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Making Babies (Or Music) With KlairKia.

I recently met up with the on-the-rise singer/songwriter/poet/dancer Klairkia. She has a lot to offer the world and is set to take it by storm, it seems. She's one determined lady! 

I was very late to our meeting- the first IN PERSON Useless Critic interview- because I work way way way out by Coney Island where everyone is Russian and I'm not. But she was nice enough to wait for me and to give me the benefit of the doubt that I was indeed on my way. 

The first thing that struck me about her was how beautiful and personable she was, and the next thing was how DRIVEN she was. I mean, my god, this girl has a gift and she's going to let the world know about it, no matter what.

Her new record is about to come out to the public on September 16th (my brother's birthday, happy early birthday Joe). It's called Who's Bad, which is a partial nod to Michael Jackson, that late "king of pop." As she explained, both Jacksons have been big influences on her life and career.

"I started doing Broadway stuff. Musical theater," she said of her roots, back in her childhood home of California. She would visit New York in her youth and fall in love with the city, though (an easy thing to do!) "I visited when I was 13 and I knew I wanted to be there. I'm originally a Bay Area girl."

"My first years were spent on dance." And she still dances, but she's moving into music, rather forcefully. "The past three years I've been honing in at the studio. It takes time. You have to ask yourself:  are you doing this because you love music OR do you want to make a career of it?"

She has a point:  despite the fact she's been developing a lot of steam as an artist, she still maintains a fulltime job as an Xerox consultant. Meaning:  Klairkia is, again, one driven woman. 

"I'm paying homage; I'm paying my dues," she explained at Union Square where we talked. Then, with a look of somewhat nervous satisfaction, she said "I'm in a good place."

Her record (NOT AN ALBUM!), she says, is "enough me, enough mainstream that I'm comfortable with it. I'm excited, nervous and scared for it." 

KlairKia has an interesting metaphor for the way her record came about. "To me, music is like making babies. "First we fornicate, then that leads to making a baby, the record. And then you have to show it to the world!"

That baby is about to enter the world and expectations are running high. Who's Bad will be pure Klairkia:  "sassy and independent." 

"It's about female empowerment. It's about having confidence. It's got a pop feel but a hip-hop flavor...I can see it being welcomed at the urban clubs, as well as just the straight-out dance clubs." A crossover appeal? Certainly. Check it out here

And you know what? She wrote all of this record. From one writer to another- that's quite the achievement!

The record is set to have an "old school feel." Think of the names KlairKia adheres to:  Curtis Mayfield, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin. Music she was raised on, courtesy of her parents.

"My mom wasn't against mainstream music, but she didn't think I should be influenced by it when I was really young. So I had to wait until I was 14." It's a decision that hasn't hurt her by a long-shot.

"There's a touch of soul in my sound, but I'm also a young girl," she added on this, meaning don't expect to be hearing something lacking the punch or sexuality of today's pop/dance music scene. I even felt like I heard a little bit of the almighty Gaga in "Who's Bad."

The biggest inspiration for KlairKia, in terms of other musicians, would be Janet Jackson

"A lot of people are like 'oh she's not a singer.' But I disagree! She encompasses a lot of melody," KlairKia defended her choice. "If you listen to her songs, you'll hear her hit a lot of tracks others can't. I see myself in the same vein as her, as a singer and dancer."

Moving back onto her present plans, KlairKia comes alive when on the stage. "I love being on stage. I love it. We're doing a few shows in New York and then, hopefully as the buzz grows, we'll expand." 

The buzz just seems bound to grow bigger. This girl has it.

She's a poet, too (what doesn't she do!). "I draw my inspiration from everything...I draw from my own life. I'm an advocate of love. And I'm the most optimistic pessimist you'll ever meet!" 

KlairKia can sound upbeat, but then she can take a turn for the more letting-it-go-raw soulful vibe. Think Mary J. Blige. But on this record? It's all about cutting it loose. 

"I want people to know I can be as bad as man if I want to be," she notes, hinting at the title as well. 

One thing I found really fascinating about KlairKia is her very interactive relationship with her fans. She has set out to be "totally accessible" to them via the ever-growing social media world.

"My fanbase is the underdog," she said, of the people she plans to reach out to. "I give access to anything and everything."

In essence: what you see is clearly what you get. There's no guard, no fake made-up persona here. 

Part of that is her own web reality show she has been crafting, which will give her fans a view into a day of her life. "I want to be a personable person," and that is one way to do it. 

"I want people to see the struggle to get her," KlairKia further illuminated. Her dream? Someday that people, say if they have a question about the content of one her songs, can simply get to the social media platform they are most comfortable with and boom! answered. 

Also, KlairKia is very open to anyone who wants to get where she is today about the work they will have to put in. It's a lot.

"It's like any other must understand, it's an industry. And like you would if you were a doctor or an accountant, you have to go to school to learn how to do it, with all the passion you have. The problem is there is no real school for our business, you must educate yourself."

With that all being said and done, KlairKia left me with some parting words that I believe take her message straight to the heart.

"What you see is what you get with KlairKia," she told me before we parted ways. From where I stand, observing the incredible amount of painfully detailed work she's put into Who's Bad, her social media availability or really just her humble nature, I don't think that is an understatement at all.

Who's Bad will be available Sept. 16. Click on any of these links (also scattered through the article) to get a better understanding of this performer:


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