Q&A with the honest and hopeful Nastiya Kai

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On October 27th, 2023, emerging pop songwriter Nastiya Kai introduced the world to her enigmatic single ‘Bury Me.’ Serving as a preview to her upcoming debut album slated for early 2024, the track has already amassed over 141,500 streams and counting. The song has gained recognition from CLASH Magazine and EARMILK. Drawing comparisons to artists like Caroline Polachek and Sub Urban, Nastiya Kai draws inspiration from a diverse array of genres and musicians, including David Bowie, Daughter and The Naked and Famous. As she carves her niche in the expansive realm of pop, her music is sure to resonate with fans of avant-pop luminaries such as Billie Eilish, Grimes, and VÉRITÉ.

Listen to Bury Me’ while you read our interview with her below!

Describe your sound for us. What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?

I still haven’t figured what category I fall under. I have so many different influences and I allow myself to create freely so my songs end up being a mix of all sorts of things. I’d say the overall sound is Indie Electronic, but honestly you’ll hear a little country, a little broadway, a little pop, a little techno. Maybe it will be a different experience for the listener but this is how I feel about my sound. I’m very big on lyrics so I want people to pick them apart. I don’t just write, everything means something. I try to tell stories like a country artist would, but I also want people to feel all these different emotions deeply like I do. I want people to be surprised. A lot of tracks on the album take an unexpected turn musically so I’m nervous but excited for the world to hear them

Which 3 artists have influenced you the most growing up?

It’s so difficult to only pick 3 artists. Avril Lavigne, obviously, she was THE artist of my generation. Taylor Momsen, I still think she has one of the most beautiful and haunting voices out there. The Naked and Famous too. This one I can’t explain, they’re just such a great band and are literally on every single one of my playlists.

What outside of music inspires you to create?

Everything, the smells, the colors, the movies, feelings, literally any stimuli.  I’m rewiring myself to have music be my outlet for everything, to be something I can fall back on whenever I feel. BPD can be exhausting because you experience your emotions on this entirely different level where it’s constantly too much so music really helps. All this chaos inside me, good or bad, is what inspires me to write and allows me to cope with myself. 

Do you have a favourite memory of your career so far that you will take with you forever?

The first time I ever wrote a full song and loved it. It was back at home in Moscow just before I moved away last year. I hadn’t started learning how to play the keys yet so I was just trying to come up with something randomly without really knowing what’s where on the keyboard really. Out of nowhere I wrote a song. I can’t even explain it. It just happened. It’s as if I suddenly woke up and had this piece of music in front of me. It felt like magic a little. Looking back, I don’t think the song is any good anymore though haha

If you could work with, or perform alongside any artist living or passed, who would it be?

Most definitely David Bowie. I’d be terrified for sure though, he’s a genius. I actually dreamt about this once and I remember waking up in the middle of the night and forcing myself to go back to sleep just so I can go back to that dream.

Take us through the inspiration and making of your haunting single, ‘Bury Me’.

‘Bury Me’ is a metaphor. It’s inspired by one of my past relationships that ended up being a very difficult and traumatic thing for me to talk about and yet I had to let it out somehow to move on. So I wrote about it. It’s this idea of someone constantly pulling you down and making you feel horrible about yourself, and no matter how much worse it gets you keep blaming yourself and trying to fix it.

What can we expect from your first album? 

Like I said, expect to be surprised! I don’t want to give too much away. This album is my life. It’s everything that happened to me that is significant. It’s my way of letting go of all the bad and moving on with my life. Also, I finally have a release date, March 15th!

When you start to perform live, will you perform solo with your gear or with backing musicians?

I’m too much of an introvert to perform alone. Besides, I always loved the energy of bands. So many people are up on one stage having the best time of their life doing what they love. I’m dying to experience this

Any advice for struggling young musicians?

Keep doing what you’re doing no matter what. It’s a brutal world. It’s exhausting, it’s only gonna get more difficult, but if this is your dream then it will all be worth it. So never give up and enjoy the journey

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