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Meet Kaiya Crawford

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaiya Crawford.

Kaiya, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started singing before I could talk. I had my first solo at my Kindergarten graduation. Through elementary, middle, and high school I participated in all the musicals and plays, as well as sang in many choirs. I sang in front of 15,000 people at a huge mass that my Catholic high school was asked to arrange the music for. That was really the first time I knew that I wanted to be a performer and pursue this seriously. In community college back in 2016, I majored in music, much to my family’s dismay. There I joined two bands an that’s where I started to take songwriting more seriously.

In 2017, I released my first single titled “Forget About It” produced by Ashton McCreight and Sean Matsukawa. From then on, I started working with them a lot more trying to develop a steady sound. That helped me realize the importance of trying new things and not defining myself by a certain genre.

Since 2017, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to work with artists such as BROCKHAMPTON, Skrillex, Love Mansuy, and WS Boogie. People usually call me in to write melodies and arrange and record background vocals. I produce sometimes as well.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
After high school, I really wanted to go to music school, but my family really wanted me to pursue a “real” career. There was a lot of conflict regarding my future, and that caused me to develop a lot of insecurity and self-doubt about my talent and my direction. Joining those bands and starting a solo project slowly started to build that confidence back up, and now I think my family gets the idea that I’m not made for an office or a courthouse or an operating room.

I’ve also struggled with severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Mental illness makes it so hard to create art because you’re always questioning yourself: “Are people going to like this?”, “Am I qualified to do this?”, “AM I EVEN GOOD AT THIS?”. You could have thousands of people rooting for you and asking for more from you and you don’t even have the willpower to get up out of the bed and go to the studio because your anxiety says so. Some depressive episodes don’t even allow me to express myself clearly through music because my head is so muddled with negativity.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a singer, songwriter, and producer, I also arrange vocals and give voice lessons on occasion. Lots of people know me as an RnB/Soul artist. I define myself as that when I have to upload my music to streaming sites, but I love to remain undefined and unconstrained from the weight of labels. I strive to incorporate elements of classic jazz and soul vocals into more contemporary sounding beats. I’m very proud of my musical knowledge, as I can read music and have a knowledge of music notation. I also have perfect pitch which helps me tremendously in the writing process. My keen ear allows me to find really weird harmonies and dance around a key.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think humility is the most important quality any artist can have. Understanding that what you have can be temporary and to remember where you once were will allow you to make art that’s genuine enough to reach others who may be in a situation you have been in or you are in at the current moment. I always like to remind myself, especially when things are going good, that there are others out there doing what I do and that we are all authentic and talented in our own ways. I’m lucky to have the talents and drive that I have, but I know there are others out there who also have that and maybe more.

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Image Credit:
Sean Matsukawa

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