Last week I featured Kayla Calabrese for the first time with “Give”, one of the six songs which features on her ‘Glass Stilleto” EP. Having listened to the EP over and over again I was lucky enough to grab a transatlantic interview with Kayla via Skype on Thursday.
You recently released your ‘Glass Stilletto’ EP, your second EP? How exciting was it to hit the recording studio again?
It was awesome! I actually recorded it at ‘Starstruck’ which is Reba Mcentire’s studio here in Nashville. I got to work with Jimmy Nicholls who is an amazing producer here in town. It was just incredible, going into that studio and knowing who has recorded there and who was going to be recording there. And working with those musicians – it’s crazy hearing a song that you wrote come to life, with them putting their spin on it, so it’s cool.
The first thing that struck me when I heard the EP was your amazing voice. Where did the voice come from?
God I guess! Because no-one in my family sings or has any musical talent at all, or plays any instruments, no-one does anything. So I have to say God!
I love the variety of the EP – it’s a great mix of emotional and sass. What was the starting point for the record?
I got a bunch of songs together that I had written and then I had the opportunity in this project to get songs pitched to me from great songwriters here in town. I got hundreds of songs to wade through from amazing songwriters and I took advantage of that opportunity and 5 of the 6 songs are actually songs that other people have written, songs that I immediately connected to when I heard the work tapes. I also put a song on there that I had recently written – ‘Happily Never After’.
So ‘Happily Never After’ is a really clever song that will appeal to all – tell us all about it!
I wrote that song after I’d had a little experience with a guy from back home in New Jersey. We were talking and getting to know each other via the telephone and when I’d go home we would go out and get breakfast or lunch or something like that. So, he was obsessed with Disney, which was kinda interesting – but I rolled with it! Things were going well for about three/four months and he texted me one day and asked if he could ask me a question. I thought he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend, but he asked me for my friend’s phone number to ask her out on a date! So I wrote a cynical song about fairy tales and Disney and that is where the song came from!
As well as your singing career, you work as an ER nurse. It must be tough but rewarding to combine the two?
Oh yeah it is. It’s hectic but it’s awesome. I get to do things like this on my days off and go to sessions and do performances around town. The next day I have to go to work in ER as a trauma nurse. It’s kinda crazy but it’s really rewarding to help people medically and help save lives.
What was it that made you start singing in the first place?
I always wanted to sing but was just too scared to tell anybody, as no-one in my family sings. I’d sing when no-one was home and I always wanted to do it and then I saw ‘Wicked’ on Broadway with the original cast with Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth and all of them. When the curtains closed I just needed to tell somebody and my mum was with me and I told her I wanted to sing. She thought it was just a phase, but I started lessons and the rest is history.
Which artists have influenced your career?
Idina Menzel, probably the most. I thought I just wanted to be like her and I still look up to her and not only is she an incredible singer and incredible artist, but she stays true to who she is.
If you could choose the perfect gig, where would it be and who would you do a duet with?
I would love to play at the Grand Ole Opry and I would probably bring Idina Menzel with me!
What has been the highlight of your singing career so far?
Probably getting to record this most recent EP. I got to work with incredible musicians and amazing artists that I love and look up to. Also getting to perform this EP, performing in different places and reach out and meet people, I love doing all that.
What can we expect from you as we move into 2017?
Well, I’m actually having meetings with different producers at the moment, for either an EP or a full length album, I’m not sure yet. But I kinda want to do a stripped down version of an EP which is just very raw, but it’s still in the works.