1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the music industry?
Hello everyone! My name is Karina, my stage name is KERRY. I'm 33 years old and I live in Moscow, but I'm a big fan of American and English music culture, so I write songs and sing in English.
I spent my entire childhood in a dance studio, thinking that when I grow up, I'll become a dancer. However, at the age of 10, I started listening to a lot of music and had my first idols - Mariah Carey and George Michael. I think my path began back then, even though I couldn't sing and didn't know how to read sheet music. At the age of 13, I consciously quit dancing and at 15, I started taking my first vocal lessons. The first successes only came closer to the age of 18. I'm not one of those who have natural talent; I'm more of the type who trains hard and perseveres to achieve even small successes.
2. Your Spotify profile mentions influences from various genres. How did your eclectic taste contribute to shaping your unique sound in the indie pop scene?
I have always been a music lover, I enjoy finding interesting things in different artists, paying attention to their authenticity and uniqueness. Sometimes I extract something and incorporate it into my own creativity. For example, currently, there are a lot of vocal stacks and harmonies in my songs, which I drew from Billie Eilish's work. I fell in love with the bass guitar thanks to UPSAHL's tracks. We borrow many elements in our arrangements from songs by Melanie Martinez and Sub Urban. I adore exploring new sounds in tracks by Emei and KING MALA. In ballads, I find inspiration in the vocal sound of Olivia Rodrigo.
Some artists I simply listen to without any analysis because I just genuinely enjoy their artistry. Among them are Post Malone, Joji, and The Neighbourhood.
Tell you a secret. I'm ready to listen to Post Malone and Billie Eilish around the clock, lol.
3. Your recent single "Get Me a Doctor" has gained a lot of attention on Spotify. Can you share the inspiration behind this track and the creative process involved in its production?
"Get me a doctor" was written during a downturn of another intense wave of anxiety. I was simply sitting and analyzing my own behavior. I wanted to share with listeners the state in which I have been living for quite some time now. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, and with such an affliction, you live as if sitting on a powder keg. You worry about things that haven't happened and are unlikely to ever happen, but you can't get rid of intrusive negative thoughts. It's very draining because during these periods, I can hardly engage in anything.
However, I didn't want to make the track sad or depressive. Instead, I decided to experience these feelings with a touch of self-irony and some madness. That's why the arrangement features a distressed piano and silly vocal samples.
In this song, I also wanted to raise the issue of the side effects of antidepressants (such as euphoria) and how difficult it can be to wean off such medications.
4. How do you feel your sound has evolved from your earlier releases to your most recent work available on Spotify?
At a minimum, my sound producer and I have figured out how to better process my voice, in which situations it sounds better, and in which worse.
Over the last three years, I have managed to release songs in various genres, which helped me understand what I'm more drawn to and what I do best.
I think the sound quality has definitely improved. But of course, this is not the limit; there is always something to strive for.
5. Share the narrative behind your latest track, "Funeral Party."
This is yet another therapeutic song. It's about how I've lived my whole life adapting to the needs and interests of others, afraid to seem bad, ignorant, or ungrateful. But unfortunately, in trying to please everyone, I completely lost touch with what I wanted in life, as I was living with others' desires.
This song is a challenge and my decision to finally be myself, even if I have to shed the mask of the "good girl" and become inconvenient for others.
6. We noticed you've collaborated with "Bad 4 Life" on a track. How did this collaboration come about, and what did you enjoy most about working with them?
He found me himself, through Instagram, and said that he would be interested in making a remix of one of my tracks. I agreed because I really enjoy collaborating with different musicians and I also like it when others bring some new sound to my songs. It was a big surprise that he is also from Russia, albeit from a different city.
We hit it off very quickly and the whole creative process was easy and fun! Moreover, we are now preparing another remix that will be released in 2024, and he also helps me with the arrangement and mixing of a new track. It was indeed a useful and pleasant acquaintance.
7. Are there any dream collaborations you have in mind, or artists you'd love to work with in the future?
A track with an artist I'm currently working with like a manager is about to be released soon. Ever since we met, I've been very eager to collaborate with her, and after a year, our joint effort has come to fruition.
Speaking of dreams and big artists, my huge desire would be to work with Ryan Tedder. I consider him a brilliant songwriter; it seems like he can turn any song into a hit. Among vocalists, I'm a big fan of Khalid, he has an incredible voice. I adore Finneas's lyrics and his approach to working with songs. Also, I dream of one day performing with Arctic Monkeys and The Neighbourhood. It all sounds, of course, unbelievable, but who knows.
8. Your Spotify artist dashboard indicates a significant increase in monthly listeners. How do you think your music resonates with a broader audience, and what role has Spotify played in reaching new listeners?
The primary growth in the number of listeners happened because of Twitter, meeting new musicians, and collaboration with Bad4Life. Plus, I'm trying to be more open with my listeners now. For example, I talk a lot about the filming process, why I wrote a particular song, share internal feelings and problems I encounter. I suppose this piques interest in my artistry because people like to see what's happening behind the scenes.
I must say, I haven't used any paid methods, such as targeted advertising or buying placements in playlists. Therefore, I consider this to be quite a good result.
9. Which of your tracks do you find has received the most unexpected positive reaction from your audience on Spotify, and why do you think that is?
Definitely "Friends don't lie."
