KAIIT

“Not only was it the first song I’ve ever written and released, it was also very personal to me. I got a bit overwhelmed at some points, but people have been giving me so much love for it, which is awesome.”

For most people, moving back and forth between any two places is a mean feat. For 19-year-old singer-songwriter Kaiit, it was a key part of her childhood. Between Australia and Papua New Guinea up until her late primary school years, Kaiit’s family finally decided to settle in Melbourne. She credits her heritage; however, as a major artistic influence.

“I feel my [Papua New Guinean] heritage has helped me visually, more than musically,” Kaiit tells The Real Songwriters of Melbourne.

“The ability to represent youth and young people like me who aren’t usually on TV or in videos is really important to me.”kaiitphoto.jpg

 

Kaiit believes her parents are also hugely influential in her artistry and creativity, both being artists themselves.

“Whilst [we were] in Papua New Guinea, they were both teaching at a performing arts university, which I thought was pretty cool!” she says.

This may suggest why Kaiit describes herself as primarily artistic also, even more so than musical.

“I never really studied music, apart from as an elective in school. I left high school in year 10 and started going to TAFE, where I was doing beauty, fashion and hairdressing- just trying to find out what I did and didn’t like.”

Kaiit’s cultural background, as well personality, is deeply reflected in her music. Her debut single Natural Woman, is a prime example of this. The music video was released earlier this year, and already has nearly 130 000 views on Facebook.

“The thought of the video being seen by so many people, already, is just unreal. It was really hard at first and I was getting really anxious over it, because not only was it the first song I’ve ever written and released, it was also very personal to me. I got a bit overwhelmed at some points, but people have been giving me so much love for it, which is awesome.”

The creative aspect of the video is also noted, with Kaiit admitting that it was filmed in a particularly freestyle manner.


“It started off with me and the director, Claudia,” Kaiit tells RSOM. “We were going about it by looking at the style of the song and looking at all the lyrics as a whole. We then copped a vibe of the song and what it should represent. We got this fun and feel-good vibe from it, so it was all very freestyle- especially within the actual filming. We had ideas about how we wanted the shots to look set out, but everything was created as it came.”

Despite only recently releasing her first single, Kaiit has been writing songs for as long as she can remember. She confesses; however, that up until now she never really viewed it as ‘song writing,’ as opposed to a diary-style form.

“I was always doing random songs in primary school and high school. I had this little girl group in primary school, called Princess Unicorn, and we wrote things together. We’d write about things that happened or we were going through. It often rhymed. It was how we expressed ourselves.”

Kaiit has come a long way since her Princess Unicorn days, however.

“I used to rearrange beats and write songs off of that. It can be tricky when you haven’t even listened to a beat yet. I might make a melody in my head and roll with that otherwise. I usually get inspired by the wording of things. Even just when listening to a beat, I’ll write something down straight away.”

To continue honing in her song writing skills and developing herself as an artist, Kaiit was involved in the ‘Dig Deep’ hip-hop mentoring program at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. Successfully helping her to find her feet, the program means a lot to Kaiit, who now helps run it.

“It gave me a new finding for music,” Kaiit explains. “They gave me so much support through opportunities to record my music and perform at so many different things. I took it all in my stride and now I’m able to continue to do what I love.”

With the recent music video, an upcoming single and an upcoming show, Kaiit is definitely one to watch.

“I just finished recording and mixing the next single. And we filmed the music video for that last week. That’s going to be a huge deal too.”

 

Kaiit will be launching her single Natural Woman at the Gasometer Hotel on Friday August 11. You can find more information here.

Follow Kaiit on:
Facebook | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

LUCCA FRANCO

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl.”

You’d be correct in thinking Motown was a thing of the past, right? Wrong. Meet Lucinda, known musically as Lucca Franco. The 24-year-old from Oakleigh has always had a love for Motown and soul, and is now taking her passion and reinventing the sound. And how did it all start? I hear you asking. Well as Lucinda recalls, it all started with one talent show that took place 14 years ago.

