Interview with Americana Pop Songstress KayBe
KayBe grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and moved from Nashville to Los Angeles in 2013 to pursue a career in pop music. KayBe has been known for her raw ability to belt and croon all at once the honest and most melodious self-written tunes over the history of her career.
HEY KAYBE, THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS KAYBE IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
I’m pretty dramatic 🙂 If you can’t tell by my music. So if you only know my music… you know the drama, you know the 110% head over heels, leave nothing left unsaid, side of me 🙂 And that’s all true. You’re always going to get 110% of whatever emotion I’m feeling, however I have a sassy and definite goofy side that I’m not sure I’ve showed too much in my music. I refuse to let anyone disrespect me or come anywhere close… that goes for anyone I love and care about as well and I am a hard worker and I will tell you exactly how I feel… sometimes straight and narrow and other times maybe a little more gently 😉 But I’m a true, loyal friend and I want the best for you whether it makes me the good guy or the bad guy. But I also LOVE to mess around and make people laugh. So I don’t think I’m boring… but there are more sides to me than a dramatic love song writer.
I LOVE PUZZLES. More than anything. I love vanilla ice cream, sea lions, elephants, baseball (Go St. Louis Cardinals) and pizza. I’m not too hard to please.
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR NEW SINGLE, “ALL I EVER WANTED”?
“All I Ever Wanted” is awesome (if I’m allowed to say that, lol). But I say that because it’s SOOO ambiguous. The song has soooo many different outlets to mean so many different things. The melody is a passionate yearning and a wholly vulnerable moment of submission. And that sort of languished longing and sensitivity is the emotion I absolutely live for. That dramatic, all or nothing, passion that you read about in old romance novels. However I love this song because it doesn’t necessarily have to be about a romantic affair… just something so sought after and with the passion of a lifetime. Sonically the melody dances from happy and resolved chords to mysterious and enigmatic moments and crying ‘oohs and ahhs’ matching the pleas of the sentiment. The instrumentation is as equally eerie as it is gorgeous and touching. I am so very proud of this simply, simply poignant piece. I hope you enjoy it.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSICAL STYLE? HAS YOUR STYLE CHANGED MUCH OVER THE YEARS?
Genre-blending. Dreamy vocals and pop melodies over Americana instrumentation; a stirring piano and emotive bass lines. Yes, my style has changed as far as recording. I’ve ALWAYS been a solo singer playing my own piano, but I love acoustic and sparse accompaniment. Things to enhance and drive the feel and frame the melody and lyrics. When I first moved to LA I was pursuing the bubblegum pop route because I, myself, am so bubbly and I loved where Pop was at and the rhythms that made you want to dance. While I still LOVE pop music, when I sit down at the piano and start writing… the melodies and lyrics I was creating required more of an organic approach. Something to allow the vocal and lyrics to drive the intention and framework of the song and allow the timbre and texture of a few other instruments come in and embellish and really create a scene and that stirring inside your heart.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR ARTISTIC INSPIRATION?
Feeling. Anything that moves me… sometimes it’s a sound, a chord, a melody, other times it’s a word, an idea, a scene. Anything really. And it changes… as you grow and experience new things and evolve into different stages of life and what’s going on around you. What used to move me doesn’t have the same hold on me anymore, but a deeper understanding of those old feelings can inspire something new. Priorities change, love is always surfacing in different people and means. But I don’t force it. If it twists my insides, if I feel a warmth in my chest, if I lose my breath, then it’s something to be pursued… otherwise… I keep humming, keep exploring and it will come naturally.
Yes, I listen, analyze, learn and feel other musical pieces and sometimes I’ll hear something new or clever that will challenge me to think in a different way. It can be anything. But it absolutely has to move me.
WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS LIKE FOR MAKING MUSIC?
