To a cool, lounge-jazz framework, all moody walking bass and sultry vocals, Calista Kazuko, the High Priestess of Pop Macabre, floors the listener with a far-from-everyday tale of murderous intent. “I’ve actually performed this song for years,” she says. “I always found opening a show by saying: ‘This song is about killing your boyfriend..’ was a great way to prick up people’s ears and maybe even prick up other things (depending on what they’re in to)!”
Recorded live and unadulterated, ‘Press Stop & Rewind’ stars Calista’s core band, bassist Sam Weston and drummer Fred Claridge, with Calista herself completing the trio and displaying plenty of the skills picked up during her time at the Royal Academy of Music, where she learned jazz piano under the revered Dominic Alldis.
The beautifully shot video, a noirish, sensuous vignette with a deadly narrative, was made with filmmaker Philip Reinking and is the first of a two-part mini drama depicting Calista’s sordid fantasies, murderous moments – and subsequent arrest, “I could not be more delighted to be releasing these two songs,” says Calista of ‘Press Stop & Rewind’ and its sequel, ‘Sweet Jailbird’. “Their fun, OTT extravagance perfectly punctuate this creative chapter before the campaign for my new album, ‘Empress’, starts in January. It was beyond an honour working with such a musical dream-team as producers Nuno Fernandes and Dennis Weinreich – and creating visuals with filmmaker Philip Reinking was the icing on the cake.”
High art, high class, high gloss, high drama – meet Calista Kazuko, the High Priestess of Pop Macabre; a Goddess with a grand piano; Amanda Palmer with a Vogue makeover, a loaded gun in her handbag and an occasional accordion. Hers is a femme-fatale fusion of sophistication, glamour and smart lyrical garottes tightened around hearts and minds.
Calista Kazuko is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for her cinematic genre-bending and controversial boundary-pushing. After studying at London’s Royal Academy of Music, specialising in classical/jazz piano and composition, Calista – daughter of the late renowned violinist Paul Robertson – has been performing and winning fans across the world with her dynamic voice and captivating songs. Her EP ‘Project: Love Me’ was released in 2017 to critical acclaim and Calista is now recording her debut solo album ‘Empress’. She founded and recently launched charity-based arts collective Voice of Aiko and is also penning her first piece of music-theatre, Mary Quake, with playwright Stephanie Martin.
A composer who has written international floor-fillers under pseudonyms, Calista’s impact on the world of music – Sir George Martin has described her as “an undoubted talent” – is matched in that of fashion, where Stella McCartney has used her tracks as catwalk openers and Parisian fashion house Jitrois actually named its ‘Callista’ couture leather jacket after her. All things considered it seems that stardom has not only come knocking for Calista Kazuko, it’s calling and texting her daily.