In today’s blog post of my interview series, I’ll be interviewing the Danish pop artist Ea Kaya or with her real name Christine Kiberg. She is an incredibly talented singer and songwriter. You might hear her name for the first time but in her home country Denmark and in Scandinavia she is an emerging pop star. Ea Kaya started her music career in November 2017 with her debut single Remedy, an upbeat electro-pop track, in which she sings about a toxic relationship. After releasing a couple more singles, her debut EP – Fragile But Strong As Hell came out in January 2019. Ea kept releasing new music since then. She even got nominated in five categories at the Gaffa Prisen 2020.
Ea Kaya is definitely not a stranger to YouTube, far before getting signed for a record deal, she used to upload cover songs on her YouTube channel in the early 2010s. I checked out some of her covers and I must say that I would have signed her immediately if I had a record label. Today she’s sharing her professionally shot music videos with her fans from all around the world on the same platform.
I discovered Ea in January 2019, with the release of her single 4 AM. I love this song so much, literally from the intro to the outro. No wonder it’s her most-streamed song on Spotify with over 10 million streams. All in all, I love her raw vocals, story-telling lyrics and her dynamic song productions. Therefore, I’m glad to have the chance to ask her some interesting questions about herself, her quarantine lifestyle and new music. So let’s start!
Dear Ea welcome on erenblogs – Today’s Pop Music. I’m so happy to have this interview with you. Thank you so much for joining the interview series on my blog.
1. First, let’s get to know you better as a person and musician. How would you describe yourself in five and your music in three words?
Regarding my music, I’ll say frank, daring and fresh. If I have to describe myself with five words, I’ll go with determined, stubborn, passionate, curious and impatient.
2. I also need to know. So your real name Christine Kiberg, which sounds beautiful to me. Why did you take Ea Kaya as your artist name? I mean, I love both names but is there a meaning behind Ea Kaya you would like to share?
Thank you! Well, back when I decided to switch to Ea Kaya, I didn’t quite agree with you. 😉 I wanted a name that sounded great in English as well, and my actual name is Christine Agnete Kiberg-Gormsen. If you want to challenge yourself today, try and make THAT sound melodic in English. Ea Kaya is the result of a search for a stage name through many years. I kept writing down names, words, terms, etc. – whatever I liked the sound and look of – into a note on my phone and cleared it up as time went by. Around 2016 I had Ea and Kaya left on the list and I told myself that if music didn’t work out, I’d name my daughters Ea and Kaya. Shortly after, I was offered a record deal with the label I wanted to work with.
3. What kind of music did you grow up with and which artists inspired you as a teenager?
I’m a pop girl to the bone. I’ve always listened to pop music and I don’t care what anyone else says: nothing beats a good pop song. Growing up my biggest influences were definitely Taylor Swift, JoJo and Kelly Clarkson. I also had a long phase where I was obsessed with Stacie Orrico’s music.
4. Please name the first album you bought with your own money and the first concert you went on!
The first album I bought with my own money was actually The One-T OCD by One-T! I loved their single The Magic Key so much that I had to get the full album. The first concert I went to was Kelly Clarkson in 2008. I threw a teddy bear with a nice, little note towards the stage and accidentally hit her in the face. That wasn’t popular.
5. How would you end the sentence: In school I was ……?
Haha, I was definitely a weird kid in school. When my classmates started partying, I was still sitting at home in front of my video camera, playing shitty guitar covers for YouTube. I’ve just never, ever fit in as a stereotypical ‘cool kid’.
6. I’d say 2020 has been a horrible crazy year for the entire world due to the pandemic. How did you spent/are spending your quarantine days?
I think we can all agree on that! I went for a whole lot of walks and runs – mainly by a lake close to my apartment. I watched all of the Harry Potter movies for the 129th time. I also sowed myself a couple of new tops and made some bracelets. Can’t deny I baked a TON as well – not sourdough bread, though, unlike 99% of the population apparently.
7. What did you miss/ do miss the most during the quarantine?
Oh boy, I missed going to the studio. The first couple of weeks were honestly quite relaxing for me, I admit. I’m the type of person that feels guilty when taking a day off because I feel like I should’ve been productive. During the quarantine, I actually wasn’t even allowed to go to the studio, rehearse with my band, etc. Therefore I finally let myself relax. After two weeks I got bored, though. REALLY bored. Writing songs is my favorite aspect of being an artist and the studio is definitely the place I missed the most during the quarantine.
8. What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself while being isolated from the outside world?
During the quarantine, many of us had all the time in the world to learn, improve and create something we’ve thought about doing forever. For years, I’ve convinced myself that I wanted to become a female producer. The quarantine taught me that I like the thought of it, but I actually don’t feel passionate about doing it. I prefer sitting on my scrappy guitar, writing the songs, and from now on, I’m just going to accept that.
9. I wonder if there was a person, who made your quarantine days better? If yes, please tell us why!
I live with my amazing boyfriend and oh wow, I feel lucky to have had such a great person around me during the quarantine. I can’t imagine how lonely it must’ve been to be living alone during the quarantine – or to be trapped with a roomie that you don’t like.
10. Ten years ago you were uploading cover videos on YouTube as a teenager. I’m fascinated by the courage and confidence you had at this age. I also checked out your old channel and I love your covers. Now to my question. Would you have believed if someone told you how far you would come almost a decade later, today? Also, what was your motivation behind the channel?