It’s different for every song. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true 🙂 Anyone that likes to create knows that your mind never stops looking or noticing things that inspire different things. It’s a blessing and a curse… lol you’re never off the clock. It could be a dream in the middle of the night where you hear a melody, someone could say something in line at the grocery store that sparks a lyric; anything. So whenever that ‘thing’ hits, I work from there. Sometimes I’m just noodling around on my piano playing pretty sounds and something will stick and I’ll write around that. But again, once that one thing inspires the idea, then everything comes around that… and the art almost tells you what to do from then. Some songs need a prechorus, some don’t, some have a traditional verse, verse chorus structure, some don’t, but if you listen to the music… it has a way of telling you. Again… don’t force it to be anything it’s not.
A lot of times however, I’ll go through phases… whether it’s an emotional thing or a technique thing… maybe I’ve been spending a lot of time in a 3/4 count or most of my songs have started on the piano… if I find myself writing the same thing with the same ideas and sounds… I know it’s time to get out of my head and into someone else’s. Maybe I fiddle around on the guitar to get new sounds and rhythms to play with… a lot of times I’ll put down the instruments all together and just hum for a few days… and that’s a GREAT way that I come up with most of my melodies… and it’s the true test to see if the melody or song can stand on it’s own. As far as lyrics… I am extremely particular about the poetry and reason behind each line… in the sense that everything HAS to have a purpose in each spot… it has to correlate in a certain way. There has to be synchrony in all the parts… everything is analogous in the lyrics and music… it’s something that if you really dive into you might be like… Ohhhhhhh! But it’s also just for my musically OCD’d piece of mind.
HOW IMPORTANT IS PERSONAL BRANDING IN YOUR PROFESSION AND WHAT YOU DO TO GROW YOUR BRAND?
It’s extremely important to BE YOURSELF. And THAT is your ‘brand.’ I think a lot of times branding gets misconstrued and convoluted… and that’s where you get inauthentic and contrived work… and to me… it doesn’t move me at all. We all think we HAVE to be something and that means forcing something out of the ordinary or being so loud about things… but if it isn’t natural… it will not work… at least not for the long haul or in the end you will not be happy. There were SO many times I was told to morph my sound, my image, my anything, to be something other than I was. Well, I was never happy with the final product of my sound and it was WAY to hard to keep up that brand anyway cus it was always a job. It was always false… it was always work to be something I wasn’t or didn’t really believe. And guess what I finally learned… JUST BE YOURSELF. I had heard it so many times, but it takes a while to grasp sometimes… especially when you’re working in an industry where you feel sometimes you need everyone to like you because you are your product. Well guess what, not everyone is going to like you or your product, but people will respect someone that is genuine and stands firm in who they are and what they are all about. It’s consistency, honesty and truth. People can hold onto that. When thinking about your brand, do what makes you YOU and what makes you comfortable. My voice IS different then others, I DO have a different platform and goal than others so why wasted time comparing and trying to do what they are doing? don’t. lol As long as your consistent… people can hold onto that and invest into you because they know who you are and what they’re getting. In order to ‘build my brand’ so to speak… I just share. My product is art… music. And I obviously have a sound and vibe. So I share myself… all the things that help contribute to it, inspirations, creative process, and sometimes just a little of my life. That’s something for people to relate to… because it’s real and it’s all in line with what they hear in the end! So it’s always honest and consistent. If you like my music you’ll enjoy the inspiration and creation behind it and probably a little about me since I write about my life and experiences… and then vise versa. Anyway… once I got through the whole phase of listening to what other’s thought I should be and decided to just be myself… that’s when I really found success. People love the truth.
LASTLY, WHAT ARE YOUR MUSIC GOALS FOR THIS YEAR, AND HOW ARE YOU WORKING TOWARD ACHIEVING THEM?
To release, make and share more music. I want to create and share way more music than I have been on an exponential level! I had a lot to learn (and am still learning) and there were and will be a LOT of bumps along the way, but I create and write and sing ALL THE TIME and I want to share way more of that! Also… I have plans to release a LOT more originals this year, yay! But I’m also working on multi-genre spending cover projects that I am SOOO excited about and I think a lot of my fans will be excited about too 😉 Many of them requested these things without even knowing! So I’m excited to keep sharing more and more!
Writing, creating and singing isn’t the hard part… it’s getting all the things in order after that… the business side of things, so that’s what I’m working on right now! 🙂 Stay tuned!