On The Record: Calista Kazuko

Welcome to Unrecorded! For those who haven’t come across Calista Kazuko before, how would you describe your sound?

Hey so nice to be here! Ah a great yet tricky question. I’d have to say if Norma Desmond and Freddie Mercury had a lovechild who went on to make music… that’s how I imagine my music to sound!

Let’s get straight into your newest single ‘So Much Love’, a meaningful track that is about the love you feel as a partner, a parent, a child, a friend, a human. What inspired this one?

We recorded this song when I was super pregnant with my beautiful baby girl. The oxytocin was coursing through my veins and I was totally loved up on life! I wanted to share these feelings of absolute, pure, unconditional love with this song.

Is it really your first ever love song? And is there a reason why that’s the case?

Yeah it’s funny, when we were getting ready to release the track I thought back on previous releases and realised this was my first proper ‘love song’. (I’m sure I’ve penned many an anguished love song in yesteryears but I guess they never went further than my tear stained paper!) The deep love I feel for my family, my husband and daughter is just incredible so I wanted to record this song as a dedication to them.

You filmed a lovely studio session for ‘So Much Love’. For aspiring recording artists, what’s your top tip for them when going into the studio to create?

Thanks! I love this beautiful video shot by my partner in crime, filmmaker Philip Reinking. I wanted to capture the song live as we recorded with my burgeoning baby bump at the historic Temple Music Studio, home to musical legends Barbara Thompson and Jon Hiseman who, alongside their daughter artist Ana Gracey, are like a second family to me.

My top tip for aspiring recording artists would be to go ‘offline’ when you’re in the studio. Phones on airplane mode or even better switched off. Easier said than done I know, but I find I’m so much more productive when I switch off from the outside world and can really zone in on the music making. If I wanna capture moments for socials and the such I ask someone in the studio to grab them or you can take pics and vids on your phone whilst in airplane and then upload after you’re done.

And for listeners of your music, is there something you always like them to take away from your music or does it differ from track to track, for example compared to ‘Panda’?

With the music I’m releasing as part of the ‘Uchi’ campaign, which includes ‘So Much Love’ and ‘Panda’, my aim is to make people feel fabulous and uplifted. After the past few years we’ve been through as a global community think it’s the least we deserve! I believe we as musicians have a powerful gift to be able to tell people’s stories and provide a voice to someone that might not otherwise be heard. I love to explore themes in my music that I hope the listener can take away something from, whether that’s feeling a certain way, learning something new or maybe even seeing the world from a different point of view.

Are there any bands or artists from your local music scene that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

I recorded my album ‘Empress’ at the Rattle in South London, an awesome studio space with an even more awesome community of creatives. I made some for life pals there like the incredible artists Faultress and Gemini Eye. I implore you to check out their music! We have often fantasised of starting a band together so watch this space! 

And lastly, what plans do you have for the rest of the year? 

I’m so lucky to have the sensational playwright Stephanie Martin as a writing partner and we’ve written our first musical together! It’s called ‘The Quickening’ and is due to hit the London stage for its big debut in early 2023. I will also be heading back into the studio to make some new music which I can’t wait for. Thanks so much having me!

You can also listen to ‘So Much Love’ in our Shades of Pop and Outsiders Club playlist.

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