In Conversation With: Kali Claire
Arriving on the scene with her debut EP Symptoms of a Teen last year, attention has been swift and significant with the likes of i-D, NOTION, and INTERVIEW MAGAZINE all proclaiming her as one of the new generation’s most exciting young voices. Having just finished supporting Mabel across her European tour, we sat down with Kali during lockdown to discuss all things music and social distancing.
Your latest single Easy was produced by fwdslxsh & Yakob – both great producers. What was it like to work with them?
I love working with people who love music. Fwdslxsh has his own sound, so way before I start singing, the song already feels like a song. Yakob was in London at the time and he came down too. We had the song done in a day.
Easy is one of my favourite songs at the moment, what was the inspiration behind it?
Easy is that feeling you can’t help – when you’re drawn to someone so quickly, it’s scary. It’s a reminder to not get carried away.
Can we expect a body of work following the single?
For two years straight I was in the studio before I released anything. I definitely have songs I want everyone to hear, I think it’s just timing.
I’d say you’re one of the most exciting young artists in UK R&B right now. Is there anyone else in the scene you’re listening to or take inspiration from?
Jvck James put up a tweet a few days ago listing how strong the UK R&B scene is. Mahalia’s songwriting gets me everytime. Miraa May, Tiana Major9, Col3trane, Scribz Riley, Joey XL, Ama Lou – there’s so many.
What was it like supporting Mabel on her European tour?
Being a support act on a European tour was mental for me but I learn best by jumping in head first.
Mabel put on a show every night, travelled to the next city, and did it all over again. Behind the scenes, there’s so much that goes into making a special two hours. Best advice you’ve been given (in life or music).
I’ve been to so many workshops and met so many people, but I think the best advice so far has been from my mum: happiness should be the goal.
Have you found isolation to be a positive or negative influence on your creativity?
I feel like the studio is a form self-isolation, and I’m not used to being around too many people anyway. But I definitely miss working with talented people, so I’m making the most of the net right now.
You’re from Hackney, what’s the best food spot around there?
I’m not usually into vegan food but I’m trying new things. There’s a new place that I tried called Temple of Hackney [a ‘vegan chicken shop’] and it’s not bad. Still doesn’t taste like chicken though, if you were wondering.
We’ve just seen Skepta, Chip & Young Adz create an album together. If you could pick two other UK artists to make an album with, who would they be?
I would love to get in the studio with everyone that’s making a mark on the UK R&B scene right now. I’m not too focused on the creators – it would depend on the songs, the lyrics and the feelings.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when lockdown ends?
First thing after lockdown? I’m going to the studio!
Words by Dylan Weller