“When I was 10 years old I entered a talent competition where I placed and ended up winning. From there I started singing lessons and it wasn’t until I was about 13/14 that I really started taking it seriously. I just fell in love with music and that sound. I found my first Aretha Franklin record at that age, it was kind of like a ‘Best Of’ record, and I just fell madly in love with her sound and that genre of music- the old soul singers, Motown. People like Aretha, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Michael Jackson and I just started singing all her tunes all the time. I became obsessed with the soul sound.”

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The talent competition wasn’t the only competition Lucinda starred in during her youth, either. The up and coming soul star placed in a song writing competition at the age of 12, adapting her with the skills she ended up using to write her debut album from a young age. The song, There Are Days, was the first song she ever recorded. She also admits that she came across it on one of her old computers the other day and “completely lost it.”

“I was 12 years old and it was the school holidays and my dad had bought me a little keyboard and I worked out all these functions where you could make beats and stuff. At school I was severely bullied, like I didn’t have very many friends when I was younger and it was just this song about having your family and friends support you through any situation.”

So many achievements at such a young age, and Lucinda had realised that music was the path she had to be on. Many artists make sacrifices when they first enter the industry, however Lucinda was beginning before she even finished school. Despite this, she admits that moving to Sandringham College from an all-girls Catholic school for year 11 and 12 was the best decision she ever made.

“Sandringham had amazing music teachers that nurtured my music and my creative side. One of the bands I started in the classroom became the band I ended up playing in right up until recently. We were like a reggae, funk band and worked our butts off and gigged from the age of 16 to about 22. Then Michael, the guitarist went overseas and worked on a cruise ship so whilst we never disbanded, it kind of put a halt to our music which led me to start the Lucca project.

“After that, I was really lost for a couple of years. I knew what I wanted to write but because I wasn’t super confident on guitar or piano, I was just banging out a few simple cords here and there whilst the chords were all in my head. I got myself a vocal loop station so I started writing with that but I was never really doing anything with the songs I wrote, I was just keeping them there.”

Lucinda was fortunate enough to meet her current producer, Lee Bradshaw at an event 18 months ago, where Lucinda worked as a vocal coach. Describing their meeting as a “serendipitous” moment, she says he completely understood the artist she wanted to become. The two went on to work together, with Lucinda going on to record not only a song he wrote, but writing, producing and recording her entire up and coming album with him.

“We wrote a bunch of songs that I’m really happy with that turned into this project. I worked with some incredibly songwriters and had some cool people playing on the recording- we did live recordings of the album. We’d spend 9 hour days in the studio and played these songs and it came out incredible. We’d overdubbed different sections as we couldn’t fit all the musicians in the room at the time. I got other vocalists in as I wanted it to echo the old soul sound and it was just so much fun. It seems like a lifetime ago now even thought it was only 6 months ago but I’m really excited to get it out on stage. It is my proudest achievement.”

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The Lucca Project was written entirely on piano and according to Lucinda each song was recorded with up to eight different musicians. She emphasises the team effort behind the album through the writing, recording and production as inspired by the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. About The Funk Brothers, Lucinda describes the collaborative effort that they underwent and how she wanted to replicate that. Despite having been working on her debut single Sinking Feeling for years, she admits the support she had from her team was what solidified it into becoming her entrance into the industry.

“I started writing it ages ago. But I only ever had a chorus for it and it was constantly stuck in my head. I never knew where to go from there- I’m one of those people who has books and books and books filled with unfinished songs. When we started the process of writing Lee was like “Well what have you got? Bring your old stuff in” and he liked it. The way we worked on that song together was like thinking about what was going on and what I was feeling when I wrote it. It’s when you’ve got that ‘sinking feeling’ when you’re starting to date someone new and it’s all going cool and then things just start changing and getting weird really quickly. I write very differently by myself to when I’m co-writing as well but a lot of this album came out with just talking about what I was feeling when I was writing and it brought out all these cool songs.”

And the rest of Lucca’s debut album is set to have the same vibe, according to Lucinda with the ‘break-up’ theme no doubt playing a huge role. Fans are to expect it to be sassy and funky, whilst the sole love song on the able is sultry and sensual- “all of the songs are really different, but the theme of the album is definitely there,” she admits.

Showing just how much Lucinda wants to echo the Motown days, she will be pressing her album onto vinyl for die-hard vinyl fans. She also plans to head over to the United States and go back to where Motown all began, and also where her love for Motown all began.

