Interview with British Pop Singer Caleidra
(Everyone who reads this blog knows I love all kinds of music. I was presented with an interesting opportunity to interview a young pop singer from England. I listened to her music and noticed a strong ability in her voice and understanding of music even though she was still a teenager. I also found out that she was pretty much an instant hit in her home country, getting discovered via a song she wrote for school…only to then be featured in media such as The Independent, BBC Radio, and the Guardian among others. Caleidra is wise beyond her years, and I see a bright future ahead of her. Cheers-Derek)
Derek Kortepeter: So what music are you writing nowadays, stylistically speaking?
Caleidra: My latest EP, ‘Another Day’, is about relationships from the initial meeting (I Should’ve Known), to are we together or splitting up (Start Again), the depths of break up (‘Another Day’) to finally coming through the other side fighting back (Ask Me Why) – so a real rollercoaster of emotions and all based on real life.
Stylistically, the EP is predominantly pop, and ranges from guitar/ukulele based almost folk-pop, to electro-pop, then a piano based ballad and finally rock-pop, so really taking a stylistic journey through the pop genre. An Italian magazine recently described me as ‘sweet without pretence’, the second bit is definitely true, not sure about the first though. Some of the sound comes from the people I’m working with, like Jud Mahoney who has worked with Chris Brown and Michael Jackson, and John McLaughlin/Dave Thomas Jr who have worked with Mark Owen from Take That, Westlife, Busted, 911, Echo and the Bunnymen and Shane McGowan from the Pogues. The songs are as I intended when I wrote them, I didn’t have to compromise and John himself said I was one of the youngest people he’d worked with where he didn’t feel it necessary to change any of the songs.
D.K.: What can you tell me about the EP that is planned for release in October?
Caleidra: Even though I’m only just seventeen, “Another Day” is an EP that was written over a long period of time. One of its tracks was one of the first I wrote, called “Ask Me Why” from back when I was fourteen, and the latest song “I Should’ve Known” was written very late on last year. The EP addresses the many emotions you feel in a relationship, from energy and excitement shown in “Start Again” to the sadness expressed in “Another Day”. It came together in Glasgow and New York with some amazing people: John McLaughlin, Dave Thomas Jr and Jud Mahoney and I’m really happy with the way it sounds. It’s going to be released on 13th October 2013 and I’m massively excited for everyone to finally hear it!
D.K.: Most people use the term “overnight sensation” in a poetic sense, but you were in the most literal sense of the term. Was it a shock to the system to all of a sudden to have your name in the papers?
Caleidra: Absolutely, but a wonderful shock. I wrote a song called “With You” for my music GCSE coursework. I played it to my teacher and classmates, who loved it, which was amazing enough for me. It was posted on YouTube and the next thing I knew, a record label were interested in releasing it! It’s been crazy since then, being on ITV many times, playing live on BBC radio, in all the national newspapers and teen magazines and led to me meeting some amazing people including my current producer, John McLaughlin and the team behind my latest video who have worked on Coronation Street and Doctor Who!
D.K.: Who are your musical influences?
Caleidra: Avril Lavigne has to be one because her song “Complicated” was the first modern pop song I heard and it was one that I sang constantly for what must have been years. I think Avril Lavigne was the artist who planted the idea in my head that I wanted to go into music.
Taylor Swift is a singer who I have listened to for almost the entirety of my teens. She is definitely a musician who I want to emulate in that she is massively involved in the creation of every single one of her songs.
In 2008, I went to watch Coldplay while they were on their Viva La Vida tour and it was the most amazing show I have ever seen. It was exciting and colourful and Chris Martin was unbelievably energetic. Coldplay are a massive influence to me because I am always working to show as much energy as they did when I’m on stage.
D.K.: I’ve read that you are a multi-instrumentalist, do you happen to have a preference for one instrument or is it an equal passion for all instruments?
Caleidra: I can play the guitar and ukulele, but my main instrument is the piano. I have written songs on guitar, but most of my songs come when playing the piano. You have everything there, bass, harmony and melody.
D.K.: Did you always know that music was the lifestyle for you?
Caleidra: I’ve been playing the piano since I was around six, and started singing lessons just a few years later. When I reached nine, I realized the only thing I ever wanted to do was to perform. I won a trophy at school when I was 14 for being the best overall musician in my age group, which was amazing because there were so many talented pupils and that gave me a lot of confidence. There is something wonderful about the journey a song takes, from seeing or feeling something in your life, writing this in music and lyrics, the arrangement, then into the studio to record, the video and hearing it on the radio or seeing it on TV – this is a wonderful moment because you are finally sharing that with people and making a connection. Playing live you get to see the effect of that connection and it is the best moment.
D.K.: How do you go about writing your songs?
Caleidra: Often I’m at school and see or hear a comment or an argument and that gives me a lyrical idea and forms the structure of the song. I might get a musical idea also, but often I’ll sit at the piano and almost hear the song before I play it. It has been said that the creative process is one of discovery. The song is there, you just have to find it.
D.K.: What are some of the most memorable venues you have performed in thus far?
Caleidra: The first live concert you play is always the scariest. So playing the party in the park was really exciting and playing in front of my friends made it more so, but it was an amazing experience and playing an outdoor festival is magical. The Roadhouse in Manchester was great, where Coldplay and Muse had played years earlier as well as the DryLive which was formed by Factory Records and New Order, so amazing history there and I could sense that. My most recent concert was just a few weeks ago at the Salford Music Festival and was the largest festival ever held by them, so being part of that was special and the band were fantastic that night.
D.K.: Can you tell me about the musicians in your band?
Caleidra: On keyboards is my brother, Adam. He is an amazing musician himself and some songs I’ve co-written with him will be on my LP coming out next year. On Bass is Byron Wilson and guitar is Paddy Nicholson, graduates of the Leeds College of Music and great musicians and great fun to work with. On drums also is the punk member of the band, Reece Gibson who loves his tattoos and sometimes Mohican, never stops talking and great fun.
D.K.: You’re still a teenager, so do get to have some normalcy (hang out with friends/family etc.) which is so important to experience in those years?
Caleidra : Absolutely. I’m still at school which keeps me grounded. I remember reading about George Clooney that he still played basketball with his school mates when he could. I’d never want to lose touch with my friends and after all, where would I get my inspiration?
D.K.: Anything else you want to say before we close?
Caleidra: Thanks for giving me this opportunity and if people want to hear more and be part of my journey they can find more below. I love it when people contact me, so please tweet or message me.