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Thursday, January 20th
The Hot Sweat
Arden Kaywin
Arden Kaywin

A Hot Seater

We go back to California to unearth another hidden gem in the vast music landscape of the Golden State. Arden Kaywin is definitely a hidden gem needing to be discovered. She combines a Tori Amos-like sound with some Liz Phair spunk, Alanis Morisette-like angst with a little Vanessa Carlton. It makes for a multi-layered sound with a whole lot of unique.

Kim puts the young musician and October's You Gotta Know in our hot seat.

Kim: Was music something you always wanted to do?

Arden: Yes. I was always singing and dancing as a child. When I was in elementary school the first Whitney and Mariah albums came out and I would go around the house singing along. At that age I don't think I necessarily knew that I wanted to pursue music as a career but I knew I loved singing and performing. When I was 10 years old I sang the national anthem for the Miami Heat basketball games a few times. I did a ton of musical theater and sang in so many school choirs that they all blur together. I guess from a very early age I just knew that music, in any form, was the best way that I connected to and most enjoyed my world.

Kim: What is your first memory performing? 

Arden: The summer that I turned 7 years old I went to drama camp at the local university, and at the end of the summer the campers put on a big show for the parents. I remember feeling really important because the show was held at the big theater on the university campus which had red velour seats and dressing rooms (all the things that impress you as a 7yr old). I was chosen to sing "Memories" from the musical Cats. It was a pretty big deal because none of the other campers got to do a solo, so I was very excited. The main thing I remember is that I went out there to sing, I wasn't nervous but really just happy to be up there doing what came naturally to me. And then to get applause for something that I loved to do and would have done alone in front of my bedroom mirror in my pajamas....well, that was the coolest thing.

Kim: Who are your influences in your music and your own career?

Arden: Musical influences would definitely include Tori Amos, Frou Frou, Dave Matthew, Counting Crows, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Death Cab For Cutie, U2 and a ton of others. Career influences are artists like Sheryl Crowe, Melissa Ethridge and U2 who are "career artists"....they don't just have one hit record, they continually make great music year after year and album after album. That's the kind of career I would like for myself.

Kim: Why is music important to you?

Arden: It's the only thing that makes me truly happy in the purest sense. I can't imagine my life without music in it, either creating it myself or listening to it. There is a song for every major event or time in my life. It's better then a diary ;)

Kim: What are your goals, both short term and long term?

Arden: Well short term, I'm working on a lot of new music. I've been co-writing with a few fabulous writers and it's been such a creatively fulfilling experience. So in the short term I want to finish producing these songs. And I'm also planning a tour for March of 2007. It will be three weeks of gigs around the East Coast and Mid-West. I'm looking forward to that as well. In the long term, I just want to be able to support myself making music and continue to be able to connect with people through my songs.

Kim: Your lyrics are very strong, where do you get inspiration for writing your music? Z

Arden: Well the songs on my album were all inspired by a very specific time I was going through when I wrote them. The reason my album is called Quarter Life Crisis is because I was going through one myself. I had basically done a 180 in all aspects of my life in a very short period of time - I went from being in a long relationship to being single, from living in NYC to living in Cali, and from doing classical music my whole life to feeling very burnt out and wanting to switch career paths. All of those things were going on when I was writing the songs on my album so every song has something to do with those kind of things - you know, being in your mid 20's and realizing that what you thought you wanted for you life wasn't making you happy at all. That's my very longwinded way of saying that most often, the inspiration for my songs comes from the things I am dealing with in my life. It's cathartic for me to write. It's like therapy without the bill.

Kim: You attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Manhattan School of Music studying classical, what was the deciding factor that made you choose pop music over classical music?

Arden: The biggest thing for me was that I eventually felt creatively stunted in the classical world. When you sing opera, it's not just about opening your mouth to create music. There are all of these other factors like serious technique, diction, language, body work, performance practice, what the director wants, what the conductor wants, what the composer wants.....all of these voices were in my head each time I got up to sing and I found it very hard to find my own creativity amid all of that noise. The pop world suites me much better because it's my creative vision from start to finish. When I get up to sing now, there are no voices in my head.

Kim: How was working with Grammy Nominee, Rob Jacobs on mixing your album Quarter Life Crisis?

Arden: Rob was very wonderful. The first time I went to his studio I was a little bit intimidated because his wall is covered with platinum albums. But he is so down to earth and really supportive of the fact that I was an indie artist. Watching him at the board was an education, lol. He has such great ears. The reason the album sounds so great is because of Rob and Rudy Haeusermann my producer. There's no way I would be sitting here talking to you were it not for both of them.

Kim: If you could describe your album in one word, what would it be? Why do you pick this word?

Arden: The word would be "Empowering" because I think a lot of people, especially women, go through a period of time in their mid-twenties where they have now been out of college for a few years and they realize that they're really not where they want to be in their lives. I've been there, and the songs on my album speak to the fact that only you can be the change you want to see in your life. That's why I would say "Empowering".

Kim: What was the hardest part of making your album Quarter Life Crisis?

Arden: Honestly, the hardest part wasn't making the album, the hardest part is getting the word out there that it's actually good!! LOL That's the hardest thing about being an indie artist, you don't have the big promotion bucks that a label provides for marketing and promotion. So it's a constant hustle to spread the word. Thanks to Musiqtone and other sites like you guys, it's becoming a little easier. But in a nutshell, if you like the album, tell your friends!! 

The Burn: a series of short answer questions.

Kim:The thing or things you'd be doing if it weren't for music.

Arden: I have always been interested in politics, so I might get involved lobbying for the environment or for the arts.

Kim: The ultimate venue to tour in.

Arden: Madison Square Garden
Kim: If you could collaborate with someone, who would it be?

Arden: Oh, I only get one??? How about four: John Shanks, Linda Perry, Ted Bruner, and Kara Dioguardi.

Kim: Any non-musical talents?

Arden: I make amazing apple pie! I can also tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue ;)

Kim: Most embarrassing moment on stage?

Arden: Realising at the end of a show that my fly had been open the whole time.

Kim: Music the none of your friends or fans expect you'd listen to?

Arden: Linkin Park and Incubus. I have a soft spot for some of the harder stuff.

Kim is one of the many jack-of-all trades in the news division at Musiqtone. You can contact her at kimkaminske@musiqtone.com.

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