“I want to bring my myself back to where this style of music was made. And if people like this project enough, then I want to create another one because I’ve already got a million ideas. I want to make Lucca my original – and full time – work. That’d be awesome.”

Lucinda is launching her debut single Sinking Feeling later on Sunday April 23 at The Toff in Town and hopes to replicate her Motown idols.

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl alongside some incredible musicians. There’ll be hooks that grab people’s attention and singalong music, especially with Sinking Feeling.”

Check out details for her EP launch on Facebook here

Check out Lucca Franco on
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM 

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

Q&A WITH MAYA

Up and coming RnB soul star MAYA (22) chats to Jordyn about performing with her musician dad, life on the road and the release of her debut EP.

J: I’ve read you’re a third-generation musician, suggesting that music has always been a big part of your life. What was it like growing up in a musical household?
M: “My dad’s a musician so it was great. I’ve always loved it, I’ve always had it playing. He’s really supportive of my career so it’s a definite benefit.”

J: Apart from being surrounded by it in your childhood, how did your journey as a musician begin?
M: “It just begun by playing when I was little. I’d get up in bars and perform with my dad and then I started handing out resumes to all these venues asking them to put me on. I’d play karaoke tracks because that’s what I thought it meant to be a musician. It’s now evolved into this, though. I just kept pushing and kept working- I made my own singles and forced my family to buy them.”

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J: So you’d record your music onto actual CDs?
M: “Yeah! It’s hilarious. It was my own stuff, not covers.”

J: How old were you when you began song writing, then?
M: “I was really young. One of the songs on the EP I actually first wrote when I was around five years old or something like that. I just recorded it to a tape that my dad saved and had kept it ever since. I’ve always been making music. I started lessons really early as well and I ended up going to a whole bunch of different schools because I wanted to try all their music programs and work with all their teachers. I didn’t go to uni after school though which most people do. I just felt like I was better off doing it my own way.”

J: Was that song the first song you ever wrote?
M: “Definitely one of them! There was another one, I think it was called Cry For You. I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time or anything, so it must’ve been a hypothetical love. Or maybe it was about my family. It was pretty cheesy.”

J: Do you play instruments as well as being a singer songwriter?
M: “I can play a bit of piano. I used to play cello. I was really bad though! I used to sit next to the really good musicians and try and play what they were playing but they were just so good so I was like ‘well I’m not even going to try!'”

Who are the musicians that you look up to and take inspiration from?
M: “People like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Peggy Lee, Ricki Lee Jones. I grew up listening to a lot of older music but now I’m moving towards some new people, so there’s a little bit of everything. I never had just one main artist, so it’s really tricky to pick people out. I’ve always loved girls like Lauryn Hill. I get inspired by so many different realms of music. I love listening to all different types of music.”

J: Your biography states that you have Australian, African American and Hungarian roots. How influential is culture in the production of your music?
M: “It’s not entirely based on culture. But we’ve come to a really beautiful time in the world where culture is such a highlight. It’s really only the last like five years or so that I’ve really come to embrace that. So I think now later in life it’s more inspirational towards my music but up until now it’s really taken me a while to appreciate my roots.”

J: What’s your overall, general song writing process? Or does it change from song to song?
M: “It kind of changes all the time. Sometimes I’ll write really good lyrics over someone else’s music and then make the music after. But then sometimes these sounds just come to my head and I work with that. It’s different every time. With What After Now, I just loved the statement “what after now” and wanted to write a fun song with that. I heard the beats first, it was just a continuous noise we were making in the studio that developed into the song.”

J: What was the inspiration behind What After Now?
M: It’s just about living in the moment. My dad used to say to my sisters and I like ‘What after now girls? Why are you trying to chase the future when you can live in the now and be here with who you’re with?’ So yeah, he’s probably was the main inspiration with it. I mean he’s a huge influence musically and he’s very supportive. He feeds us a lot of wisdom I guess.

 J: Are you planning to collaborate with your dad anytime soon?
M: “Absolutely. He really helped me with the EP, he’s played on all of them and did all of the guitar in What After Now. There’s a lot to come out, so I’m really looking forward to it. We do a lot of shows together as well.”

