Hi Kaleena, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hey! I have been pretty good, frazzled at times, anxious about everything going on but also extremely happy and grateful to be alive!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “RELOAD”? Tell us about the event that inspired you to write it.
What inspired me to write RELOAD was actually the Amber Guyger Trial for the shooting of Botham Jean.Oct 9th 2019 my friends, Koil PreAmple & Michael Christofi, who co-wrote and produced Reload, met up at the studio and we started discussing how sad it is that innocent people, namely black men, keep getting killed by police officers. It feels like we channeled something the universe wanted us to put out.
Tell us about the process behind creating the animated video. What was that experience like?
In addition to what inspired the song “Reload” I wanted to visually incorporate & merge my own terrifying police violence experience but also create this political punk magical realism that is rebellious but with the resolution being love. During the protests about the death of George Floyd, I was faced with residual thoughts around what I’d gone through. I don’t think I had a chance to properly heal from it. The creation of this animation was cathartic for me and allowed for me to turn anxiety from seeing a cop into a superhero strength. LOVE
Namen Basil really helped me nail the vision with his outstanding midnight gospel esque style animation. He’s a true genius.
How was the recording and writing process for the song?
That day was a blessing. You know a song is meant to be when it flows out effortlessly and everything fits properly and there are minimal edits.Also it helps that Koil & Christofi are great friends of mine and we were able to come together to be conduits for the voice of many, in my opinion.
Who are some of your biggest influences as a songwriter? How have they influenced your writing?
Some of my biggest influences are Kate Bush, Prince, Bjork, Jill Scott, Tracy Chapman, Jhene Aiko, Katy Perry, Santigold, Joy Oladokun, Kareen Lomax With these writers, I love how they tell stories, Very descriptive and sometimes abstract. I strive to tell better stories with my music.
Does the new single mean we can expect more new material?
Absolutely, I have some more big sounding tracks of my own, the next solo single is called “Set Me Off” produced by Eric Lee and I have a collab coming w/ Yung Bae x Party Pupils.Might sneak in a special Christmas song too.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
My next solo single will be in Jan and my collab will be in early December.
What else is happening next in Kaleena Zanders’ world?
I feel like there are many unique things happening. I just wrote a song about voting called “Actually Vote” with Finneas, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul sung by the QUEEN Keke Palmer. You have to check out the video. Stellar job done by Jake Wilson. In a crazy turn of events, I was on the cover of Spotify’s Dance Rising x MINT! That was definitely a highlight for me.It’s Scorpio season which means my birthday is coming up & marie condoing my room has been fun (not)! I always have something surprising up my sleeve, can’t spill everything. 😉