Following the release of her dreamy new single Small, I caught up with London-based artist Kahlla to find out more about the meaning behind the song and her plans for the year ahead…
What’s your musical background? When did you first start writing songs?
I grew up in a family that was super into classical music, so that was part of my life from the start. My parents put me into piano lessons when I was 5. I didn’t always love it but now I’m really glad my parents pushed me to keep on doing it, because I think it’s such a valuable skill to have as a musician.
When I hit my teens I discovered emo and heavier music and completely fell in love with bands like Paramore and Jimmy Eat World. They’re still a big influence on me today. That’s also when I first started writing songs with my high school band, and on my own playing my piano at home.
Your new single Small is beautiful – a really dreamy track. Can you tell us about the meaning behind the song?
I wrote Small last year in a period in my life when I wasn’t feeling particularly confident about myself or my career. Someone very close to me was trying to help me, but all it was doing was making me more insecure. I suddenly didn’t even trust my own judgements anymore – did this thing in my memory actually happen the way I remember it or is my perception all skewed? I felt like I had to fight for my feelings to be recognised and for me as a person to be taken seriously. It was a difficult time, but I got through it. I think the takeaway from that experience (apart from this song!) is to give validation to your feelings and not apologise for them.
Which artists inspire you and why?
At the moment I am really inspired by Phoebe Bridgers. I think she’s such a breath of fresh air. Her songs are well written and sometimes incredibly sad while also being witty and funny, which I think is a real art. I listen to her album on repeat and literally don’t shut up about her!
I’ve always been massively inspired by strong women in music that do things their way and are badass in their own way. Whether that be Phoebe Bridgers or Bikini Kill or Kehlani.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I want to make loads more music this year! That’s my main priority. Other than that, I’ve got a few more singles lined up for release, music that I’m really excited about, with accompanying live sessions and videos.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a musician?
I know it sounds cheesy but I think the best thing you can do in 2019, especially as an artist, is to just focus on you. With social media constantly there to compare yourself to every other artist under the sun, I think it’s become super hard to not get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing.
At the end of the day, the only person who has to be happy with what you make is you, so try not to look left and right.