Kai Canyon Ellis

Singer - Songwriter - Topliner

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8 Reviews
Kai Canyon Ellis on SoundBetter

Ready to win a Grammy? It ain't gonna win itself. What I want for you is a song that makes people stop and stare and desperately try to Shazaam the thing before it's over. That's my promise to you, and I know that with my vocal or topline, you'll be one step closer to hitting the emotional center that sends your song soaring.

I've written and sung songs with some of the most spectacular musicians from all around the world. People just like you who knew their song was meant to be something truly special. They had the right music. They had the right vision. And now, they just needed the right vocal.

Here's what I'll do for you.

- Need someone to write and sing a vocal to your instrumental? I've got you covered.

- Already got your vocal and lyric written and now you just need someone to sing the dang thing? Put me in, coach.

- Or maybe you've got everything in place except compelling lyrics? I'll be your secret weapon there, too.

- Of course, I do cover songs, too.

Like Elton John once bashfully confessed about writing almost all of his greatest hits, my songs typically come to me quite quickly, which allows me to deliver the highest of quality without any long delays. I don't wait for inspiration. The fact is, life is short, and that makes me feel inspired all day every day.

Give me a shout so I can hear this amazing song you've been working on. Once we've discovered we both believe in it, then it's time to get to work.

Check out the track on the top right for examples of original melodies and lyrics. A little lower on the right you'll find examples of cover songs I've done.

Talk soon.

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

8 Reviews

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  1. Review by David Frazer
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    I've had the pleasure of listening to Kai's music for the last couple of years. He has produced a consistently impressive array of material, including a wide range of collaborations that have spanned a number of genres. He has an impressive skill of being able to find new things in even well-known melodies to give a very different take on them. His vocals are a real strength, along with his production techniques to help them shine through. Collaborating with him was an easy and fruitful experience where he brought a lot of new things my song that I would never have got to.

  2. Review by David Wilkinson
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    Kai is an excellent top liner and vocalist. His ability to come up with lyrics and melodies super fast is really amazing. Though he moves fast, he doesn’t compromise on quality. Creating memorable melodies is a top priory and he delivers. Highly recommend.

  3. Review by Esli
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    There are a lot of great topliners and vocalists out there. What there is NOT a lot of is uniqueness, and that's when someone like Kai can be a great collaborator. Also, he's such a positive guy that pushes songs forward!

  4. Review by Karen
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    Kai has collaborated with me on several songs, and it's been super fun. He's responded with cheerful accommodation to requests for changes, and the vocals he sent sounded perfect for the song. Tracks came to me quickly. I'd recommend him both for his vocal skills and for collaboration to make a stronger song.

  5. Review by Khalid
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    Kai is a treat to work with. I’ve collaborated with him on several projects and he always exceeded expectations. He shows great foresight for producing while also being able to step back and take specific directions. Just tell him what you need and he’ll get it done well within the deadline. A true talented professional with a lot to offer on any team.

  6. Review by Litte Bush Music Production
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    I have worked recently with Kai on three rock productions and I have been extremely impressed by his musical creativity and vocal performances.

    Our workflow has been. We send him a full instrumental production, with generally some theme we may have in mind. He comes back with great lyrics and all the main vocals and backing harmonies. A complete song.

    If you have a musical idea, or a full song, but no vocals, I would highly recommend getting Kai to work with you.

  7. Review by Ken Evans
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    Kai has a sound knowledge in music composition and production,
    He has good lyric writing skills and a great vocal range.
    He is a pleasure to work with, and understands what is needed
    To enhance any project to a become a well produced product.
    Definitely would recommend .

  8. Review by Matt
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    I've worked with Kai on numerous projects and he's definitely a talented vocalist, songwriter and producer. Kai is also an excellent communicator who knows how to effectively manage collaborative projects. Highly recommended!

Interview with Kai Canyon Ellis

  1. Q: What's your typical work process?

  2. A: 1. Listen to the song just as a pure listener. Fall in love with it first. 2. Usually by the end of the first listen ideas have already started to come to me. 3. Listen again and start humming along in nonsense syllables. 4. Rinse and repeat until the melody and lyric have taken a sure shape. 5. Head into the studio and give it a real run through. You don't know how well each element is working until you actually step behind the microphone and sing it. 6. Sing the heck out of the song on every take and record the best performance possible. 7. Comb through the tracks for the best takes possible. Comp from different takes whenever necessary. 8. Once the best vocal has been prepared, send it off to the client.

  3. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  4. A: A client from Sweden had a rough demo he had cooked up but wasn't sure where to go with the vocal. And just to be clear - this client is himself a singer and no slouch behind the microphone. But we had worked together before, so he knew that I could listen and come up with something compelling pretty quickly. The vocal and lyric I sent back to him just absolutely blew his hair back and he called it "one of the best songs I've ever been a part of." I couldn't agree more for myself, either. He had something incredible already. It just needed that extra professional push to get it out of the atmosphere.

