NXTSTYLE’s 2020 ‘Songs of the Summer’: Kelaska “Call It What You Want” & “New Somebody”
INTRODUCING NXTSTYLE’S 'SONGS OF THE SUMMER,' HIGHLIGHTING OUR FAVORITE TRACKS WE'VE DISCOVERED THIS SUMMER. OVER 70 SONGS FROM NEW AND INDEPENDENT ARTISTS FORM OUR SUMMER 2020 SOUNDTRACK. TODAY WE SPOTLIGHT SINGER/SONGWRITER KELASKA. THE CT NATIVE HAS TWO SINGLES AND COUNTLESS COVER SONGS THAT CAUGHT OUR ATTENTION THIS SUMMER. GET TO KNOW HER IN OUR FEATURED INTERVIEW.
When listening to “Call It What You Want” I can’t help but get vibes of a crossover Pop Country hit. That style seems so natural for you and exudes a lot of confidence. Talk about the direction you took with this single and what you hope fans take from it.
What’s really funny about that is, I keep getting the “pop country crossover” comment but that really wasn’t my intention when making the song. I’m not typically a fan of country music, but I am a huge fan of Kacey Musgraves. I think her influence on me has affected my style and results in some slide guitar being added into my music from time to time. I’m a sucker for anything with that sound, so anytime I can include it, you know I will! With this single, I wanted to create something catchy and fun but with a little angst thrown in. It’s not really that deep of a song compared to some of the other ones I’ve written, so really I just hope fans are enjoying the simplicity of it.
“New Somebody” is your latest single and one that deals with post-relationship thoughts. I can definitely see others connecting to it because of the direct and transparent nature of the song. Talk about process of creating this song and your comfort level in displaying raw emotion through your music.
“New Somebody” might be my favorite song I’ve ever written. I kept having these recurring, incredibly sad dreams and I couldn’t shake the emotions I was feeling from them. I’d wake up sometimes crying and mentally exhausted. One morning I grabbed my guitar and wrote it in a matter of minutes. Each word spilled out in a way I’ve never experienced before with writing. That song is so honest and raw that it just felt right to include it on the EP. A lot of times my songwriting process is to take past emotions and come up with a way to make them sound current, but this one was written exactly as I was going through a really rough time. Sometimes it can be hard to openly release something that’s so personal. For example, the first single off the EP, Springsteen, is such a direct reference to someone, it feels like you’re exposing this secret diary you’ve written. The hardest part about it though, for me, is not releasing it, it’s the fact that the song comes out months or even years after it was written. So for the people who know what/who it’s about, it might feel like the emotions from the song are things I’m currently feeling when in reality I’ve been over them for quite some time.
``CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT`` & ``NEW SOMEBODY`` NXTSTYLE'S 'SONGS OF THE SUMMER'
Both singles would fit great in an emotional scene in a TV show or movie. What would be the ultimate sync placement for Call it What You Want and New Somebody?
Any sync placement sounds amazing right about now for either song! I don’t think my music really fits the tone of the show, but if I ever got a song on Grey’s Anatomy I would lose my mind.
You’ve released a lot of cover songs over the past few years. What artists have influenced you the most as an artist? What’s you favorite song to cover?
I could go on a long list of artists that influence my sound and writing because with each song I’ll pull up references from a variety of artists. For example, “Call It What You Want” was inspired by BORNS, Bruce Springsteen, Modest Mouse, and Kacey Musgraves. Some artists that have really influenced me over the years consistently are: Kacey Musgraves, Phoebe Bridgers, Maggie Rogers, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, BIllie Marten, Jade Bird, John Mayer, and Fleetwood Mac.
My favorite song to cover changes often, but right now my favorite song that I have covered on Youtube is probably “This Must Be The Place” by Talking Heads or “Breezeblocks” by Alt-J.
2020 has been a challenging year for many as we’re finding different ways to navigate through a tough situation and at the same time learning more about ourselves and society. Has going through this year placed a different perspective on life for you? Whether it’s having more time to think or going through a situation, has this period of time had an impact on your songwriting?
