THANKS to KayBe…
PHOTO CREDIT: @premakemyday
for talking with me about her new single, Love You Naughty, and what its story is. I ask her about the album, Lovesongs, and what it was like producing and working on the songs. She talks about her life in Los Angeles and how she got into music – KayBe reveals her favourite artists and albums.
I wanted to know whether she is touring soon and what advice she would give to artists emerging; what she hopes to achieve before the end of the year; how her diagnosis of pertussis affected her – the songwriter ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, KayBe. How are you? How has your week been?
So great! (Smiles). Thanks! Loving the break from the heat! How has your week been? (Winks).
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Of course! I am KayBe. I write and sing love songs. I write about real-life feelings, scenarios; instances all with serious, passionate emotions but, really, while hoping to emote a little fun…I have to laugh at my obsessive behavior and feelings sometimes! I write heart on my sleeve lyrics and melodies that move those feelings to life. Outside of music, I love to laugh; listen to jokes, play board games; workout and be with my family.
Love You Naughty is your latest song. Is there a personal story behind the song?
Love You Naughty was a daydream. I RARELY remember my dreams (only nightmares), however… when I’m daydreaming, I seriously space and I remember certain vivid scenes that still come to life when I sing some of these lyrics. When I sing this song and listening to the full-produced track, I literally feel like I am living my own naive, young love; innocent, movie; happy-go-lucky, fairytale; no-worries romance. And that’s exactly how my daydreams were.
The love that people tell you doesn’t REALLY exist, that’s this song…and it does exist! Not just in daydreams (smiles). I daydreamed my own love for the majority of my life and wrote songs about them with whatever outcome I chose…and now I am living out the songs and the love that I manifested (smiles).
It is from the album, Lovesongs. You produced the record. What was it like working on the songs and seeing them come to life in the studio?
Honestly…it was THE BEST feeling ever. And, going into these sessions, I would literally say to myself: “In a few hours, you’re going to have a sound and a song that no one knew existed”. That is the best part about being a creator! This project actually came about because I was so frustrated sitting on so many songs that only had roots. They had the melody, they had the lyrics; the songs were there but there was no life…and I was waiting around…feeling dependent on someone else who I thought could only bring my music to life.
Then, I literally thought the words ‘And for what? What is all this for if you’re not sharing it with anyone else?’. I was given a voice in music and a voice with words and it was hiding in my books and in-between the walls of my bedroom and so I said: ‘I’m going to produce this music myself…and, besides, no one can no better the sounds that I’m hearing in my head except me’. And so I produced it and, other than my mixer, the first time anyone’s heard these tracks is the day that they’re released.
Literally, creating something from nothing; brand-new. I’m like: ‘Let’s see what I can do today!’ Knowledge and creativity is power and it’s important to realize your strengths, talk yourself up; be proud of your offerings and let your gifts come to life so that you can continue to keep giving!
But, as far as production; I’ve NEVER done this before! That thought inhibited me for years. I was telling myself I wasn’t a producer because I’d never done it and I’d never had lessons, or taken classes or anything of the sort. But, once I broke through that fallacy production was so fun! And, honestly, for this being my first project…I am actually thankful that I went into it with no guidelines, teachings or anything because I got to start with a blank canvas: no preconceived rules or notions. There was no such thing as right or wrong or technicalities or anything. If it sounded good that was it.
After having produced fourteen tracks, I have learned so much and improved throughout the making of this record which has inspired me to learn and actually research into certain techniques because I have the taste now and I want to get better and learn more about the art. So, we’ll see what happens next time on my next project! (Winks).
You were raised on Country music and grew up around a lot of great stuff. When did music come into your life and which artists do you view as most important?
Yes, I was! (Smiles). I loved LeAnn Rimes and Shania Twain. I feel like I learned to belt from LeAnn and Shania’s songs were my favorite! I think her songwriting and down-to-earth lyrics and playful vibe really inspired me. But, I have to talk about Whitney Houston and Celine Dion because I always listened to them too - and I think those classic love songs really moved me to be such a hopeless, passionate romantic which you also hear in my songs as well.
I also was a dancer for twelve years and that aspect of my life was crazy-important too because there is definitely something about a song that can not only move your soul but move your body as well. Not all of them have to do both, but I think both elements are absolutely crucial to have in your repertoire. Sometimes, it’s important to take ourselves seriously; be in our feelings and hearts - and other times it’s just about letting go and shaking your body. No one artist or element is more important than the other because each different inspiration that I take from the greats around me helps influence and mould me into the unique, multi-elemental musician I am today (smiles).
Starting life in St. Louis; you are now based in Los Angeles. How have you adapted to the changing landscape?! Do you find you’re taking in new sounds and sources of inspiration?
Ummmm…yes it feels like I am on a completely different planet. Haha. The cultures and lifestyles are so different but I am thankful for both worlds. I love St. Louis and it was a great place for me to grow up and I love Los Angeles now and it’s a great place for me to be now pursuing my music and playing and singing around town. But, that’s not to say things don’t change in the future. Wherever life takes me or calls me, I want to go. I feel like I’ve done the most growing as a person and definitely as an artist in Los Angeles.
