Once upon a time...
Singer/Songwriter/Actress Naama Kates had a chance meeting with Cyrus Melchor, an award-winning producer/composer, resulting in the release of her first album, The Unexamined Life.
The Unexamined Life was a critical success, earning rave reviews from national and international press. The single “Before You Lose It” was featured on the CW's drama Ringer, and heard on the hit show, CSI.
Kates' self-produced second album, King for the Day, mixed and recorded by three-time Grammy Award-nominee Scott Fraser, was another critical success, which helped Kates earn a new following in South America and Europe. In 2014, she reunited with Melchor for her upcoming third album, Souled.
I recently got together with Naama at Intelligentsia in Silverlake, CA to discuss Souled, Kate Bush, her movie Reinventing Chloe and why we both hate flying.
MS: Hey Naama, it sounds like you have more production value on Souled than you did on your previous efforts.
NK: Well I'm glad that it sounds that way. A lot of things didn't cost nearly as much as my first record. It was a lot of myself and Cy working together on sounds, even though there are some bass players on it. The mastering job was a top new hot up and coming guy, The Unexamined Life was my most expensive effort Souled is a lot more electronic and done in the studio.
MS: It sounds more produced than King for the Day.
NK: I produced that myself. It was basically a really good live recording. I didn't really have the time or the means to do all of that production. I'm not really a Producer, I'm not sure how I end up in the Producer role all of the time. The musicians were great! The album was recorded by a real bad ass Producer, Scott Fraser, he did two songs on Souled - the last record since I produced it myself, how much could that have cost? (laughs) But The Unexamined Life in terms of how much it costs? A lot more than this one, it's my most expensive album to date.
MS: Souled has a really awesome Kate Bush influence to it.
NK: I love that!
MS: OK, since you are much younger than me, how do you know her music?
NK: You know? I would be really miserable if the only music I knew, was the music that came out after I was in my teens.
MS: I hear that! So how did you first hear Kate Bush?
NK: Someone awesome, I can't remember who, did a great cover of Running Up That Hill.
I was like, "Who did this bad ass song?" so I checked it out.
MS: Too bad she only tours overseas, she is afraid to fly.
NK: Is she English?
NK: Oh, I didn't know that.
MS: Flying doesn't bother me.
NK: Me either. Well it does now actually, because of all the nonsense you have to put up with before you board the plane.
MS: That is annoying, but as far as the actual act of flying, no big thing.
NK: I agree.
MS: The thing I don't like about flying is it is so claustrophobic.
NK: It's sooooooo claustrophobic. I've actually flown a plane, it's really fun and it's really easy.
MS: Oh wow! That sounds fun, I would love to do that! Also I would love to parachute out of a plane.
NK: I've done that a couple of times. It wasn't an adrenaline rush for me, maybe for some people it is, it for me was actually very peaceful.
MS: For some reason I have really taken to the title track of your latest record, Souled.
NK: That's not a bad thing, I obviously feel rather strongly about it, since it's the title track. Everyone has their favorites with this record and really strong opinions as to what song that is. Which is really great. it's not that one song is better than the other, it's a matter of taste. People's favorites from the album also change, certain songs are growers, not showers. (laughs)
MS: Chat a little more about the song Souled.
NK: Do you get the lyrics and what I am saying in that song?
MS: Yes, the lyrics are below the song on the play list on Sound Cloud.
NK: The play on words confuses a lot of people, but if you have the lyrics in front of you and have read them...
MS: I did, I get it, it's a play on words.
NK: Good for you! A lot of people don't get it even if they know what the explanation is. When it comes to my music it matters to me if the listener enjoys it. I don't write songs in that regard thinking about how others will like it, but when it's finished and they are hearing it of course I care.
MS: Are you performing live anytime soon?
NK: Yes, on August 6th at the Silverlake Lounge at 9 pm. It's going to be the first time with the new material, we're going to have projection, a DJ and a back-up Keyboard player so I don't have to play on everything, I can stand up and not be behind the piano all the time. (laughs)
MS: Awesome! I am so going to be there! What about your film Reinventing Chloe hows that going?
NK: Reinventing Chloe is a movie I acted in, produced and wrote. The director is a friend of mine Princeton Holt. It's very autobiographical. It's about a singer that comes to Nashville, the songs I am playing in it are from The Unexamined Life - we submitted the film to a bunch of film festivals and it won nine jury awards, Best Feature, Best Actress and Screenplay. That was pretty awesome!
It got a lot of attention and the film is getting picked up for distribution by a production company.Chloe will be released later this year.
Get Souled with Naama at:
Go Chloe at: