Tuesday, April 24, 2012

10 Seconds With: Naama Kates

Naama Kates is a Los Angeles transplant whose move from New York left her feeling lost and lonely; feelings that inspired the songs that would become her debut album, “The Unexamined Life.” A tongue-in-cheek take on Socrates’ “an unexamined life is not worth living,” Naama spent a year reflecting on her life and the path that she had chosen.

“My life was nothing but examined,” shares Kates. “I had just moved to Los Angeles and everything that I was feeling got written into a song; my personal therapy. What I write tells me what I’m thinking, reflects what I’m going through.”

What started with a small keyboard that Kates purchased at Guitar Center led to an impressive catalogue of original songs about universal themes, such as loneliness and unrequited love. Written with a soft touch and a slight edge, Kates’ take on subject matter that could be dreary is light and hopeful, which is further elevated by her superb arrangements. Count backward from one-to-eight before you lose it…

MS: BTW I love your single “Before You Lose It”.

NK: Awwwwwwwwwwwwww, Thank You.

MS: One of the things I really like, that I typed in the intro, is the line  - “Count Backward from one - to - eight” before you lose it…that was interesting I think most people take about twenty. (laughs)

NK: Well, it’s based on, ya know, you are supposed to count to ten before you say anything. I made it eight because music is in four/four time.

MS: That makes perfect sense. Do you write all of your stuff, or do you collaborate?

NK: I write all my stuff. I do the piano, lyrics and the chords, the song is fully written, and I work with a producer, he then puts it together with drums, guitars, bass, he plays the bass so he does that part. I don’t do the arrangements, obviously my producer does that. (laughs)

MS: You based the title of your upcoming album “The Unexamined Life” on a quote from Socrates “An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living”. You also say your life is nothing but examined, expand on that.

NK: Oh well, that has to do with a little less than one year after moving to Los Angeles, CA - I started writing and bought a keyboard. At that point I was not going out at all, not leaving the house, I was an agoraphobic…and I didn’t like driving very much. I was taking two LACC classes because I decided to stop acting, working a bar two nights a week. That’s all I did for a year, it was a lot of introspection. (laughs) I figured out what mattered, and what didn’t.

Examine your life with Naama at: http://twitter.com/#!/naamakates


  1. I love the opening piano chords... poignant and melancholic, with a measure of hope... "Before You Lose It" is one of only a handful of songs that touches something deep down inside me... songs I call 'soul-touchers'.

    I have her album in a playlist on Spotify right now... one of several playlists that accompany my writing.

    Thank you for sharing Naama with us, Michael.