You recently just hit 500 five star reviews on SoundBetter. What elements of your voice, writing style or business mindset do you feel has led you to be one of the most sought-after session vocalists on this platform?
It’s funny actually, what was once a problem is now my superpower. The answer in short is my versatility- being able to shift tonality and delivery to fit different genres. Once upon a time I wanted to be a touring artist, but producers were ditching me left and right because they felt I didn’t know what “my sound” was. All along I never truly wanted that life, and I didn’t want to box myself into a singular sound. I always wanted to be able to express myself with many personalities and genres. What a beautiful manifestation of that is my Soundbetter experience where I get to sing K-pop one day, breathy ballads, sassy disco, polished pop, or soaring epic cinema music the next day!
As artists and entrepreneurs, many of us go through ups and downs and face challenges in our careers. Have you ever felt lows in your career, and if so what kept you going? How did you push through?
Oh yes. Many times. Sensitive subject. There were a few distinct “I quit music” moments for sure. It’s a sad truth that the music industry is infiltrated by many managers with predatory and inappropriate practices. Especially for cute young girls who want to make it in music; these gate keepers must see us as prey. I walked out on my publishing deal with Sony ATV because I felt trapped by my (third party, nothing against Sony itself) management who was penned into my deal. I couldn’t handle the negativity anymore, this wasn’t my dream, so I left. But music doesn’t leave. Quit we might, and take a break, but music finds it’s way back into our hearts. Synesthesia Pt. III by Jack Garratt literally lead me back to my soul in an instant when it blared through my car speakers. The business drove me away, but music never did anything to hurt me. So music healed me. I read my contract about 100 times and came up with a case to negotiate myself out of my deal. I was successful. Free and independent again, I kept making music, and slowly started to find these sort of hidden avenues to be able to make money with music independently. Now I am so passionate about teaching other musicians how to be financially independent with their music because it is such a lie that we have to starve, suffer, and pay our dues. No. There are resources here, and we can create our dream life without the gatekeepers.
Who or what have been sources of inspiration and motivation in your journey and writing?
Come to think of it, and I feel funny saying this because I haven’t even said it to him, producer Louis Bell (Post Malone, Juice WRLD, Camilla Cabello, etc.) and what I know of his story really inspires me. The first microphone I ever sang into when I was 16 was his. I met him through a mutual friend, super talented rapper, we were all from the same town in south of Boston. My junior year of college he brought me in to be part of a girl group. We cut a whole album, full artist development with him and his partners, from choreography to nutritionists (though we dodged a bullet when the deal went south). Lou is amazing to work with, his vocal production skills are out of this world, he could come up with a whole language with a singer in one session to get the best performance out of em. But thinking back on conversations about band class (he said I’m better than him at trumpet lol), to him now being a mega star producer (and mind you, still being the same lovable Lou), I’m super motivated by his example because I’m just such a dreamer. And to see someone make the decision to achieve their dream and do it just fires me up. To tears- I was watching Kim Kardashian speak about how she was cropped out of a photo with Kanye, and 6 years later SHE’s the one on the cover of Vogue for the Met Gala. I guess it’s really the pursuit of a goal, and the achievement of it that truly moves me. It’s people that believe in themselves that inspire me deeply. And I believe in myself, whole heartedly, to keep crafting my dream life.
As you look to the future, what are some of the aspirations you have or areas of the industry like to explore?
I’m super excited to explore the software side of things. Wow, was there ever a more nerdy sentence! Lol. I’ve been dreaming up a vocal VST and effects plug-in that I want to create. If you’re non-music-technical, basically it’s a piece of software within the recording software that creates special effects. Producers can use my voice and the effects to create new textures for their compositions.
To young entrepreneurs or independent artists just starting out, do you have any words of advice or encouragement?
Just start throwing paint at the wall. Get messy, and when you mess up, do it loudly. Be grateful for every mishap or apparent failure, as those are data points helping you refine your craft and your path. Get excited. You can learn how to do anything. We’re always shaky when we learned how to ride the bike, then one day we’re popping wheelies. Just dive in and get creative.
Thank you so much Kimera for sharing your story and insight on the music industry!
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