This song was an experimental one for me. It was born after watching the series "Stranger Things," where the phrase "friends don't lie" was repeated a million times. I found that line to be catchy, and around it, I told a story from my own life. You know, it was the first time I decided to do something in the style of dark pop, and I also didn't think about how a song should sound for the mass listener.
But perhaps that is the answer to why it caught the interest of many. I didn't conform to any standards here, I did what I wanted to do. Perhaps people felt that.
10. Can you walk us through your typical creative process when producing a new song? How do you approach songwriting and crafting your sound?
Usually, I start by searching for chords that resonate with my mood, then I hum the melody while recording everything on a dictaphone. I let the recordings sit for a day, and if I still like them the next day, I continue working on the melody, and then the lyrics. I rarely write the melody to fit the lyrics. However, I often draw inspiration from a particular phrase that can serve as the main hook in the chorus.
I enjoy occasionally incorporating beats and humming something over them. If I like what I come up with, we create an arrangement that matches the mood and prepare the track. By the way, that's how the song "Father" was born, which will be released in January next year.
As for arranging, I can't do it myself. Usually, I gather references, send them to a friend, explain what I ultimately want to achieve, and then we start working. But sometimes, I myself don't fully understand how the song should sound, and that's when the process can be prolonged.
After the final arrangement, I record the vocals and additional voices. I mostly record at home as it's more comfortable for me. Then comes the mixing, mastering, and the track is ready.
11. Do you have any rituals or habits that you find particularly helpful in maintaining creativity and inspiration throughout the music-making process?
I think that the most important thing for me is to take breaks sometimes. If I start feeling that a track is becoming difficult or if I'm struggling to come up with a particular part or lyrics, I give the project some time to rest. To recharge, I spend a lot of time walking or I simply switch to other tasks.
12. How does the energy of a live audience compare to the online engagement you receive through platforms like Spotify, and how does it influence your performance?
Since I am not currently performing live concerts, it is difficult for me to compare these two moments. However, when it comes to social media interaction or feedback on my online performances, it definitely helps me move forward. In turn, I believe that such interaction with the audience helps me become closer to my listeners. I would love to organize a concert someday. I think after such an event, I would be inspired by the live energy to write an entire album at once.
13. Your Spotify playlist "Influences" showcases a diverse range of artists. How have these influencers shaped your musical journey, and do you actively seek out new influences to incorporate into your work?
We talked about it at the very beginning. All these people have definitely influenced me and my music. There are certain artists from whom I take certain lyrical techniques, others from whom I may borrow the delivery or style, and some inspire me with their ability to create incredibly catchy choruses. I'm always on the lookout for new names and great music, the kind that will become a source of inspiration for me.
14. Are there any specific genres or artists you've recently discovered that you're excited about, and how might these discoveries influence your future projects?
All my recent releases have had visual references to the 1950s-1960s. The upcoming ones will not be an exception, by the way. I have thought long about how and through what I can tell my stories, and surprisingly, the history of America during those years resonates strongly with the themes I write about. That's why during this period, I discovered Stephen Sanchez and started listening more to the amazing Lana Del Rey. These artists have definitely influenced the visual elements and sound of my recent tracks.
I don't know why that era attracts me so much, but sometimes I even have the feeling that I was born in the wrong time.
15. What can your fans expect from you in the coming months? Any upcoming releases, collaborations, or projects you'd like to share?
In January 2024, the track "Father" will be released, which was created together with artist Arminia. In it, each of us will share our personal stories related to fathers. It will be the first time I open up about my experiences with my father leaving our family.
In February and March 2024, the plan is to release two tracks that are diametrically opposed in mood. One will be pure Dark pop, and the other will be from the slow Eurovision song series, lol. In March, I hope to release a collaborative track with Bad4Life, specifically the remix of my song "Give me a sign," which will also have a somewhat dark undertone. I'm extremely excited about how it's turning out.
Currently, I'm working on two collaborations and another personal track, which might be released in the spring or summer of next year. By the way, I've started thinking about finding a label to release my songs for the first time. It's quite challenging to carry everything alone; I would like at least some assistance.
At the end of next year, I would like to do a live concert. Even if it's without an audience, just to share it on YouTube. But I think people will be interested in hearing all the tracks released in recent years performed live. It will also give me an opportunity to see how ready I am for live performances, haha.
16. How do you envision the evolution of your sound and style in the future, and are there any specific goals you hope to achieve in your music career?
Firstly, I hope to stop being pulled in different directions with various genres. It's time to define my sound. That's my number one priority at the moment. Secondly, it's been a while since I've had vocal lessons with a teacher. I want to get back to lessons and improve my skills. Thirdly, I dream of finding a permanent team of musicians within a year with whom we can perform live concerts. Even if they are initially small, it doesn't matter. What matters is stepping out of the shadows. Lastly, I would love to have one of my songs featured in a cool TV series. It's a small but cherished dream of mine.
It would be great to make new connections in the music industry, collaborate on songs in a group (in Russia, songwriting with a team of writers is not as common, usually everyone works individually), find a label, and significantly grow my audience (at least reaching 100,000 listeners on Spotify).
Yeah, there's so much work ahead, but it's a very exciting and interesting journey!
I want to thank you for these interesting questions that allow listeners to get to know me better and delve deeper into my musical world. Thank you very much!