Thank you! I’ve always had a very determined mindset, and I guess I just accepted early on that I had to take chances to get opportunities. To be honest, I don’t think I’d be surprised to hear that I’ve gotten this far. Not necessarily based on a skill level but based on the amount of drive I have. I’ve been so set on the same goal since I was 13 years old, so maybe I might even have been surprised I haven’t gotten further. I still have a bazillion things on my bucket list and I’m not at all satisfied.
11. Last year you have released your debut EP Fragile But Strong As Hell. How has your life changed since then? Did you pick the title yourself?
The lead single from that EP 4 AM no doubt made some career cementing waves for me. Igot my first radio top 10 in Denmark with 4 AM and the same song surpassed 10 millionstreams alone on Spotify. The EP release also opened the doors to the world of festivals forme. I had my first festival season, including a gig at Denmark’s biggest festival, Roskilde Festival. The title of the EP Fragile But Strong as Hell is the first line of the 2nd verse on theEP’s song Don’t Complicate It. All of the EP’s songs are about being young, confused andin love. I found Fragile But Strong as Hell very appropriate for that feeling.
12. How do you start writing a song? Any certain order for the lyrics, melodies, and production?
When I begin writing a song, I most often have an idea of what I’d like to write about. Actually, I’ll very likely have a note of the size of a novel ready on my phone with lyric ideas. It does happen though, that I randomly get a great melody idea first, and then I figure out what I’d like the song to tell afterward. Production ALWAYS comes last, when I know the song is strong enough to work on an instrument.
13. Who are your dream collaborations? It can be any singer, songwriter, or producer.
This may sound strange, but I don’t think about people when I think about making music. The songs are my passion and my main focus, and I don’t care who I write them with or who produces them, as long as they sound the way I hear them in my head. I could say that I’d love to work with Jack Antonoff – which would be cool – but fancy names and long resumés don’t guarantee that we create a song that I like.
14. Let’s talk about your single Kitchen Table, released this year in March. In this enchanting love song, you’re asking your boyfriend to sit at the kitchen table and to think out loud. Or in other words, you want to plan a future with him, am I right? I love the acoustic guitar in the production and your appealing vocals. How was the writing process? What inspired you to write this song?
Actually, I’m telling him that he can sit ME down by the kitchen table if he’s ready to let me in on what he’s thinking. 😉 Kitchen Table was written last autumn, around a time where my boyfriend and I had some heavy talks about our future together. In many ways, my boyfriend is very mature for his age, and for a while, he’s been dreaming of the simple life in the countryside with a house and a couple of kids. At 24, you normally don’t have your life figured out yet, and when my boyfriend asked me about my dreams, hoping they reflected his in some way, he realized they had nothing to do with his visions. I just wanted to be a popstar and all I focused on was achieving my career goals. Overall, you could say that my boyfriend’s goals were unusually settled for a person our age, and mine were abnormally unspecified and egocentric. This resulted in both of us feeling extremely frustrated. Kitchen Table is a song where you ask yourself if you and your partner are right for each other. If you can truly make him/her happy in the long run the way that they deserve. I’d never cried in a session before, but whew, let’s just say I was dehydrated after writing Kitchen Table!
Now It’s time for this or that:
Pizza or Sushi? Pizza any day! I’m not a sushi fan.
Waffles or Donuts? Waffles!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee addict right here! I actually have an espresso machine at home.
Spotify or Netflix? Spotify!
80s Disco Pop or EDM? lol, I hate EDM, definitely 80s Disco Pop.
Piano or Guitar? Guitar!
Taylor Swift or Dua Lipa? Taylor Swift!!! My homegirl.
Troye Sivan or Harry Styles? Troye Sivan
Stadium tour or an acoustic session with few fans?
Stadium tour or an acoustic session with few fans? Acoustic session with a few fans, definitely.
15. I’ve seen on your Instagram that you already had many live performances and some acoustic sessions. How does it feel for you to go out on a stage and perform your own songs? Also, do you have any rituals before you go on stage?
I think live performances can be extremely fun. A good live show where the audience and the artist/band are in symbiosis – that’s the craziest energy rush! A pre-show ritual of mine is doing karaoke/a dance party to my favorite 90’s or 00’s jams. That way I warm up both my voice and my limbs!
16. I know it’s a bad year but let’s focus on the positive things. What was your highlight of 2020 so far? Every little reason to celebrate counts, right? (can be a personal achievement, regarding your music career, any news that made you happy)
The highlight of 2020 for me is definitely how insightful I’ve become regarding my music career. Early on in my artist career, I just wanted to become as big a name as possible, as quickly as possible. At the same time, I was surrounded by people that were immensely performance and statistics focused. The result of that combination was that my perception of music became increasingly cynical. This year I decided to wink farewell to the people that weren’t benefiting my creativity or my mental health, and I decided to let music return to being a passion, not just a job. This is a huge personal achievement for me.
17. One question you want to ask me?
Alright, here’s a very important one for you: starter, main course, or dessert?
I assume that I can only pick one. Therefore, I have to go with the main course since I can’t get enough food.
Thank you, Ea Kaya, so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you the best for your musical career and I’m looking forward to your next releases.
Thank you! This was a fun one 🙂
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