Kyle Novy has been a singer-songwriter for a long time. But it had been about 10 years since he released any music. He was still writing songs, but the timing to record them wasn't right.
“I almost think of it like the whole pregnancy process," he explains. "I mean there’s a good nine months of development before this child is ready to be birthed, and like out in the world.”
Two years ago, Kyle says he had an idea pop into his head. Instead of releasing just one new album with 10 - 12 songs, what if he produced one big album— with 52 songs— and released it over the course of a year?
“I spent that whole year thinking about it, talking to friends," he says. "I would ask people about, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’"
Kyle says he got mixed reviews. Some producers told him it would be very difficult to do the project because of the sheer number of songs.
But Kyle Novy was stubborn. Now, 30 years-old, he really felt like the timing was right. So he raised over $22,000 dollars on Kickstarter to fund the music project he’s calling Mount Valor.
Last summer, Kyle and his wife moved their small family to a new home in Fife Lake. Kyle converted one of the bedrooms into a music studio. He even has a make-shift vocal recording booth in the closet.
That is where Kyle spends countless hours tweaking the sounds, trying to get the perfect blend of instruments. Once he's finished with a rough mix of a song, he sends it to a mixing engineer for finalization.
Early on in the Mount Valor project, Kyle decided he wasn’t going to charge people for any of his music.
Anyone can download the songs off his website for free. And that’s because Kyle doesn’t view his music as a product.
“What I make as an artist, what I create— I want to give as a gift," he explains. "It’s valuable to me that I have the gift to be able to make music, and I just want to see it as something I can bless other people with.”
Kyle Novy is originally from the Pacific Northwest. He moved to Michigan several years ago to take a job as a singer-songwriter instructor at Interlochen Arts Academy. He says teaching has forced him to practice what he preaches, and to focus on what his role as an artist is.
Kyle says he hopes to capture things like truth, beauty, goodness, and light.
“I think of myself like a photographer," Kyle says. "Just trying to find that one spot where I can click."
Of the 52 songs that make up Mount Valor, there’s a huge mix of different styles and genres. Folk, ballad, electronic— some have an urban hip-hop sound to them. A recent release even features Katie Larson of The Accidentals.
“And I just treated this whole project as one big experiment," Kyle says. "I’m the producer and the performer, so I don’t have to beat myself up, I can just try things.”
In early 2016, Kyle and his wife welcomed their third child into the world. That was one reason he was behind his self-imposed schedule in November of 2016. Back then he only had 28 of his 52 songs produced.
But he quickly closed that gap. In January, Kyle Novy published his final 8 songs — a little over 54 weeks after he started.
A version of this story was originally published in November 2016.