J: How’s the process for the EP going?
M: “It’s really good, I’m just mixing the tracks and putting the finishing touches on. It should be ready for release half way through this year. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it but I’m not rushing because I think it’s something really special so I don’t want to rush it just for the hell of getting it released. It’s going to be nice for everyone to hear though, I’ve been working on it for a long time.”

J: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
M: “There’s been a lot. I went to New York last year for two months and played with this amazing blues band. I don’t know what it was but the energy of that for some reason was just my favourite thing. I’m one of those people that’s just like ‘let me sing with you!’ so I just sung with so many people. That was definitely the highlight of last year, trekking around Europe and America just singing with a whole bunch of different people and learning that you can just be a singer without being famous is probably the highlight.”

J: There would’ve been lots of interesting people that you met along the way, yeah?
M: “There were a lot. I met this lady who went by the name MAMA, she was crazy but great. There hasn’t been anyone who is the main influence yet, they’re all in my dreams.”

J: You’ve got a few shows coming up around Melbourne next month, including The Toff in Town April 25. What can fans expect from these shows?
M: “We’re going to have a big dance party! I’ve played there as a support, but this will be my first headlining show there. I’m always down for a jam, which is why it’s on a Tuesday. There’s going to art, dances, slideshows and just me being reckless. I always get super deep at my shows, so I never really know what’s going to happen.”

J: And just one final question question! After you release your EP, what’s next for MAYA?
M: “I’m going back to America, but I really want to focus on gaining a fan-base in Australia as well. It’s really hard for soul singers here, it’s easier to just go over to America. But I love Melbourne so much, so I’m just going to try and work it and get out there. I want to collaborate with more artists and do more performances and just have fun with it.”

You can check out MAYA at The Toff in Town on April 25. To purchase tickets go here.

FOLLOW MAYA ON
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

A Quick Chat With James Franklin

We are STOKED to announce our very first guest that will soon appear on Real Songwriters TV, James Franklin, who will be releasing his debut EP this weekend. So we thought we’d do a mini Q&A before the real deal.

1) Give us three words to describe your music.
Soul Meets Folk.

2) So we hear that you are releasing a debut EP later on this month. What can listeners expect to hear?
I hope that when listeners hear the EP, they will feel a range of emotions. When we were working on the EP we wanted to make it feel like a live show. Sleepwalking and Testify start and finish the EP and they are soulful and funky tracks you could dance to at a cool bar or club. The other two songs in the middle of the EP have a jazz and folk feel to them and are songs that you and your loved ones could slow dance to. I really tried to create an EP that could touch every listener in a special way.

3) Who did you work with to produce the EP?
On this EP I worked with two Australian music legends, Steve Wade and Doug Brady. Steve (Ex Little River Band) having shared the stage with acts like Hall & Oates, Chicago and America co – produced and played various instruments on the EP and Doug Brady (Sound – Engineer/Producer) who has worked with artists like John Farnham, Lenny Kravitz and Keith Urban co – produced and engineered the EP. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have two huge names working on this EP with me, without them I wouldn’t have been able to do this!

4) Sleepwalking is your debut single and is a very upbeat song with strong lyrics. Could you tell us your thoughts when writing this?
I wrote Sleepwalking when I was still in high school. At the time, I was being told by teachers that being a musician wasn’t something that was possible and I knew that all I wanted to do was be a musician and I knew I wanted to do whatever it takes to make it happen. So around the time I wrote the song, a career in music was less of a “risk” in my mind but more something that I had to do and the song talks about not listening to people who tell you that you can’t do something when you know you can and you will.

5) Are your songs based off personal or fictional experiences?

Every song I write is from something I experience. Although the story that I have written into the song might have a different character in a different setting, whatever that character feels in my songs I have felt before. It’s very hard for me to write a song that moves me when it is about an emotion I haven’t experienced. Whilst I have tried to write songs that don’t relate to me, I never feel that they are good enough to stay in my setlist.

6) When will the EP be released and will there be a launch?
Saturday July 25th is the release date for my debut EP The Laundry Room Mixtape follow my facebook page for all updates about future gigs!

Follow James Franklin on
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp

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