Behind the Song
Hailing from Chicago, IL, Kama Tala is an amalgamation of styles and influences. Soul, Rock, Pop, Jazz, & World music are all woven together on Kama Tala’s debut album Before the Wind. The 12 track album, released on 03.07.21, is a personal look at the human condition with each track offering a unique flavor of emotion. There is a lot of story to tell, with many themes revolving around contrast & perspective. Lead composer Earhart calls it “…a juxtaposition of ideas” and explains, “…to me the most compelling stories have range. I try to write about darkness and light simultaneously. That duality is what feels most real to me, so I try to invoke that push and pull when I craft a song.” Kama Tala completed their second project, 'The Wayside' in the spring of 2021. For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough then tell us more!! Unhinged, poorly executed and sickness inducing? Wait that’s more than three. Hahah let’s just hope it’s none of those. I really haven’t the slightest, but I guess I’d like for people to say something of the opposite. People like what they like and that’s great. I’ll leave it to them to decide.
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why. I enjoy the songwriting process and revel in bringing an idea or concept to life in musical form. It’s freeing and cathartic— It’s dismal and arduous—but when it clicks the right way it’s all worthwhile. Recording in the studio is crazy fun for me because I like the idea of leaving something for posterity’s sake. It’s the next piece of the puzzle after a lot of hard work. But the production side requires just as much meticulous work. I’ve been very lucky to have worked with some outstanding producers who I’ve picked up a lot from. Performing live is like the finished puzzle but you get to throw it on the floor and rearrange it in any way you’d like. It’s the outlet that I think every musician enjoys. There is a certain energy and joy—a heartbeat if you will, that comes with performing live. Mostly though, it’s just a good time to get out there and make people move.
Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you? It’s a thrill. I love every minute of it. What I’ve found is that being comfortable is essential when trying to capture something worthwhile in the studio. I like to be creative and try new things especially when it comes to vocal melodies and tonality and I can only do that if I feel comfortable and excited about a track. Even though I spend the most time working on a tune before I get to the studio, I need to let that go and try to feel it for the first time. I try not to listen to a song or practice it a week before going to the studio—that way I can let loose and give the song the freshness and energy it deserves. That's probably bad advice, but eh, I think it's worked so far for me. On a side note, I've come to appreciate just how important the production side of things are. It’s an equal half of the equation in my opinion. Producers need to have a different type of brain. The time, energy and painstaking detail that goes into the production side is astonishing. So shout out to Tomek R. and Brody Trinidad who did fantastic work balancing the equation.
Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing? Spoon bending. All things wizard related. Yelling at birds. The usual stuff.... Hahah No, I’m boring—to be honest, just being with good people. My family, friends—a bonfire, a concert, a night in the city or a day with some sunshine.
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why? Everyone who is grinding it out. The local band waiting for a break or just playing to have fun. The guy at the dive bar. The gal who wails at open mic night. The undeterred club musicians keeping the oldies alive just for the love of the music. Every unabashed and unafraid musician pouring out everything they’ve got. Either that or Wham! It's close.
Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it? The Wayside. I had so much inside I wanted to say but did not want to come across as preachy or virtue signaling, which is difficult in a song with religious undertones. The song is deeply personal and I poured my heart out in every line. I tried to write this song several times and came close, but always felt like there was more to say. My closest success came with the tune ‘Character Gray’ off of the ‘Before the Wind’ album. The Wayside was sort of like pt. II to that song although it has an entirely different feel. The Wayside is, in its most honest sense, about feeling like an outcast. It is a literary tune drawing from Nathanial Hawthorne’s novel ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and references his personal life and experiences, notably, ‘The Wayside’ which is the home he named and lived in during tumultuous times while writing several novels. The tune was inspired by personal experiences and fueled by the social and political division in the summer of 2020. My goal was to take the listener through a range of emotions—from distrust, anger, hope and discovery—to an eventual enlightenment. The song reaches its climax with the reflection: “Can we compromise? Both sides have seen sacrifice. I’ll give you my weight in gold to keep a nation whole. I forgive you and cast no blame. We all learn and change. Do you believe the same?” My hope is that the 'Z' section would provoke the listener to ponder their own convictions—and remind that there is two sides to every story. Ultimately 'The Wayside' is about self reflection and forgiveness. I hope anyone who listens can relate to it in some way or another
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year? I am in the process of writing a new collection of original songs and a few collaborations. I’m looking forward to performing again this summer and hoping to return to the studio this fall.
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For more information on Kama Tala, visit their website.