NOW INTERVIEW: Charlene Kaye


Singer Charlene Kaye is getting ready to go out on tour in support of her new album Animal Love, so we took some time to chat with the young singer about what inspires her music, how she get her start and even give you a first listen to her new song “Animal Love l” here. Or below.

We have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more from this girl in the future.

How did you get your start making music?

I had my first piano lesson when I was five and played classical for years. When I was in seventh grade I got really into punk rock and started teaching myself Blink 182 songs on my mom’s nylon guitar. My sister was into a lot of classic rock—Zeppelin, Van Halen and Queen, and she had a huge influence on me. All through high school I played for myself, learning other people’s songs, but didn’t really start writing my own stuff until college. There, at [University of] Michigan, I became enveloped in an incredibly supportive community of musicians who encouraged me to perform and keep writing. So I did, the fire ignited, and I haven’t stopped since.

What is Animal Love I about?

It’s about the boy I’m not dating yet. [Laughs] I have many different meanings in my mind behind the phrase “Animal Love,” but this song was mostly inspired by that reckless, ecstatic feeling of meeting someone who you think could be a very big deal and what that feeling’s sonic companion might be…I wanted this song to recall a kind of celebration, a riot; I wanted a raging guitar solo and the energy of a bunch of humans yelling in a room together.

Is there an Animal Love II?

There is. I is the first track of the album and II is the last. II is its sadder counterpart, the reflection after emerging from the undertow.

Describe how this album is different from your last album, 2008’s Things I Will Need in the Past

For this record I worked with my dear friend and bandmate Tomek Miernowski, who produced, mixed and played a ton of instruments on it. We’ve been playing together for years and he’s been a huge part of my evolution as a musician since I made the move to NY. Everything about my first record was very organic—we only used acoustic instruments—whereas this one we really dove into more electronic textures; drum samples and synthesizers; big, chaotic guitars and layered vocals. The irony is that despite the use of this supposed machinery, this album feels more human to me in ways the first one doesn’t. With Things, I feel like my classical background compelled me to arrange everything very precisely, right down to the vocal melody—I sang everything very cleanly and evenly, but I never “let go.” With Animal Love, the process was much more intuitive, and I took risks I normally wouldn’t have in the past. I did a lot of new things with my voice—there are some songs where I’m just screaming. I think ultimately, that feeling is what I wanted to capture the most on this record—complete catharsis; going from the sensible to the sublime.

How would you describe a Charlene Kaye live show?

Oh man…I hope it’s brutal in the best way. I hope it’s fun and gets you moving but leaves you feeling like you just got your heart and your senses bulldozed.

When can fans see you perform next?

At SOB’s on March 6 with two of my favorite NYC acts, Misty Boyce and Jay Stolar, to celebrate the premiere of the music video for this song!

Here are tour dates –

March 6 – New York, NY @ SOB’s
March 8 – Asbury Park, NJ @ The Saint
March 17 – Chicago, IL @ the Beat Kitchen
April 3 – Nashville, TN @ 12th and Porter
March 30 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall

Track Listing:

1. Animal Love I
2. Forever Is A Long Time
3. A Million Years
4. Hummingbird Heart
5. Poison Apple
6. Until the Morning
7. Woman Up
8. Don’t Make Me Believe
9. I Dream an Ocean
10. Animal Love II