StreetcredMusic...This blog has followed a quote I heard many years ago..."Sometimes you must leap first, and build your wings on the way down". From nothing it has become a blog containing dozens of Indie artists. Follow me as I introduce you to them, from the place where they breed, New York City! ....and come with us as we document it on film!!

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"Artists In New York" Part VIII... Kalen.

 I have been listening to music for a long time, when I heard Kalen's hit single "Rabid Girl"
it became one of my all time favorites. It "is" New York City. She paints a picture I have seen so many times in Da Apple with her words, and a melody with a rhythm of the Metropolis.

Kalen is about to start her fall "gigs", after a summer of work and fun! is a bit about her and her music as a New Yorker, and life in the city.

Q; Your lyrics, especially your great hit "Rabid Girl" ooze great words of New York City, how much does the city and it's adrenalin influence you and your work?

Kalen...I’m very influenced by environment. NYC is an overwhelming place, rich with poetry and profanity, at once exhilarating and exhausting. I am a country girl at heart and find that I continually return to themes of sea and sky. I long for the natural world when I am in the city because of the contrast with the cacophony of the urban center. Being in NY day in and day out, though, I am consistently driven to try to capture and comment on the experience. I feel a connection with the thousands of artists in the city and those artists who have come before and who have tried to capture the shifting, ephemeral essence of NYC. “Rabid Girl” is a piece about a young lady who is an extreme product of her environment. She reflects the city that has shaped her as well as being a player within its scenery, perpetuating its madness. Painting a picture of place was essential to capture the essence of the song. 

Q; You are from New Hampshire, a graduate of Penn, but I know from experience living in Brooklyn is an education in itself. What were the things about living there that surprised you the most?

Kalen...Observing how quickly things can change and shift in NYC and Brooklyn has been fascinating. People and place really can reinvent themselves here. There is an incredible regenerative life force coursing through the city at all times. There is a dark side to this opportunism, however. If one is not careful, he’ll get swept up in others’ talk and veer off course from one’s own dream and integrity, talking the thieves’ talk and walking a wayward walk. The constant metamorphosis of place and peers can catalyze an unconscious personal distortion, which I’ve seen in many and caught in myself, but is also an opportunity for personal and creative innovation and refinement.

Q; Looking at your music FB "favorites" I didn't see any classic artists, are there any you admire or who had an influence on your work?

Growing up in the country, I had a different relationship with music than
 many of my New York peers. So many of my friends were savvy about the music they loved from a young age and were avid listeners and collectors. That’s closer to how I was with fine arts. Improvising on the piano with little vocal melodies was an organic expression of what I was feeling and thinking about. I wasn’t trying to emulate or appropriate in any conscious way as a young girl when I first fell in love with music. I would, however, listen to my mother’s Motown and classic rock along with jazz piano albums my piano teacher recommended to me. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bill Evans, Dina Ross and The Supremes were favorites. Through later chapters of my life, as I got more seriously into collecting music, I began to add funk, trip hop and Afro-Cuban music in my regular rotation.

Aside from music and other music artists, however, traveling, nature, books and fine artists influence me most. My family lives on the ocean in Maine and I’m inspired by the sea, though I love being outdoors in general. Traveling and seeing new things (which happens in New York City constantly) is another never-ending source of inspiration and experience outside of myself. Italo Calvino’s wacky book, If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler and James Baldwin’s short story, Sonny’s Blues are two of my favorite books. On the art front, I absolutely love Austrian and Germany Expressionist painting.

Q; What's next for Kalen? New releases, gigs, anything we should know about?

Kalen...Presently, I am building a band around my solo work, creating a live experience that moves beyond the singer/songwriter sets I have been doing this last year, returning to a bit more of the performance zaniness from which I temporarily retired with my last project, Ladybug Stingray. I am recording my next EP, "Fallen From The Sun" that will include the spoken word single, “Rabid Girl”. I am also collaborating with some great young producers and songwriters around NYC, some on live shows, others in the studio.

Q; The next time you walk past a coffee shoppe will you get a black&white cookie and take a big bite and think of me?

Kalen...Happily. Though, I must share that my favorite New York cookie is the chocolate chip cookie that hails from the heavenly City Bakery.
Kalen is one of those people who make me smile, if I hear her music or see her, I just smile.

Kalen will be at;  Caffe Vivaldi, NYC, Sept 28th, 7 PM...
                              Parkside Lounge, NYC, Oct 13th 8 PM


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