You walk into a venue and see an attractive, twenty-something guy holding a guitar standing in front of a mic. You sigh, look around, and wonder how this show is going to be any different than any other you’ve sat through. Then…it starts. Kyle Cruz’s soulful smooth voice and the percussive strums of his guitar fill the room and everything you think you “know” about this guy disappears. It doesn’t take long for you to realize that Kyle Cruz, the musician and the man, is different.

While the notion of a man-guitar duo isn’t new, Kyle’s innovative Movie/Music/Performance is eye-catching and has brought new excitement to stages across the Southeast. His Filipino-Soul inspirational songs  are accompanied by photo and video montages that leave his audiences entertained, motivated, and excited about life.

When asked what makes him stand out, he says, “I’d say creativity, but every one’s creative these days.  So I guess I’d say my innovation is what gives me an edge above my competitors.  It was because of my innovation that I created ‘Movie, Music, Performance.'”

Determined to not fall into the normal grains of music, Cruz has always made efforts to challenge himself, both spiritually and musically. When he was in his late teens, he began to see the growing popularity of loop acoustic performances in which one guitarist would use pedals to create a full band sound. He began to ask himself why this was so impressive and what he could do to create a more effective and unique sound.

“I asked myself if it were possible to make the drum beat without using the loop and if it were possible, would that be a skill easily available to just anyone? I then spent years developing a new style of strumming that is very specific to my music,” he says.

Cruz believes that using creativity to create a new sound or style is probably the best advice he can give to other independent artists. Music isn’t hard to find these days but finding music that is different and unique challenging.

“The more time you spend trying to sound like your favorite artist is time wasted,” Cruz says. “Learn from them but use their skills to help inspire and innovate something new in you.  There was only one Michael Jackson.  Only one John Mayer.  Only one Toby Mac.  Be yourself, think realistically and in small reasonable steps, and work hard.”

Cruz admits that being an independent artist has its challenges, such as finding booking and radio outlets that have as many opportunities as labels. However, he is grateful that he is free to create music without restrictions or ceilings.

His debut project “How to Fly” was a long-anticipated project that hit iTunes in early 2010. Cruz is currently writing and preparing his second album, which he hopes will be a reflection of how he has grown into the man he is and his commitment to family, love, friendship, service, and God. It is his passion to see his generation, specifically men, realize their true identity and walk in their full purpose in life that keeps him moving and creating music.

When asked how he maintains his passion for music, he laughs. For Cruz, music is an expression of life, and for him, he keeps his love for music alive by maintaining his love and fascination with life.

“Every song is an expression of an event in life,” he says.  “The music I write reflects hope in realistic situations.  It reflects confusion in natural state.  Ideals on love and so on.  So how do I stay in love with music? I keep living.”

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