  5. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  6. A: I've got a songwriter out of Dallas who's tapped me to help him finally bring some demos to life. He's sent me two so far and both vocals I've sent back to him have had his jaw on the floor. He thinks that's just because I'm so talented - and sure, that's part of it - but it's also because he writes truly amazing music and, for me, that makes it easier than easy to be inspired.

  7. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  8. A: Not yet, but I'm new here. Just give me a minute. I'll have lots of friends to tell clients about very soon :)

  9. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  10. A: Don't make me choose! They're both beautiful. There's so much character to analog, and there's so much clarity to digital. The true professional knows this and gets the most out of both of them.

  11. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  12. A: The vocal to your song will be sheer ear candy to anyone that listens to it. They'll have it stuck in their heads long before they've learned the lyrics.

  13. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  14. A: There is nothing - NOTHING - like the sheer joy coming from a client who's gotten a vocal that's destroyed all their expectations. That's the moment I live for.

  15. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  16. A: Funny enough, the question people usually want to know if I'm going to make them change their song. My answer is always only if they want me to. But hopefully they've brought me something they already believe in, and whenever possible, I like to treat the music as a beautiful thing and write to it just the way it is.

  17. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  18. A: That there's some kind of mystic sorcery to it. There's not. It's a lot closer to black magic than that ;) Nah, the truth is, we're all good at different things and we've all spent time cultivating different skills. I was born with a gift for writing vocals and singing songs, but it's taken me years and years to get as good as I am at it. The great thing is that now we have the opportunity to combine our talents and create something special that neither of us could do on our own.

  19. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  20. A: What is your vision for the song? What kind of vocal are you looking for? Do you have any songs that you were inspired by? Do you have any songs that you want me to be inspired by?

  21. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  22. A: Believe in yourself and your song. That's what will guarantee that this is an adventure. I only work with people who want the world to hear what they have to offer. There's nothing less motivating than someone who's wishy washy about whether their song is even any good. You've got to be honest with yourself. If it's terrible, that's ok. Write something else. But if it's great, let go of any self loathing and let's make it into something the world won't forget.

  23. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  24. A: Laptop, Pre Amp, Microphone, Vocal Booth, and an Infinite Chocolate Maker

  25. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  26. A: After a lifetime of writing songs and not knowing what to do with them, I turned 30 and decided to get serious about learning to sing, record, and produce songs. That was 7 years ago. Since then, I've developed relationships with peers and role models in the industry. Some were even artists I was initially just a fan of, but then they were exposed to my work and reached out to me to work together. This life has been such a blessing. I'm excited to work with even more talented artists through SoundBetter.

  27. Q: How would you describe your style?

  28. A: Melodic and memorable. My songs are meant to be ear candy. I want them stuck in your head whether you know the lyrics or not.

  29. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  30. A: David Bowie - if he was still with us. But among the living - bring me Billie Eilish. The level of genius there is always staggering.

  31. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  32. A: Most folks are doing damage control for days or weeks because they goofed up some fundamentals way back at the composition stage. If you just make sure you've chosen instruments that already sound distinct from each other then the mixing engineer doesn't have nearly as high a mountain to climb, and if you write a vocal that rolls off the tongue it's much, much easier for the singer to get good, clean takes without hours of struggle.

  33. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  34. A: My all time favorite genre is cinematic pop songs - check out the Ki: Theory cover of "Enjoy the Silence" for a good example - but I'm comfortable singing in just about any style that requires emotion, expression, and range.

  35. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  36. A: I'm a great singer, but I'm an even better topliner.

  37. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  38. A: An incredible intuition for melody, phrasing, and lyric writing. I come from the Max Martin school of songwriting. The words matter, but most important is that the vocal be memorable and roll right off the tongue. We're not trying to write a tongue twister here. The song should be stuck in people's heads whether they know the lyrics or not.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I've got a variety of microphones and sound spaces for capturing the right sound and feel on the way into the box. Sometimes you want a room as dry as a bone to capture the vocal without any ambience at all. Other times you want that cathedral noise happening on every note. It just depends on what the song needs.

  41. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  42. A: Billie Eilish, Max Martin, Mutt Lange, Marc Foster, Bob Rock, Seal, Sting, David Bowie, Prince, Garbage, INXS, Andy Wallace, Rick Beato

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: Most often clients send me a piece of music they believe in and I write and record an incredible vocal to go along with it. Some clients want me to mix the vocal on top of the music just as it is. Others want vocal STEMs so that they can mix it themselves. Either is ok with me. Whatever puts the biggest smile on the client's face.

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Terms Of Service

Need a demo? $50. Once we're good, 50% upfront. Need revisions? The first two are free, then $50 each. Rights and royalties - totally negotiable. Songwriting credits... maybe. Let's talk.

GenresSounds Like
  • Daughtry
  • Depeche Mode
  • Michael Bublé
Gear Highlights
  • Rode NT1
  • AKG P420
  • Shure SM58
  • Samson C01
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10% off if you'll just be brave enough to ask for it :)

  • Working with an instrumentalist from DallasApr 11, 2021

    This is a guy who I was a fan of long before we started working together. Let me tell ya'll - dreams do come true!