- Ayyam-i-Ha is a Baha’i festival that is joyously celebrated in countries and territories all over the world. It is a time of hospitality, generosity, and caring for the needy. This year Ayyam-i-Ha runs from February 26-29.
Many of you may have seen or heard of Calla Kinglit from her song on Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions called “No One But Thee” which actually happens to be the most popular song of our Studio Sessions series! Lots of people have been asking her for more in the comments section, and so here it is! I’m thrilled that Calla Kinglit’s debut album, called Dreamer’s Sea, is now available and it includes the studio version of “No One But Thee” as well.
I decided to catch up with Calla to find out more about her and her music, and her debut album:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Calla! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your musical background?
I am a musician and a Baha’i, based in the Yukon Territory of northern Canada. I grew up with adventurous parents, moving from Canada to Zimbabwe to Egypt, Cameroon and back to the North. My mother taught my siblings and I piano from an early age, and I began writing music at around 11 years of age. I now play piano, guitar and mandolin, recently started learning the electric bass and oud for fun, and have a long standing dream of learning the cello.
Baha’i Blog: Why was it important for you to make this album?
Recorded music can be a magical escape. I have always dreamed of creating my own sonic world to escape to. I wanted to learn how to create layers in my music; to transform it from a simple instrument and vocal melody to something more rich and layered, and to push myself to learn new skills in the studio.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope listeners will take away with them after they’ve heard your music?
I hope listeners will escape from their worries when they hear my music. The movement between sadness and joy is inevitable in life, and so I hope to honestly capture that in my songwriting — attempting to represent these waves of life in a way that ultimately conveys gratitude.
Baha’i Blog: What’s the response to the music been like so far?
I am always surprised, overwhelmed and humbled by the support I receive for my music. I channel that right back into working hard and making more music!
Baha’i Blog: What was the process of working on this album like for you personally?
Looking back, recording this album was something that I wanted to do for a very long time — I started writing music seventeen years ago, and tried on many occasions since that time, tried to make it happen without success. My aspirations were to be creatively central in the production of the music, and as a young person with little experience, I found that there was a disconnect between my aspirations and my capacity to realize it.
The album finally started coming together two years ago upon meeting the album’s producer, Jordy Walker. I came into the studio with a very small amount of recording experience, and over time became more and more involved as a collaborator in the production of the music. Jordy has a huge wealth of experience, but also an openness to collaboration which allowed me to begin developing the fundamental skills of music production and a confidence in my music production intuition. As we wrote the arrangements of each song, we would both throw ideas at each other — musical layers that we could hear in the music; and we always tried the idea out without any judgement before deciding whether something would be included in the song or not. At the end of this project, I not only learned a lot about music production, but I learned a lot about how to create an open and rich collaborative space.
Baha’i Blog: Your song on Baha’i Blog’s Studio Session is the most popular song in the series, and I’d like to think that we helped in some small way. Did that song on Studio Sessions have an effect on you or your music, and if so how?
The support and response from Baha’i Blog listeners has been transformative to how I think about my music and my role in this world as an individual who strives to be of service in their life. Without the Baha’i Writings and the Baha’i community, I am not convinced that I would have realized that a career in music can be a path of service; I would not have been compelled in the same way to look for a way of being of service that makes use of my unique skills and capacities.
My closeness to music growing up and the sheer quantity of joy and comfort I got from it, as well as the egocentric themes in the main stream music industry made pursuing a career in it feel like a selfish venture. However, the deep sincerity of responses that I received from Baha’i Blog listeners has made me recognize that the reprieve, hope, energy and beauty that I experience from other peoples’ music is something that I might be able to provide for someone else.
Baha’i Blog: How can people listen to and find the music?
The album in digital download and CD format is available on my website www.callakinglit.com, and I ship internationally! Vinyl are being pressed currently and are available for pre-purchase.
If you are interested in hosting a house concert (you invite your friends/community, and charge a ticket price to help me get to the next spot, and I will provide a solo 60 or so minute show with stories and music), please email me at [email protected].
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Calla! And congratulations on your album’s release!
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