By Alissa Arunarsirakul // August 5, 2020
Malaysia’s very own Kaisha has finally found her true voice, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that. With an intense urge to experiment with her eclectic soundscape, Kaisha really does sound more confident now than ever before. If you haven’t already, treat yourself to Kaisha’s utterly refreshing debut EP, Something Else.
On Something Else, Kaisha reflected,
“This is the first time I’ve put together a collection of songs that truly represents an honest version of myself and my thoughts. It touches on sour relationships and the process of life we all go through. Having previously struggled with my music identity, the majority of the conflict stemmed from being unhappy with the music I was creating. I always felt like I should’ve been creating ‘something else’ – so as a way of honouring my progression in being true to my music, this project is named after that as confirmation that I’m moving in the right direction.”
To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with Kaisha about Mac Ayres, songwriting, and of course, Something Else.
HH: Since you grew up in a family of musicians, are you at all surprised that you’re now pursuing music?
K: Yes and no. Not surprised that I’m pursuing music but I am surprised that both my brothers and I are. That’s the whole family… seems like my dad’s music influence was too strong to resist!
HH: It’s obvious that you have plenty of musical influences, but are there any artists in particular that inspire your gorgeous sound?
K: When I was writing my EP, my main inspiration was Mac Ayres. I would spend hours analysing his music and seeing how I could incorporate his style of songwriting into mine. My tracks are quite different from his, but at that moment, listening to his stuff definitely helped with the process.
HH: Something Else really is a musical masterpiece. What was your creative process like for this EP?
K: Thank you! Basically, I had been sitting on some material for a while sometime after summer last year and wanted to work with producer James Berkeley, of Yakul. I had written the tracks, done a basic demo of it on Logic, and bounced it out to send over to James. Initially, I wanted to put them out as singles but after consideration, both of us thought it’d be better and more cohesive as an EP. We worked in James’s studio over a few months until the EP was finalized and during that time I was also working with photographer Tan Le on the artwork. It all just kind of came together earlier this year, and once I had fully prepped everything, I dropped my first single, “Shoulda Known.”
HH: You’ve shared that you’ve been unhappy with the music you were creating before. Can you share more about that? What steps did you take to overcome this?
K: I was making music under a different name previously. Along the lines of electronic R&B and pop, but it had hints of weird garage-y sounds. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was but I think I was trying to fit into a genre that my songwriting didn’t really align to. In turn, it made me feel kinda shit about my music. I felt like I was stagnant, and honestly, I just wasn’t happy with the music I was making. So I took a few months off after releasing my final single under that name, utilized this time by songwriting loads, learning the ins and outs of the music business, and seeking advice from my fellow musician peers. I took this moment to fully develop a plan for myself, and with that came the idea to start anew by changing my name. It was a risk, but definitely worth it cause I’ve never felt better! Trust your gut.
HH: Do you have a favorite track on Something Else?
K: I think “Tell Me” is my favorite.. it kinda changes depending on my mood to be honest!
HH: If you could have anyone in the music industry as your mentor, who would you pick?
K: Tough question. Probably Jill Scott, she’s someone I look up to a lot and is an incredible songwriter and performer too.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
K: Let’s see…
1. “AuraBlue” by Flwr Chyld
2. “TNT” by NAYANA IZ
3. “Company” by Yakul