Soulful Artist Nastiya Kai’s Debut Single, Too Far Gone
Rarely have we heard an artist’s debut single touch so many chords in mood, emotion and intensity as that of Too Far Gone, the first track released by European artist, Nastiya Kai. The song is rich with velvety texture and moodiness. It opens with an ethereal buildup that bleeds into Kai’s smokey and guttural vocals which form a powerful backdrop for its lyrically rich journey. Her second single, Liar, goes further with blended rock, funk and dance up tempo beats as a backdrop for Kai’s palpable storytelling prowess and uncanny interpretation of deep human emotion.
We caught up with Nastiya Kai to discuss her musical inspiration, creative process and what’s coming up.
Your debut single, Too Far Gone, is impressive. Tell us about your create process when it comes to writing, recording and producing music.
Thank you! However, there is a team of amazingly creative people helping me. I come up with the lyrics and the melody, figure out the chords, draft some references and ideas and then send it off to the music producer I am working on a track with. We then work collaboratively in bringing my idea to life. There are always a lot of very talented people involved in the music making process, and yes I do want to give myself credit for the lyrics and the vision behind the song, but I couldn’t do it without some very talented producers.
In terms of lyrics, it’s different every time. I always try to immediately write down or voice record anything that comes to mind. There isn’t a specific time or place, but it is always triggered by a thought or an emotion. I’m in my head a lot, most of the time I’d say. When I was a teen I would always write down little poetic notes expressing how I felt about something, or a thought that I wanted to remember. At some point these turned into songs
Do you use live instruments or are the sounds produced digitally?
It depends on the song. But mostly, it’s a combination of both. I do want to incorporate a lot more live instruments though. I feel like this makes the song more authentic and emotionally palpable.
You’ve lived quite a colorful life for a young woman. You grew up in Moscow, eventually making your way to Paris and London, and you have recently moved to New York City where you are now recording new music. How have these different cultures influenced you as an artist?
I always say that I don’t really have one cultural background because I left home for boarding school at the age of thirteen. Even as a kid, I traveled quite a lot with my family. I grew up with people from all over the world, celebrated very different holidays, watched different movies, listened to different songs… the list goes on forever. As a result, I feel at home in most countries. Even when it comes to my comfort foods, it isn’t just something from home; it’s from everywhere really.
It also influenced my musical tastes, for sure. People say they are into all kinds of music, but I go beyond that. I actually like traditional music a lot. Lately, I’ve been studying Russian folk music to try and go back to my roots. Let’s see where that takes me.
Tell us about the music you have recently recorded that is soon to be released, and what are you working on now?
I’m in an era of letting out all the stories and emotions I’ve kept in my head over the years. There are so many things I want to say and share with the world, and I feel like I need to let all of this out before I move on to an EP or a full album. So, you can expect some more emotionally driven singles from me in the near future.
My next single, Liar, that’s set to release very soon is about a relationship that turned my life around and made me seek therapy for my BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). It involved theft, abuse and stalking. I really needed to put all of that into a song and close that book forever. I will be able to hopefully talk about this experience more once the single is out.
You are quite the renaissance woman. You’ve gotten a lot of press coverage in Europe for your environmental activism when it comes to the fashion industry, and you were an early adopter of upcycling materials rather than creating waste. How does that activism transfer over to your career in music?
My music is me. It is the culmination of the upcycling within the fashion industry, the travels, the mix of cultures, my mental health journey, my experiences. All of this makes me who I am. I am an activist by nature. I’m an extremely open and honest person, and I stand up for the things I believe in. I believe in love, kindness and beauty. I believe in peace and respect. I will always find a way to be an activist by living my truth and singing about it.
Sustainability in fashion is all about respecting the earth you live on. It’s about being at peace with yourself. And all of the above are about raw honesty and raw emotion for me. That is what I think translates in my lyrics a lot. I say things like I mean them and I never sugarcoat anything or make it sound pretty. I hope people will relate to that
You have not been shy about discussing your mental health challenges, even placing some of it in your lyrics. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, what would you like people to know about your mental health journey, and how are you feeling these days?
I’m still figuring it out. When I got out of therapy, I let my BPD define me. For a time it felt like I was walking on needles, and I was doing everything I could not to trigger myself or make a mistake. Now I’m finally in a place where I can confidently say that I am a lot more brave and a lot stronger. I’m finally learning to allow myself to live with my emotions and not to ignore them.
The journey is ongoing. My message is to seek help, not solely when you need it, but when you are ready to allow people to help you, as this is probably the hardest part. Eventually there will be more good days than bad days, but it will take some time and that is okay. Always know that you are your own support system and you are also your most important relationship. That is very “Pinterest” of me, but also very true.
Where can people find your music?
Pretty much on every single platform out there, but mostly Apple Music and Spotify. I have spent a lot of time personalizing my Spotify, so make sure to check that out! People can also find me on TikTok and Instagram, of course.
Connect with Nastiya Kai