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Interview with Cali Blake

Ryan: Cicadas In The Sun is your newest album. How long did it take to make?

Cali: It took roughly 6 months to complete. I originally flirted with making a deluxe album of 29 songs, but later decided to cut it down. That was the hardest part- cutting it down to 10 tracks when I was in love with so many.

Ryan: Many albums have themes that run through them. Is there a specific theme that can be found in this album?

Cali: The album is really about introspection – reflection on your own personal vices, death, nostalgia, and future. I wrote it as if I was a girl with no belongings whatsoever, traveling across the US from motel to motel, reflecting on life’s highs & lows.

Ryan: How long have you been playing music, and can you tell us a bit about your musical history?

Cali: I began playing the piano by ear when I was around 3 or 4, putting my own spin on popular movie theme songs which later evolved to writing my own music at around 8. I’d set up three tape recorders – one for instruments, one for vocals, & then I’d play back both of those at the same time and hit record on the third one. It was a whole process that took a lot of time and patience. It’s times like this when I realize what a nerd I was.

I took singing lessons until I was 11. I remember my voice teacher telling me that I had a darkness in my voice that he wanted to preserve instead of over-training it to sound like everyone else. I never fully understood quite what he meant by that until recently, and to be honest, I’m happy that I took his advice.

Ryan: What does your song writing process look like?

Cali: Sometimes a melody comes to me out of nowhere, so I run to the nearest secluded place and record it on my phone so I won’t forget it. I’ve been in the car and had to pull over many times because of this. Other times I’ll write poems down, then later sit at the piano until I find the chords that fit the words. But the vast majority of the time, due to my extremely nocturnal nature, I cannot sleep and need to be creative. So I’ll sit in my studio and write whatever I’m feeling so that I can get it out of my head and sleep.

Cali Blake 2

Ryan: Where do you find inspiration from?

Cali: I really draw inspiration from places and people on the fringe of society. I like broken down places that have a long history, and it shows. I like people who are considered outcasts or are looked down upon by the judgmental eye. They tend to be the most interesting. 

Ryan: Transient Song is my personal favorite on the album. Do you have any songs that stand out a bit more than others for you?

Cali: Glad you liked that one. One of my favorites is Rewound. It was the first song on the album that I recorded and completed. I’m a very memory-based person, and I do live in the past a lot, as much as I don’t like to admit it. I was reminiscing on a long list of beautiful memories, and it was making me equal parts sad and happy. I hate that. I hate that in between feeling.

Ryan: If given the chance, who would you like to collaborate with on a future project?

Cali: Keaton Henson. He showcases his fragility, and that’s really inspirational for someone as shy as me.

Ryan: At this point in your musical career what are some of your most memorable moments?

Cali: Playing in small lounges, filming music videos, recording in my bath tub, & having people reach out and say that they feel some sort of connection to what I’m doing.

Cali Blake 3

Ryan: Do you have any advice for independent musicians looking to make their own album?

Cali: I’d tell them to not take advice from anyone 🙂

Ryan: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Do you have any news that you would like to share with your fans?

Cali: Thank you! I have some music videos coming out soon. I got pretty creative with them and can’t wait to share them. I also have an EP called Industrial Fears coming out this summer, where I explore some of my more ambient styles, so be on the lookout for that! xo

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  1. Cali De La Rosa

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