KALYJA RAIN is a storyteller, singer-songwriter, photographer, traveller and a real force of nature and an open soul who is not afraid to make decisions based on chance.
Defining her sound as eclectic, KALYJA RAIN tries to cover all the bases. She has experimented with just about every genre. Lately, it is downtempo folk. Kalyja loves the super heavy bassy beats overlayed with quality folk lyrics.
You are currently travelling in South East Asia. What are the moments that you will never forget?
Currently, I am in Canggu, Bali. There are so many moments that are worth mentioning of course, but in all, it comes down to early mornings for me. I love waking up before the sun and watching it rise in each country, there is always a sweet lilac hour, but the skies, smells, and sounds are the variables. Morocco and Thailand have had some of my favourite sunrises so far.
“We are wanderers, Not always lost just here, Exiles from comfort and refugees to open souls.”
In your song “Vagabond” you mention “toss a coin, cause the coin knows best”. Do you often make decisions based on chance?
Funny you caught on to that, in ways, it is one of my favourite lyrics I have ever written, and I am rarely satisfied with words. The last time I was touring and travelling the world I committed to making my “big” decisions based on flipping a coin. The coin ended up leading me all the way from Europe to Asia, and back to the states. It was an incredible experience, a lesson of trust that everything I do is by choice.
Travelling by the coin was inspired by this beautiful nomadic gipsy I met in Montana, who did the same thing and would tell the most epic tales from his experience.
After travelling, especially for a longer time, people tend to lose the sense of where is home. Where is your home?
Home to me is much more of a feeling in my body, as well as people. If I can find a strong community, I fall in love with a place pretty fast. I travelled a lot as a child, so in ways, I think I have always been “searching” to some extent.
In this video, you are playing the banjo in your natural habitat. You look extremely happy. Would you say that you are a naturist?
Ha, If you know me well, you also know that I am a better person the more naked I can be. I believe in it. As so many of the human complexes emerge from shame and guilt and insecurities.
I would say it is vital just to say fuck it and strip all facades away as much as I can! We all can learn so much from our selves.
What inspired your latest song “Honey & Soap”?
Well, speaking of being brutally honest, sometimes it looks a little messy. “Honey & Soap” emerged from a fresh relationship, in which I experienced jealousy for the first time. In turn, after really diving into the jealousy I found a flip side of gratitude to all of the ex-partners that had shaped and loved my partner so well. In a way, it’s like honouring all the history a person has to understand them better.
While travelling do you have time to listen to music?
Yes, I listen to so much music while travelling. In fact, it builds my library all too fast when I meet people on the road that are as stoked about music as I am.
What is your formula for happiness?
Strong self-love practices. It applies to all things, community, family, friends, work, art. As long as the practice is strong, the ease will come.
How would you define success?
For me, success feels much more relative to the way I do something rather than what happens after the fact. I think when I am capable of feeling healthy and inspired while working in the music industry full time, that is always my goal.
Storytelling is a part of my songwriting, but it is rare that I censor my work. I am always aspiring to be as brutally honest as possible.
What are your biggest musical influences?
It’s so broad, I grew up listening to festival gipsy jam bands like the Grateful Dead, and classic folk music, but at some point, I decided Britney Spears was the goal. So I am always one foot in the pop world, one foot in the roots, I think it balances my rustic edges well though.
Tomorrow 4 big record labels approach you. How would you choose the one? Or would you see yourself working independently?
That is tricky, I have turned down multiple in the past because I was so stuck on being an independent artist (and I was so young). But depending on the record labels, well, there is a few I would love to be associated with from both the indie scene and the top dogs…
Photography seems to take a special place in your life. I’m fascinated how you manage to blend people in, so they become part of nature. Is that done on purpose or it happens naturally?
Photography is actually how I supplement my music. For me they go hand in hand, they compliment each other. I am completely mesmerized by the human body and also grew up playing in the woods, with very mythical and magical imagination. The way the bodies merge with nature is an aesthetic that originally came naturally, though now I do seek out the perfect nooks and crannies in my rustic environments.
What was the greatest advice someone has ever given to you?
“If it makes you uncomfortable do it for yourself. If it makes others uncomfortable do it for the world, this is revolutionary.”
What would be your advice for those who want to create music but feel stuck?
Always do the thing that shakes your system when you are stuck. It’s as simple as identifying what is stagnant and doing the opposite of what you’ve been doing to create that outcome.
Your debut EP was released in 2014, “Honey & Soap” in 2017, in the past months, you’ve been travelling. What can we expect from you in 2018?
I am recording and working with my all-time favourite producers, X Lovers this summer and fall. So I would suspect I’ll be releasing within the year!