KALEN
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KALEN

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States
Rock Trip-hop

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Music

Press


Kalen is an indie soul singer from New York City. She has an excellent singing range, she displays deep lyrical content, and she's simply an excellent musician. The impressive ability of Kalen is that her emotion is shown directly from the tone of her voice. She is truly unique. - Connor Murphy of The Celebrity Cafe


A singer, musician and a superb songwriter as well, the ascension of a promising career is certainly in sight. Contrary to the title, the Sun shines brightly upon this talented performer. - Reg Dancy of Catch A Groove


Even as so many singers today seem to be reluctant to give themselves over to the lyric, more concerned with histrionics than connecting on an emotional level, Kalen’s new EP cuts a different path. Her vocals soar and swoon in perfect sync with songs delving into every complexity of life and love. Falling from the Sun is brooding, yet oddly beautiful. - Nick DeRiso of Something Else Reviews


Kalen has soul and a voice ready to cause an epidemic of addiction. Her upcoming release, Falling From The Sun, is a groove-laden, blues-filled, electro-rock experiement that would make Peter Gabriel and Portishead proud.This album is a lot more than catchy licks and groovin’ rock riffs. Through each track, you feel like you could be falling from the sun. This is a dark soundtrack that leaves you feeling a strange sense of hope. - Joshua Smotherman of Middle Tennessee Music


With her soulful, dark voice, Kalen knows how to keep the audience entranced and wanting more. - Helen Sumner of Indiemunity


The latest cut from Kalen Lister
is "Rabid Girl".
From my point of view it is the perfect piece for her multi-faceted
skills.
The tune is a "blow the top off" number which I think crosses to all
contemporary genre. A strong back beat, almost a Latin Jazz sound, then Kalen paints us a picture of what those of us who have lived in Manhattan have all seen before with her brilliant lyrics...
"Delancey liquor store, refuse to serve her more...cops are on the way, she's a regular they say" all this, throw in a funky riff, and some blues just for color and a Big Apple story and you have a great tune by a singer who can smoothly slide from one to the other...that's "Rabid Girl".
Kalen tells me it will be released as a single and a video soon.
- Streetcred Music Critique


“Vocally, Kalen is a bit of a chameleon, smoothly going from a sexy croon to urban sass, dishing out sultry come-ons and smartass one-liners with equal aplomb. She has an excellent range and handles ballads as well as she does roof-raising tracks.” - Bruce Rusk, Daily Vault


“Kalen is fantastic! She owns the stage, gets the crowd rocking and has unparalleled energy.” - Scott Kaufman, New York Pudding


'"Baby Boy" is my favorite indie track of 2010!" - Evan Ginzberg, Legends Radio


“Kalen is a very promising singer and songwriter who brings in influences in her writing and music ranging from Pablo Naruda to Eric Satie.” - Ishrat Ansari, Owner and booker of West Village Landmark, Café Vivaldi.


“Kalen has "otherworldly" vocal prowess. She has the rock energy of Janis Joplin, the soul diva gospel chops of Alicia Keys, the ethereal expression of Kate Bush. And can rap like nobody’s business. On top of that, she plays super funky experimental rock lead keyboard; think Bernie Worrel (from Parliament/Funkadelic) meets Square Pusher, meets Imogean Heap. Kalen performs with the level of intensity that has not been seen in a fucking long time!!!” - Gary Poulson, Zawinul Syndicate


"Kalen performs her jazzy/funky songs with vivacity and grace, singing her catchy compositions with soul from behind her polished keys" - Dan Dipillido of Jezebel Music


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Singer-songwriter Kalen’s six-song debut EP, Falling From The Sun, is rock noir and trip-hop. The bruised beauty of her lyrics, her dark and shimmering compositions, the haunting expressiveness of her singing, and her dynamically cinematic producing skills imbue the music with a visual layer of intrigue. It is a moody blend of blues, trip-hop and rock with bits of dub step and world beat that’s artfully accessible. “Having been in a funk band for so long, I love a purposeful groove. I love writing licks and rock riffs and incorporating those into more ballad-y and introspective music,” Kalen explains.

