It is hard to imagine that this artist, vocalist, dancer, musician is only 19. Callia began her music career early on teaching herself to play the piano at age 16 and then quickly writing her own music and lyrics. Currently attending University and residing in Montreal, Canada with her 17 year old sister, “who is so kick ass and great,” and her mother who is a retired nurse. Callia not only plays the keyboard, piano, and organ on her own tracks but she also co produces everything she writes and records. I had a chance to catch up with her and discuss her past, present, and future.
M: What is it like growing up in Montréal?
C: It’s a pretty nice city. It’s about 5 hours away from Toronto. It’s really nice. It’s kind of where the cool kids hang out in Canada.
M: So are you a cool kid?
C: Oh God let’s not even go there. [laughs] Well, I was not, actually in high school. I mean I grew up with my mom and my [younger] sister and I live with them now still. You know I’m 19. In high school and even in elementary school I was always kinda taken with art. I would watch movies and I would listen to music. And that’s kind of what I would do. I would spend a lot of time alone or reading.
M: What did you do early on that showed your interest in pursuing a music career?
C: Really early on… my mom would play a lot of music at the house so we would always be listening to a lot of her favorite artists, who wound up being my favorite artists, so people like George Michael or Sade or Prince like even.. she really loved Cher and so that was always a big influence and she really liked music as well so she would take me to go see concerts like stadium shows cause we have a stadium here. We would go see arena shows and the first one that I actually remember being like in awe… I must of been like 6 or 7… I think it was Janet Jackson. And the first time I saw her, she is so kick ass, when I saw her she just came out and I was mesmerized for 2 hours. That was crazy. And of course I sang in a lot of school talent shows and things and that’s when I knew even as a kid that’s what I really wanted to do.
M: How young were you when you realized you could sing?
C: Around 12 or 13. A bunch of family friends had heard me sing at a talent show. And my mom was like yeah they really liked you. And that was such validation and then I kept going.
M: What does your sister, Chloe, think about your career?
C: She loves it. She is not as musical as me but she loves music. She really loves Hip Hop and Rap a lot. And she can school anyone in Old School or new Hip Hop she is amazing. And she thinks it’s really cool and she is really excited. She is helping me with promo and all kinds of stuff.
M: What would be your dream collaboration?
C: Wow that’s really difficult. When I was really young, this kind of plays into my childhood I guess, so when I was really young if I ever was angry or upset about something or something wasn’t going well with friends or got into a fight or broke up with a boyfriend, whatever, I would always talk to my mom. Two things would always make me feel better. I would talk to my mom and listen to rock music like old rock like Guns n Roses or Kiss. So I think if ever I could collaborate with someone like Axl Rose or Gene Simmons that would have been amazing or Dave Grohl. I love the Foo Fighters. I love Dave Grohl I think he is so cool. He is such a rock star and he is a real musician.
M: You taught yourself to play the piano at age 16. What instrument if any would you like to learn next?
C: I taught myself how to play the piano but to be honest with you it’s not even my favorite instrument, which is kind of weird, but it feels the most natural to me. But I love the electric guitar. I love the electric guitar, that would be crazy, but apparently it’s very hard to learn.
M: What’s your creative process like?
C: There are two different ways. One way, I can sit down and actively try to write a piece of music. I can try and write the lyrics out and I’ll record the melody. I’ll either sing it or record it on piano because I can’t write notes. It’s all up in my head. So, I can actively sit down and be like ok I’m going to write a song today. But, the best songs that I write, the melody just kind of comes to me literally out of thin air. I could be half way asleep and hear something in my head and I literally have to wake myself up and run to my cell phone and record it, so, that I don’t forget it and then that is just kind of like a domino effect afterwards.
M: Women endure lots of physical scrutiny in this business so what’s your beauty routine?
C: Do I even have one? I don’t know. The thing with me is that it’s always about consistency and maintaining health. I have really long hair. My hair is real and I have to take care of that.
M: What’s your go to outfit for a night out?
C: Anything with high heels, the higher the heel the better. The worse you feel the higher your heels are.
M: What’s next on the horizon?
C: Trying to get into contact with producers who I can work with. Although I do write all my lyrics and I do all the melodies, I don’t produce everything on my own. I need a producer who knows what they are doing. So, I am looking forward to working with a few different producers. I think I am going to get back to the studio and record a bit more acoustic material. That’s the best way for me; just me, myself and my piano. And I can just get all my material out there and see what sticks and what people like.
M: How is it juggling school and work?
C: It’s actually way harder than I can even say. It is way harder, yeah, truly it is very difficult. I’m pretty good in school and I have always been the type where if I work really hard I can do pretty well for myself but juggling both music and school is very difficult. But I am doing it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.