2020 has been a crazy year.. Back in March, I was ready to leave my job to pursue music full-time when the pandemic hit. I had built this entire one year plan on how to make money, how to release the songs off this EP, how to record them, and it all flipped within an instant. I have loved the time this year has given me to really focus more on what I’m creating and who I want to be as an artist. I’m grateful for the space, but I’m also bitter because of the plans it has ruined. It’s really a mixed bag of emotion, as I’m sure everyone is feeling. I’m used to writing something almost every day, so 2020 really hasn’t changed that, but it has given me more time to expand on those ideas in ways I wasn’t able to before.
Fast forward several months down the road. The vaccine is here, America has fully opened! What’s first on your bucket list?
When America is back up and running, I’ll probably enjoy going on a vacation. I was supposed to go to Iceland this Fall, so I’d love to set that up again as soon as possible. I’d also really love to get out and play live gigs. I’ve been saying that for years and it’s kind of ironic that the year I’m ready to do that is the same year gigs are cancelled.
As we head into the second half of the year what can fans expect from you for the remainder of 2020?
For the last half of 2020 I’ll be releasing the full EP I’ve been working on, which comes out late September. It’s been a year in the making, so I’m really excited to get those stories out and begin to share new ones. I’ve never released a big project like this before, so I’ll be trying to come up with ways to promote it, sell some merch, and try to do as many live shows as I’m allowed.
Is there a charity or organization that means a lot to you that you urge others to look into? Any particular connection you have to it?
A great charity I’ve been watching and learning about over the past couple months is Anti-Violence Project. They do a lot of work helping the LGBTQ community with free counseling and other support they might need due to violence or discrimination. Just recently they held a webinar addressing racism and sexual violence. This charity combines two issues that are really important to me, which are sexual abuse and discrimination. I love that they are out there helping people and trying to make a difference.
KELASKA's Top 5 songs this summer:
- Phoebe Bridgers “Halloween” (or really anything off her new album)
- Wallows Ft. Clairo “Are You Bored Yet?”
- Sylvan Esso “Ferris Wheel”
- Bon Iver “PDLIF”
- Harry Styles “Adore You”
- A bonus song I just heard even though it came out in 2012 and have been loving is Bahamas “Lost In The Light”.
Listen to all of our featured artist’s favorite songs of the summer on our special Spotify playlist.
Kelaska’s ‘Firsts and Favorites’
First concert: Jack’s Mannequin and The Fray.
Favorite Album: Ahhhh, too many to choose from! Abbey Road by The Beatles would be up there.
First song you fell in love with: Radiohead “Fake Plastic Trees”
Favorite Concert: So hard to choose! I saw Neil Young once during Farm Aid and that was pretty special. Dave Matthews Band also puts on a hell of a show. I also really love watching Katy Perry because she always has such vibrant, fun visuals for every song.
First performance: My first real solo performance was when I was 12 or 13 and I sang “I Turn To You” by Christina Aguilera for the National Junior Honor Society. It’s funny because I was on the verge of being kicked out and when they heard me sing they were like, “okay, you can stay!” I got to sing for a bunch of parents and kids so that was pretty fun.
Favorite non-music app: I’ve been loving podcasts lately, so really any app I can listen to those on. Even though Spotify is technically a music app, they’re usually my go-to for that.
BROWSE ALL OF OUR ‘SONGS OF THE SUMMER’ 2020 INTERVIEWS
MUSIC IN 2020 INTERVIEW SERIES
WE INTERVIEWED MUSIC PROS AND TASTEMAKERS TO GET THEIR PERSPECTIVE ON WHERE MUSIC IS HEADED AND TO DISCOVER WHAT NEW MUSIC THEY'RE LISTENING TO.
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THE ‘NEXT IN MUSIC’ PLAYLIST
Discover a wide range of new music we’ve recently added including our featured songs of the summer. Follow the ‘NEXT in Music’ playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.