After cementing herself with a fresh and dynamic array of offerings over the last few months, London-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Calista Kazuko has now returned to deliver her latest effort 'So Much Love'.
Lifted from the extended 'Uchi' project, which consists of songs written and recorded during and after Calista’s pregnancy, 'So Much Love' makes for a wonderfully warm and vibrant listen. With her smooth and silky voice layered amongst bright and shimmering soul-inspired production throughout, she is showcasing herself as a brilliantly inventive name emerging on the scene right now.
So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with her to find out more about her background and what has been inspiring her of late.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
Both my parents were violinists and I actually started sawing away at the violin aged 3! I started learning the piano at around 10 and that’s when the true love affair started. I feel so connected to the piano and love it so much! An extension of that is my love for the accordion but piano is my number one true love!
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
As a teenager I discovered my heroes Kate Bush, Tori Amos and later Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple. I would listen to these incredible artists on repeat and so I’m sure they must have had a huge influence on my songwriting and the artist I’ve become.
What was the first album you remember owning?
Spice Girls - ‘Spice’!
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
‘Natural Woman’ - Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
Yes! I like to do some stretching and warm ups, a little mindfulness exercise and a body scan, then play some of my favourite piano music like Debussy to get into the creative mood… this whole rigmarole can take a while so since having a baby I’ve learnt to trim the process down to 5 mins otherwise I never get any actual writing done!
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
Fiona Apple has always been a fav of mine, she can do no wrong in my eyes!! She’s always made unbelievably FAB music but her latest album ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ is just incredible!
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Freddie Mercury - he’s my ultimate idol!!
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
Someone taking time to talk to me at the end of a gig or send me a message online saying how my music has made them feel a certain way. Hearing I’ve impacted someone in a positive way, made them feel inspired, uplifted or heard, makes the whole thing worth it!
And what is the most frustrating part?
The music industry game and all the rules, cheats and monsters along the way. Sometimes I feel like the more you know the less you want to release music ever again! When I hit one of these walls I have to remind myself to relaaaaxxx and remember, it’s just a game after all.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
My very wise Dad sat me down as a child and explained to me the importance of figuring out what drives you in life - is it money, fame, recognition, self-fulfilment, helping others? He explained how being in tune with what drives you allows you to put the right cogs into motion to make these dreams come true. I’ve lived by this wisdom since and as each new year approaches I check in with myself and my music to figure out where these drivers are at (they change you see!) and the plan of action to adapt accordingly. Being honest with yourself can be much harder than it sounds, but for me is the root to true happiness.
Calista Kazuko's new single 'So Much Love' is available to stream now. Check out the new live rendition, recorded at the iconic Temple Studios in South London, in the player below.