JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Johnson City musician Amythyst Kiah will appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” tonight.
“Any other time I wouldn’t even be here. I would be at the studio, but what’s kind of making up for not being able to be there is that I get to be at home and watch it with other people from here and hopefully get to see some folks that have come out to my shows in the past and catch up,” she said from a watch party at Holy Taco North in Johnson City.
Kiah is an alumna of ETSU’s Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program. Her song “Black Myself” earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best American Roots Song and won Song of the Year at the 2019 Folk Alliance International Awards.
“A lot of the focus is really on like how to be a good performer so I’m really having that foundation really set me up not only you know when my school band shows but to be able to go on my own and do solo shows and travel the country,” she said.
Dan Boner is the director of the almost 40-year-old first of it’s kind program. He worked closely with Amythyst during her time at ETSU.
“We’ve had students who have graduated and gone on to work at museums like the Birthplace of Country Music museum in Bristol,” said Boner. “We’ve had some student’s who’ve become booking agents and worked with some big name artists and some others have gone on to get their masters degree in Appalachian studies for example. They find other ways to be involved as academics.”
Boner says Amythyst is a model alumna.
“Not only is she a great singer and songwriter and instrumentalist and a great researcher of the music she wants to do, she’s also incredibly humble, she’s always wanting to get better and learn,” he said. “When you have somebody like that who exemplifies what we do at ETSU from the cultural aspect to the academic side… she’s just got everything.”
She hopes Thursday’s debut sets the tone for a year of performing.
“Venues are Starting to open back up again at half capacity and festivals are starting to happen again with socially distanced audiences so this is kind of like you know going into this year being able to do what I signed up to do which is to be a touring musician in and travel,” she said.
Amythyst will have a new song out on Friday and will be performing at Border Bash on July 4 and Bristol Rhythm and Roots in September.