Introducing the latest talent to emerge on London’s music scene: Kali Claire
London is the world’s music capital, a city we can always look to for music’s newest rising stars. It’s no surprise our latest discovery is a bona fide “East London Princess”: Kali Claire. Fresh off dropping her debut EP “Symptoms of a Teen”, Claire is well on her way to claiming her place among London’s musical greats.
The five-track EP is a reflection on Claire’s teenage years. It’s an honest and intimate take on coming of age and growing pains, beautifully illustrating the symptoms of a teen we’ve all battled through. With a sweet sound that mingles R&B, soul and pop. The 20 year-old took some real time to develop her craft, writing, singing and producing, while getting to know herself. “Symptoms of a Teen” is more than a debut, it’s the songstress unveiling the artist and woman she discovered in the process.
Just as the limelight is beginning to creep in above Kali Claire, we took a moment to get to know the singer better.
SARAH OSEI How did you start out making music?
KALI CLAIRE I started off in drama school when I was like five, from there was it just about working on it, practising and going to the studio as I grew up, and now here I am.
SO When did you write your first song and what was it about?
KC I can’t remember. I count poems as songs, even though they don’t have melodies or chords. My first proper song was when I was thirteen and it was called ‘Possibilities’.
SO Who did you grow up listening to?
KC Old school R&B. Jodeci, Biggie, Tupac, Blackstreet, LL Cool J…
SO London has a history of making incredible musicians. How do you think growing up in London has influenced your music?
KC I think anywhere you grow up will influence you as a person. Even down to the weather, can affect your mood. So when it’s sunny, which is hardly ever, I love making music and writing.
“I’m honouring the songs by putting them out.”
SO You’re 20, freshly out of your teens and about to release your debut EP “Symptoms of a Teen”. Why is this the right time?
KC I feel like I’m more of myself, so it just makes sense. And you have to be yourself because people will just know if you’re not being yourself.
SO What does the EP reflect on?
KC I don’t think it has a storyline, but it’s just songs I’ve collected from the last teenage years of my life. It just made sense to put it in a package and put a stamp on it. And archive it. I feel making the songs has helped me get to who I am now and helped me get to certain places that I otherwise wouldn’t be at right now. So I’m just honouring the songs by putting them out.
SO Do you feel vulnerable putting such personal music out?
KC Of course. It’s like a diary entry. Especially because it’s the first thing that people are hearing from me, so it’s extra nerves. But it’s exciting as well because people can get to know me and not what they see on Instagram.
“What I really like is listening to a song and remembering the first time I heard it. I’d like for that to happen with my music.”
SO How do you want people to feel coming away from listening to your EP?
KC I just want them to feel something, anything. I feel like music should make you feel something. What I really like is listening to a song and remembering the first time I heard it, so I’d like for that to happen with my music.
SO You’re just at the start of your career, so before people begin defining you, I want to hear from you: how would you define your music?
KC I’d say my music is music. I like the idea of genres, but we’re living in such a creative time where you can mix anything with anything. You can put trap drums onto a jazz beat. I don’t think there’s a better time to bring back R&B, so that’s what I’d like to classify my music as. But my music should be described as just music.
SO What’s your proudest achievement to date?
KC Just getting to the point where I am releasing music. Because you have to be sure in yourself and I’m getting there, getting to be sure in myself. My proudest achievement has been the journey to where I am now.
SO What’s next for you? What are you excited about?
KC I’m excited to get out of the studio and be in the real world and see and talk to people. Perform more. But I’m also excited to release more music, I have to write music at least once a week, just for my own sanity. So I don’t think I’ll stop releasing music as I’ve got more in the stash.
“Symptoms of a Teen” is out now. Listen to it here.
Interview SARAH OSEI