. Yes, I believe in miracles, visions, dream interpretation, healing, encounters with angels/demons, etc. I’ve had mystical experiences myself, and I know a ton of people who have as well. It’s just not on our grids as much here in ‘Merica. I think this is where the West has become too rigid, scientific, and naive. It seems like we’ve lost our sense of wonder and mystery, even “magic” I dare say. So here’s my bumper sticker: don’t let modern western scientism steal your magic. As an artist, I have to hold on and cherish the mystical, the otherworldly, the mysterious sense that there’s a lot more to our world than our cold and often arrogant modern minds think. And don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater: just because fairies don’t exist (or do they?), we shouldn’t throw away the entire mystical realm as a bunch of medieval garbage. St. Francis definitely talked with a wolf, and I believe he genuinely received the stigmata. That’s my kinda guy. A poor wild man who knew how to love. Let’s get some more Francis’ in our culture.

“PILGRIMS AND REBELS, THEY’RE MUCH THE SAME: BOTH WILD AND WANDERING ALONE…”

My wife Lindsey is undoubtedly the most precious person to me.  She’s a treasure. She embodies wisdom, grace, service, humility, beauty, strength, and compassion in such an incredible way. I don’t think guys brag enough about their women, but if you ever meet my wife you’ll know why I’m bragging. There is absolutely no way I could even attempt a project like without her support, encouragement, and sacrifices along the way.

Being a father is such an amazing and humbling experience. Amazing in the sense that you are directly responsible for shaping and training and teaching and nurturing these young ones into becoming the full expression of who they were created to be. Humbling in the sense that you are directly responsible for the shaping…need I say more? To my children, hopefully one day you can understand what these songs mean to your dad, and what I hope they can mean to you. You are all called to be poet-warriors in your own right. And if you’re reading this, I managed to keep this content online for at least 6-8 more years. Good job on being able to read at a high level. And glad to know the internet’s still working.

Sometimes people ask, “How do you do this all? Family, work, FIFTY TWO SONGS? The answer is simple. I call it Power Yogurt. 3/4 cup plain yogurt, heaping spoonful of peanut butter, heaping scoop of chocolate protein powder. Mix it up. Top with raspberries or blueberries (it’s an ongoing debate on which is better), or strawberries/kiwi. Grapes are fine when you’re out of berries and that’s all you have in your fridge. Then top it again with some granola. Welcome to the better years of your life.

As an artist, I am completely fascinated with the kingdom of God. It has everything so profoundly backwards and upside down and messy that it’s able to invade us with the rarest purity. It is the raw intoxication of poetry and the exquisite beauty of mathematics. It is built on paradox after paradox, the wisdom of the Grand Artist himself. Do you want to become first? Become last. Do you want to be rich? Become poor. Do you want to be powerful? Become weak. Do you want to be satisfied? Become hungry. Do you want to be a leader? Become a servant. Do you want to feel alive? Become a dying soul. It is offensive on every level, at every turn, at every thought. It is so foreign to the human condition, and yet it feels so uncomfortably close. Just when we think it’s some external thought we try to swat at like a fly, we find it in the inner depths of ourselves, reverberating in our core. It is beyond religion, beyond philosophy, beyond any pseudo-spiritual notion that we are the universal being. It is reality, the beautiful, wild, demanding, and hope-filled reality calling people throughout the centuries, calling through war and tyranny, deception and manipulation, abuse and oppression, riches and success, pride and vanity. It is a reality that must be entered into, and not on our terms. There I said it.

I guess this leads me to the last statement, and this generally has to do with the notion of sojourning, of traveling to a place I have yet to reach. I think America has a ton of great potential, but she’s not my true country.  My homeland operates in a freedom that human democracies understand little about. You’ll hear throughout my songs this yearning, this desire for my true home, and I think it’s certainly a message I carry with much thought and even more tears. C.S. Lewis says it perfectly:

“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction of those desires exists. A baby feels hunger well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.”

Brothers and sisters, in all sincerity, let us press on.