“There is no other time when I feel more alive. Being on stage, singing about what I have experienced and felt, and getting to share that with people who feel the same way, it’s a feeling like no other” says KAELI.
New to the music scene, but not unfamiliar with the stage, KAELI is a singer-songwriter from London. Beginning her career by treading the boards in theatre, and eventually touring arenas worldwide as a featured vocalist for film star Hugh Jackman, it hasn’t been a conventional route into the music industry. But 2022 sees KAELI finally find her own voice. Combining soaring vocals, and honest lyrics with an effervescent pop sound, KAELI hopes to bring her lively energy and openness to every track. KAELI is signed by Abubilla Music, and recently released her debut EP, Kaleidoscope.
Growing up to Scottish parents in a small village in Hertfordshire, KAELI never wanted to be in the spotlight. In fact, it wasn’t until her parents saw how crippling her shyness was that they decided to put her into drama and singing classes at the age of 8. It all went downhill from there. Coming into her own, a young KAELI found her passion and spent her free time performing and taking classes, or listening to the soundtracks of her favourite musicals and Disney movies. It was where she felt most at home, feeling the emotion of every song that these characters were singing.
It was a purely natural progression for her to pursue performing as a career, and after attending prestigious schools such as LAMDA and the Guildford School of Acting, KAELI went on to have a successful stage career in the West End, performing in shows such as ‘Les Misérables’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and the original cast of ‘Tina the Musical’. However, her career took a new turn after being asked to join Hugh Jackman on his 2019 world arena tour of ‘The Man. The Music’. The Show, as one of his featured singers. Performing in venues such as Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl and the O2, KAELI travelled across the US, Europe and Australia, playing to packed out houses alongside the Hollywood star. Whilst touring, KAELI would use spare moments on the bus to work on new music and demos, as she found herself more and more inspired by her travels and experiences.
Encouraged by the team on the tour, and Hugh himself, KAELI decided to pursue her songwriting further, and reached out to London label Abubilla Music on her return. She signed to the label in 2020, after some time developing her writing with the team, and began writing her debut EP. “This EP explores the different genres of music that I love, whilst also allowing me to explore where I fit in this musical world. I think each song shows a part of me, a part of how I respond to the world and to relationships, and paints a really vivid picture of who I was when I wrote each song. I see it as a kaleidoscope of KAELI, that’s helped me uncover exactly where I want to sit with my next record. I can’t believe I’m talking about my next record already but I feel so fired up now that I can’t wait to start writing it with this new found clarity. I just hope this first one gives everyone a taste so they’re hungry for more!”
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
It’s actually been great. I released my debut EP at the end of last year and had no chance to gig with any of the material so finally getting to play some shows has been incredible. I’ve also had a chance to start writing new material for the album I’m working on!
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
I’ve only been an artist in my own right for a relatively short amount of time. I’ve been a vocalist on other peoples projects but never believed I was a strong enough writer to do it myself. I’m very lucky I’m working with a label who saw potential in me. So honestly it’s just been a growth in confidence that’s helped me to develop. It’s helping me to be braver with what I write. I’m so ready to release some of the new music I’ve been working on.
How did you come up with your latest project?
My debut EP Kaleidoscope was my chance to explore every facet of how and what I wanted to write. I think each song has a really different feel whilst still managing to have my voice really clearly. I called the EP Kaleidoscope for this reason… you’re looking at the same thing but a twist of the Kaleidoscope helps you see this thing differently. I hope my EP does the same by showing different facets of me and my song writing.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in a small town in Hertfordshire, but my family are all from Scotland! Me and my brother are the pretend southerners!
Where do you live now?
I’m in East London now.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
In some ways sure. It certainly makes it easier to get to the studio and to gigs as I’m right in the hub of London. I do long for some countryside and fresh air though. Some of my best writing I’ve done was actually when I was away on a writing retreat in Spain. Something about sunshine and nature and fresh air really helps me find inspiration.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
I actually started off working in musical theatre (I still do…). The shift started when I secured a touring job on Hugh Jackman’s world tour. I was one of the featured vocalists. Getting to play shows like that in bucket list venues showed me I’d love to play more like this. Plus a couple of the crew and Hugh himself were incredible supportive in me pursuing my own music. It was the confidence boost I needed.
How do you want to shape your career?
I’m incredibly headstrong about how I want things to be (and I’m very grateful to be signed to Abubilla Music who allow me to have full creative control whilst helping guide my decisions!) I’ve always been incredibly ambitious and I know that anything is possible in this world. So I’m working my ass off to make sure I can get to a place where enough people know my music, enjoy it and want to Party with me at some live shows!
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
Sometimes deadlines are good for me. At least in terms of finishing songs I’ve started. But I think you can tell when a song has been written too quickly and has come about because you need to write “something”. I prefer to let the ideas come to me first!
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
Haha I mentioned this above :)
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
I’m actually surprisingly good at it haha! I think In some ways I see music as a product of that moment. Writing and releasing it allows me to process these things and let them go. Some of the music I’ve Written (that people do enjoy) I cringe at now. But I guess that’s all a part of growth :)
Do you feel an emotional attachment with your music?
Yeah totally. I remember writing each song. I remember why I wrote it. And all of that is tied into the music.
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Where do they go to listen NOW?
I’m on all the usual streaming platforms - Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, iTunes etc!
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
I actually played a gig at the weekend and three girls sat at the front and sang along to every song word for word. That blew my mind. I can’t believe people know/love my music enough to know all the lyrics. That made my heart happy!
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
I'm taking a little break from gigs for a month or so but the album is fully in the works so hopefully new music will be out soon!
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
I’ve got my next big show on 7th July at The Old Queens Head with my full band which is gonna be cracking. I’m really wanting to hit the gigs hard this summer so keep an eye on my socials if you want to come along! Tickets for the Old Queens Head are now on sale so you get your ticket here… https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/kaeli-more-the-old-queens-head-tickets/12001505?pl=hotvox&REFID=kaeli
Give us all your socials and links so fans can link up with you! Thank you for this interview!
You can find me on all socials @ohhkaeli or head to my website www.KAELI.co.uk
Thanks so much for the interview!