The New York-based singer first gained notoriety fronting the avant-funk band Ladybug Stingray, a band that combined performance art with abstract dance grooves. With that band she performed from coast to coast, from NYC’s Webster Hall, to Brooklyn’s The Knitting Factory, to LA’s Whiskey A-Go-Go. She also headlined The Wassaic Project’s summer festival twice. As a solo artist, she’s channeled the adventurousness, theatrics, and dynamics of Ladybug Stingray into a distinct personal aesthetic that’s groove based but also ambient and boldly emotional.

Kalen is fan-funding her solo bow via a Kickstarter campaign. Her solo work has been favorably compared to Grace Jones, Peter Gabriel, and Portishead. Reviews of her solo career have been impressive. Streetcred Music Critique enthused: “Kalen paints us a picture with her brilliant lyrics. She is a talented young artist who can wail the blues like a veteran.” Ishrat Ansari, owner and booker of West Village landmark, Café Vivaldi, insightfully remarked: “Kalen is a very promising singer-songwriter who brings in influences in her writing and music ranging from Pablo Naruda to Eric Satie.” Daily Vault enthused “She has an excellent range and handles ballads as well as she does roof-raising tracks.” Fusion-jazz luminary, and Zawinul Syndicate member, Gary Poulson recently said: “Kalen has ‘otherworldly’ vocal prowess. She has the rock energy of Janis Joplin, the soul diva gospel chops of Alicia Keys, the ethereal expression of Kate Bush, and she can rap like nobody’s business.”

Kalen writes conceptual but digestible songs about love, life, politics and the absurd. “The whole EP, Falling From The Sun—the image of crumbling things—is not negative, things need to fall apart before being rebuilt,” Kalen says thoughtfully. “The EP is about personal things and a commentary on the world. It’s involution and evolution.”

The atmospheric and harrowing “Rabid Girl” is stunningly theatrical. Here Kalen elongates her voice from brawny low tones to silky highs, and her vibrato is delicately controlled but deeply affecting as an emotional exclamation point. Kalen’s phrasing manages to be sassy but also sorrowful. The track details a young and beautiful drunken girl unraveling in New York City. Kalen’s writing is visceral, blunt, and artful with arresting lines such as: “Awake beaten tomorrow/To relive/And re-die/Beaten tomorrow” and “Her hangovers must come like war/Helicopters slicing their way to the jungle floor/But never to carry her to safety.”

“I was on Delancey Street and there was this gorgeous wasted rabid girl. It was terrible. She had to be restrained from running into the street. I went home and wrote the lyrics. The whole thing made me feel nauseous; that song is a piece about how raw reality can be…it took me bearing witness to this girl, that I was able to recognize a younger self in her,” Kalen explains. She is currently working on a powerful video treatment for the song where women confess their rabid stories. “To empower, you need to start with honesty and build off that foundation,” she says.

Falling From The Sun also features highlights like the sensual and spiritually open “It Takes A Lifetime” and the smoldering bluesy “Hit The Road.” Though each track inhabits its own unique emotionally cathartic world, there is a longing and danceable undertow that makes the EP cohesive. On a larger scale, this strong sense of self bespeaks Kalen’s cultivated artistic presentation. Her music is stark with splashes of raw vulnerability, it’s sublime, cerebral, and manages to be both disturbing and comforting at the same time. Her onstage fashion is just as dramatic. She cuts a striking image with power piece jewelry, torn clothing, chunky boots, and cherry red lipstick. “It’s a gypsy, flamenco look, like Billie Holiday but modernized with rock n’ roll,” Kalen explains. “I love the ripped clothes, the chains, and the flowers and femininity. I love bringing them together, marrying the gentleness with the edginess. These things make women special, we can be romantic and bold”

Kalen grew up in New Hampshire and started studying piano at 7. “It was a great experience, I loved my piano teacher, he saw in me a desire to improvise. I wrote my first song when I was 11, it was called the ‘Storm’ in D minor, the saddest of all keys,” Kalen says laughing, “My piano