At first blush, Pink Sky might seem like just another one of Michigan’s many emerging electronic music projects.
But there are key elements that set it apart.
For one thing, its live instrumentation — hardware synthesizers, drum samplers and an electric piano with live visuals — creates “an opportunity for self-reflection” while helping people “connect to the emotionality” of songs created by the Grand Rapids duo of Ryan and Angelica Hay.
For another, Pink Sky represents an integral part of this couple’s life and personality.
“Pink is much more than just a band to us,” Ryan Hay said. “It’s become the driving force in our lives, connecting us with ourselves, with each other and with our community.
“It’s the result of living and working through trauma, of setting an intention, of relinquishing previous identities and fears, and, mostly, of taking two big steps forward into the scary unknown — of putting ourselves out there in ways we never have before. So, it means a lot.”
As a result, the duo’s distinctive music has turned heads and cultivated a growing West Michigan fan base over the past year.
Pink Sky’s latest studio recording, “FORMS,” shot straight to the No. 1 spot on the Local Spins Hot Top 5 chart last summer, representing the regional album getting the most airplay at Grand Rapids radio station WYCE-FM, several weeks before it was even officially released.
“It’s an honor really, that we don’t take lightly,” said Angelica Hay. “We are really grateful for the support we’ve been getting from WYCE since we sent in our album. The positive response from programmers across the country has exceeded our expectations, and it’s particularly heartwarming to feel such tremendous love in our hometown.”
Pink Sky hopes to find that same sort of affection in northern Michigan when the indie-electronic duo plays Traverse City for the first time at 7 p.m. Jan. 25, performing “Live in the Yurt” at The Little Fleet on East Front Street. Tickets are $12, available online at mynorthtickets.com.
“We couldn’t think of a better show to introduce ourselves,” Ryan Hay said. “We’re really excited to play non-traditional spaces and connect with our audience in intimate settings.”
Starting this spring, the duo will ramp up its performances even more by touring the Midwest after Angelica Hay graduates with master’s degrees in painting and visual critical studies at Grand Rapids’ Kendall College of Art & Design.
The duo also hosts house shows where they pair musicians with visual and performance artists in their home studio.
“Later this summer, we are going to release our second LP and continue to play shows and build community here in Grand Rapids,” Ryan Hay added.
Before that, the band will join 33 other regional acts playing the WYCE Jammie Awards show on Feb. 8 at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, where Pink Sky also is nominated for a few awards, including Best Album by a New Artist for “FORMS.”
“We’re honored to be nominated and play amongst such notable regional talent at the 20th Jammies this year,” said Ryan Hay, noting the band recorded the album “like we play live, and that energy may resonate with many of our fans.”
Angelica Hay said they’ve gotten encouraging feedback “regarding the production quality, cohesiveness and vibe of the album, which is encouraging to say the least."
“Some common feedback after our live shows often goes something like, ‘I don’t really like electronic music, but I really liked that,’ which is a high compliment for us, because in many ways we identify as a band more so than electronic musicians or producers, even though we are both and we love electronic music. Playing live instruments at shows is such a profound experience, and it’s one that isn’t common enough anymore, especially in the electronic genre.
She added: “We designed Pink Sky to function like a band from the beginning, which means performing all our instruments live with no computer on stage, so the energy of the audience can have a significant impact on what we play and how we play it. This allows us to intimately and uniquely connect with our music in each performance.”