WW: Hey Arden. Welcome to WildWritings.com! How are you?
AK: I'm great, thanks.
WW: Tell us about your childhood. Did music always play an
important role in your life?
AK: Yes. I started taking piano very young, at about 3 years
old. I also loved to dance and was always in ballet and jazz
classes growing up. I think my most basic connection to music
has always been through movement, even to this day. When
I'm in the studio recording, I know I've got something when I
feel like I want to move to it.
WW: When did you know you wanted to become a singer?
AK: I think sometime around 8 years old. That's when I got Whitney Houston's first Album and Mariah Carey's first album and I thought they were just the coolest thing ever. I would come home from school and play those albums over and over again singing with them and imitating them. At that time I had also started doing musical theater in school and during the summers so I was taking voice lessons for the first time associated with that. A few years later when I was 13 I was asked to sing the National Anthem at a Miami Heat game (I'm from Miami) and to sing for an arena fully of people at that age was incredible. I think I knew then that I definitely wanted a career in singing and performing.
WW: Who were your musical influences while growing up?
AK: Well like I mentioned above, at a very young age it was Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Then as I got older I started loving Tori Amos, The Indigo Girls, Dave Matthews Band, The Counting Crowes, and Sarah McLachlan. Those were the records I listened to the most in high school and I'm sure have had the most effect on my sound.
WW: When did you write your first song? What was it about?
AK: I started playing around with songwriting back in Jr. High. I used to take these poem written by my best friend and put them to music. They were always about some boy that we had a crush on who didn't know we were alive.
WW: Where do you draw the inspiration from to create music?
AK: Most of the time I get musical inspiration before lyrical inspiration. I'll sit down at the piano to fool around and find a great chord progression or tonal idea, and then the song usually flows from there. I tend to free associate when I'm first writing lyrics because I find that whatever is on my mind will usually come out, and then I take that nugget of an idea and craft the lyrics around that.
WW: Tell us about your most recent album, Quarter Life Crisis?
AK: This album basically came out of my very own quarter life crisis. I had been out of school for a few years and was really kind of burnt out on my life. I didn't like the career path I was on, I didn't like the city I was living in, and I was in a stale relationship. So in a matter of months I made these huge changes in every aspect of my life - I moved to L.A., I broke up with my boyfriend, and I started down an entirely new career path. The songs on the album came from my experience going through this crazy period in my life. A lot of people have written to me since the album came out about how they can relate to the songs and the tone of the album because they themselves are going through a similar time in their lives. I guess the quarter life crisis is the new mid-life crisis, lol.
WW: You recently were chosen by Naspter.com to be an Artist In Residence. Can you explain this to us and how your live music was featured on Napster?
AK: Napster had a program this past year where they chose a few up and coming, independent artists to feature on their site as a way to promote their music to a larger audience. I happened to be playing a little showcase at UCLA and one of the people in the audience was someone who worked at Napster and knew that they were looking for unknown artists to help promote as a way to bring new music to their audience. So he pitched me to the Artist In Residence director and that's how I got asked to join them. It was a great experience. I took my band in and we had the use of their studio to record some acoustic tracks specifically for Napster Live, as well as demo some new songs. Studio time is really expensive so this was an awesome thing that they were doing for the artists in residence, giving us the use of their studio. We had an awesome time, the people at Napster are really wonderful.
WW: Where can we find you in the upcoming months?
AK: I just got back from touring around the mid-west so I'm staying put in L.A. for the near future. I have two shows coming up in L.A., one at the Ivar Theater on July 22, and a great show called Under One Roof at The Roxy on August 3rd. This show is going to be really special for a few reasons. There are a group of super talented female musicians in L.A. that I've gotten to know and we're finally all playing a show together - hence the name of the event Under One Roof. But also we're banding together and donating a portion of the proceeds from the night to two amazing charities, the National Resources Defense Fund, and the First & Third Homeless Project. All the info for both shows are on my website, www.ardenkaywin.com.
WW: Thanks Arden! Best of luck to you.
AK: Thank you. It was my pleasure :)