I’ve just learned a lot about life and myself and I feel like I’ve really come into everything that I was meant to be (and still am). It’s great that I feel like I’m living that uninhibitedly. In L.A., I have learned to take more risks and to not be afraid to be myself…and I am constantly presented with wonderful music opportunities. It’s a real treasure to be surrounded by so many other crazy-talented musical people in this little hub on the planet!
You were diagnosed with pertussis years ago - and that affected your vocal chords. Did you feel that would end your music career?! How have you adapted since then?
To be completely honest: no, I didn’t. It was even a thought EVER that I would stop singing but it was sooooo frustrating I was in high-school and there was NO time to stop and think. Maybe I should really, really take some time off and care for my voice because I never really wanted to believe that the damage was that serious. So, I continued in three-four choirs. I was a cheerleader and a social butterfly and my chords never healed and I tried to push them and push them through everything else I was doing and it was a vicious cycle. After years, it became the normal and I remember thinking to myself all the time: ‘What is wrong with me!? Why can’t I do so effortlessly what I used to be able to do without thinking?’
PHOTO CREDIT: @premakemyday
They were so fragile; the littlest things would affect how I sounded and everything was just a vicious cycle. I felt like an injured athlete on the sidelines watching everyone else do what I knew I could do too. Then I started getting NERVOUS before performances - which I NEVER used to do - and that seriously affected me and my mentality and my overall performance, of course. I would get nervous cus I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to sing as well I had or if I could hit all the notes or what would happen with my voice.
I became so much more critical of myself, which wasn’t a good thing either. Then, all of a sudden, years later…I was taking better care of my voice and I was training it again, properly; giving it love and working it out like a muscle and giving it rest when it asked for. Then, I started improving again instead of moving backwards. Songs that I couldn’t sing three months prior on the radio were all of a sudden effortless and then things kept going. The songs I wrote three/four years ago are different than the songs I’m writing now because my range keeps improving again. I will ALWAYS put my health and my vocal chords as a top priority. It’s so important to take time off if needed and to take the extra time to care for myself. My body is my instrument - and it’s the only one I have!
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Make more music! Play more shows! Sing, sing, sing! I just have been thinking about my life more from a bird’s-eye view lately. I just want to look back at myself and know that I tried my hardest and took all the opportunities I could! If there’s an opportunity to play, to sing, to dance, to write then I’m going to do it. Of course; I hope my music reaches as many people that want to hear it and as many people as it will move. But, I also know that it already has too (smiles). I’m thankful for my success; I aim to keep moving forward and growing and as long as there is a space. I want to sing every chance I can get.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Honestly, when I play live - every single time - I get so high and feel so good. Like I was made for something and that I have purpose, value and I am living it. Some shows over others hit me harder, but seriously, live music is the best. You’re there with people. You’re feeling and singing the lyrics and the emotions yourself but you’re sharing that with people on a live, real intimate level…right there! Together!
Music is universal and it’s a connection with others that feel you, have felt you; know you and your experiences feelings and thoughts, which is what being a human and what this life is all about. It’s instant gratification. You see the room of people connecting, feeling and enjoying what you’re putting out there. It’s totally awesome.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
…Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
She was the female Pop Icon of my time. I’m pretty sure I made up a music video for every one of those songs in front of my mirror. Honestly; that’s some good, classic Pop and those songs still hold up today (smiles).
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Obviously. Everybody knows why...
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems - Kenny Chesney
I played this album over and over and OVER again and it included the mega Country hit The Good Stuff. That was, honestly, the first song that made me look inside myself and say: ‘I want to write songs too’. That was the album I listened to as a wannabe songwriter. I started analyzing lyrics because they moved me on some level in every emotion and I knew I wanted to be the one writing those!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I'm so into Ariana Grande right now - and her new music is great. I would love to open for her. All I would require is gummy bears in my dressing room and a comfortable place to sleep (smiles).
Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
Yes! West Coast dates coming so soon! In and out of L.A., so stay tuned! I also plan to travel back to the Midwest and play a bit in my hometown St. Louis! Look out (smiles).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t give up and have faith in yourself. If you like what you’re doing and you believe in it, then you’re doing it. Also; remember what’s important and do it because you love it and it means something. There are a lot of fallacies and myths about what matters and what makes you a good artist; like what your numbers are; your following and money…but that’s not true. Good music is what’s important, so stay true to that and to you.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jaqueline Justice/LOGO DESIGN: Jessica Yohn
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
To be honest, I’ve been listening to Ariana Grande’s new album for the last two weeks. Haha But, I did recently see Roots of a Rebellion on their West Coast tour in L.A. They’re a Reggae band based out of Nashville and their show was so much fun! Great lyrics, great vibes and great music!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
When I’m doing music then that is my chill time! It’s what I’d rather be doing above all else. But, I love working out. It feels so good. I love hiking (because I live in L.A. and everyone does (laughs). I love exploring and eating my way through new, local restaurants and I love board games and puzzles. I’ve also watched The Office thousands of times while doing crosswords and sudokus. Also; I’m into the new Castle Rock Stephen King show on Hulu!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Yay! Haha. I think you should play In My Feelings by Drake…cus he does shout-out KayBe (smiles).