Charlene Kaye is in a word, amazing. Her vocals can move from soaring to operatic to gut wrenching with a little glam thrown in for good measure with no effort at all. And if you haven’t seen her play live, you are missing out. I had the chance to ask her a few questions. After you read this, go check out all of her videos.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
When I was writing this record I was listening to a lot of Queen, ABBA, Prince – a lot of iconic pop groups from the 70s and 80s. I love the pageantry of their live shows and I wanted to create music like that, where the songs would not only speak for themselves but also make for an electric live show. I also love the quirkiness of Dirty Projectors, the drama of Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright, the intensity of Florence and the Machine.
Has the demographic of your fan base changed any because of your collaboration with Darren Criss?
Certainly there are a lot of Glee fans, a lot of StarKid fans, at the shows we headline. The song we did together, “Dress and Tie,” has gotten the word about my music out to a lot of his people, and I’m very grateful for that. There’s a big musical theater/theater crowd in that demographic who I think have really responded to the music/videos we’ve put out from this album because they’re a bit more dramatic and costumey than anything we’ve released in the past. They’ve been so incredibly supportive and awesome.
What is your song writing process like?
It usually starts with melody. Being in motion sets off a lot of creative triggers – driving, walking around my neighborhood in New York, flying, riding the subway. These days, since I’m on the go so much I tend to write a lot of lyrics on my iPhone. I have probably over 100 notes of song scraps on that thing.
What song are you most proud of that you’ve written?
Ahhh…that’s a hard one. It’s like choosing which one of your kids is your favorite, y’know? They all have different personalities and quirks and once you release them into the world you hope they make some sort of impact for the better. I’m pretty attached to Animal Love I and Animal Love II – as a pair are two of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.
What does 2012 have in store?
Right now I’m on tour with Team StarKid, opening for them and playing guitar in their backing band, and it’s been a total blast. The fans have been amazing. I hope to promote our new record as much as I can this year, make another music video or two, and keep on working on new material. As long as it’s music related, I’m happy.
What is Rubyfruit Radio?
Rubyfruit Radio is a podcast devoted to playing the best in female artists and female fronted bands.