Spotlight Interview with Calista Kazuko
Calista Kazuko just hit us with a fresh single that boasts tons of soul and does it with a stylish neo-jazz R&B tonality that gives it a mature and intelligent sheen and grabs at your attention as percussion builds and sounds swell.
What's really cool about "So Much Love" is that the chorus has this sort of heavier edgy feel to it before it subtly calms down back into the flowing and crisp verses.
This single shows so much influence and so much in the way of having a knowledge on how songs are arranged and then taking the rules and bending them to your will.
That hook sticks with you and with a fiery beat and lush soundscape, the vocals sit atop perfectly and give the song that attitude it needed to be completed.
And you can feel that energy. You can feel that passion and how she approached this performance.
It's a youthful but experienced character that Kazuko portrays and the way it's pulled off is done with patience and tastefulness.
There is plenty about this release that is outside the box a bit. Things that help the artist push her own boundaries as a songwriter and those are the same things that make the song so addicting.
With the release of such a great single, we wanted to have a char with Calista about it all.
Here's what happened:
RAG: Okay so let's start with " So Much Love". This single has a warming rock feel to it
and felt cinematic as well! Where did this single come from?
Hey! I actually started writing the song years ago but never did anything with it. Then
when I was writing songs for the ‘Uchi’ project I thought ‘aha, this is the perfect fit’! We
recorded the song when I was super pregnant, bursting with oxytocin (and SO MUCH
LOVE!) at the iconic Temple Music Studio, home to musical legends Jon Hiseman and
Barbara Thompson which would have seen decades of rock history being made in its
walls. Perhaps that’s where the warming rock feel comes from! I worked with the genius
that is Ru Lemer and I’m so happy with the big, cinematic feel we created along with my
amazing band Sam Weston on bass and Fred Claridge on drums (who was playing Jon
Hiseman’s legendary drum kit!)
RAG: So how did this all begin for you really? When did you fall in love with making
Both my parents were musicians so I was soaked in music from birth and I can’t
remember thinking of anything else to do with my life! I started writing songs and went
out gigging, dragging my keyboard around Camden as a teenager. I like the way you
phrase ‘fall in love with making music’ and have to say this feeling of total bliss and love
for me comes when I have complete creative freedom. Of course money and brief driven
jobs are great but nothing beats music making without boundaries, when you go into the
studio and it’s like going into Narnia’s closet, for those magical moments the whole world
RAG: Who is in your headphones right now?
Fiona Apple is always in my headphones; she can do no wrong in my eyes! Her latest
album ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ is just divine � �
RAG: Were you always a vocalist or is there an instrument that you started with first?
Both my parents were violinists and I actually started squeaking away at the violin at age
three! I started learning the piano when I was about ten and immediately fell in love with it.
When playing live I mostly accompany myself singing with a piano, keyboard or synth but
also do songs with the accordion and more recently the ukulele as it’s so light and I love
RAG: What inspires you to write a song?
I find I’m the most productive when I have a concept I’d like to explore or a story I want to
tell. Sometimes in the past when I’ve sat down at the piano to write without any direction
I’ve found myself just staring at the wall for ages. I guess for this reason my releases are
usually bigger than just the song. The message or campaign becomes the catalyst for
writing or vice versa. I’m interested to see how becoming a Mum affects my songwriting
as it’s changed who I am and how I see the world so much.
RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this song. Who are some of your biggest musical
Ahhh thanks! I’m inspired by so many different artists and sounds but if I had to choose a
few I would say the showmanship of Freddie Mercury (my all time hero), the theatricality
of Queen, the power and playfulness of Kate Bush and the effortless cool of PJ Harvey.
Some other huge influences of mine are Carole King, Tori Amos and Regina Spektor
especially for the way they play with classical and jazz references and their innovative use
of the piano.
RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
Being the best Mama I can be to my beautiful baby girl and the best wife poss to my
incredibly hunky hubby!
RAG: Who are you listening to right now?
Duolingo French podcast lol! I’m on a mission to get my French up to scratch by the time
our baby is at French nursery and talking. I don’t want her and her French Papa to have a
secret language where they can say how stinky I am without me realising!!
RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do?
So pre-covid I would have said YES! Live shows were a huge part of my music and I was
lucky enough to do some amazing shows including playing at Wembley arena (that was
wild!) I love playing in the US you guys are always so super friendly! I’ve done 3 tours
along the west coast and always had a great time. One of my favorite places I played
was at the Viper Room in LA, will have to let you know next time we’re in town! But since
covid and then having our beautiful baby I’ve not been in the mood to perform. Am
starting to get the itch again though so will no doubt hit the stage again soon.
RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
I have written my first MUSICAL! � it’s called ‘The Quickening’ and (obviously I’m a little
biased) but I think it’s great!! It’s a collaboration with the incredible playwright Stephanie
Martin and it’s being premiered in London early 2023. I can’t wait to see our beauty many
years in the making finally be unleashed onto the world!!
I’m also revving up the engine to start making some more music which I really can’t wait
for. Am so excited to get back in the studio!
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Just a huge thank you! Music making can be such an insular process filled with many life
questioning meltdowns along the way. The thought of someone at the other end of the
world sitting listening to my music and enjoying it totally blows my mind and makes this
whole music malarkey make sense!
Thanks so much for having me and for all the fabulous work RAG do, you rock! �