Exclusive Interview with Musician Cailee Rae

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Cailee Rae might be a name you see popping up on your Top 100 charts very, very soon. This uniquely talented youngster has done something many a famous artist did when younger: broke out on YouTube. Yet there’s something different about Ms. Rae. She’s young but her vocal range is rather out-of-this-world, from her smashing the high notes to the confident low drawl she easily segues into. Active on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, Cailee’s quite the social media connoisseur—not surprising given her age (though I’m a disaster…) and has mastered it perfectly. It not only gives us real insight into Cailee’s fun and genuine personality, but behind-the-scenes photos for her fans—affectionately dubbed CaiBaes—and honestly giddy tweets such as her excitement at being verified on Twitter.

The music world is gasping for a talented and genuine songstress like Cailee Rae. With 2016 set to be a fantastic year for her, Cailee dreams of going on her own tour and getting her music out there in the big wide world. Her YouTube channel and Instagram consists mainly of beautiful covers, but her fun and uplifting original song ‘Running Back To You’ should surely show, among her eclectic range of covers, her true talent.

For Cailee, her goal is simply: “I just want to spread love and messages through my music, and fill stadiums with people and with love.  Music is something that brings people together and helps them.  It’s the only language that everyone understands.”

2016 is in need of some more Cailee Rae, I think. Here I interviewed Cailee and asked a few questions to delve further into her interests, inspirations, and aspirations.

Hi Cailee! I think it may be safe to say that you are everyone’s up-and-rising pop crush of the year. How has this first four months been for you? A whirlwind, perhaps? 

Awe, that so sweet! LOL. It’s all pretty surreal. I’m so lucky to be where I am and being able to live my dream. I’m grateful every single day.  I hope to grow as a person and artist. I can’t wait to share my journey with everyone, especially my amazing CaiBaes.

 You cite inspirations such as Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Kelly Clarkson, & Shawn Mendes. Would you say your musical influences affect you deeply, or as you grow into your own style, that mold is more flexible? 

I think all of them have influenced me and taught me a lot. But, I think it’s so important for me to develop my own style. I always take things that inspire me and put them through my own little belt of creativity.

You’re so young now—you could be a very different artist ten years from now—is that something that crosses your mind? 

Change is inevitable. I know I will grow a lot through the years, and to me that’s exciting. You can only get smarter and improve. I think evolving and constantly changing is something that people should embrace. I like to keep people on their toes.

 On your YouTube channel, it said in the description of your Jaymes Young cover that it was your first one you recorded and filmed by yourself —yet you exuded confidence and passion like you did in all your others! How was that experience, recording and videoing a full cover like that for an audience to hear? 

Thank you so much! That cover was so much fun to record, I’m absolutely in love with that song. It was the first cover I did without my band, just on my home on garage band, so I was kind of nervous. It took a second to figure out how to work everything but a few tutorials later I got the hang of it haha.  I was so happy with how it came out. It’s mostly how I do my covers now!

It does move me onto your impromptu piano cover Instagram snippets too. I think I fell in love a bit with your rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’. What are those posts like—are they just off-the cuff, random hits of inspiration? 

(Laughs) thank you! I mean it really depends on the song. I try to break the songs down and interpret what they mean to me. I always try my best to connect with the songs even if it’s only 15 seconds. What you feel as you sing will be what the listener feels too. I won’t ever sing a song I don’t personally feel. I work really hard on even the little stuff. I’m a perfectionist!

But moving onto your original songs—because they are fantastic—I have to say I love them. Your song ‘Beautiful Lights’ is probably the most crazy-grin inducing three minutes and twenty-three seconds. How is that song-writing process for you? 

You are so sweet, thank you! I mean it depends. My music partner in crime Dayyon and we write my songs together. For that song, we were talking about how important it is to be your own person and how everyone is beautiful and special in their own way. The second we had the idea, the rest just flowed out. Dayyon is a genius. He has taught me so much about songwriting.

Do topic/subjects/melodies/lyrics come naturally to you, or do you have to sit down sometimes and just get into the zone? 

I never force myself to write about something I don’t believe. I call that a filter. It blocks your emotions and blocks what you are really feeling. Writing is so nice because you can get in touch with a side of you that’s deep. It’s actually really therapeutic. So I always write down stuff that’s going through my head.

And hopefully, the world will get to hear them on a big tour-stage. If I had to ask you what one big venue you’d love to play at, which one would it be and why? 

Madison Square Garden would be a dream come true. It’s legendary. It has always been a dream of mine to sell it out. Hopefully someday…

Perhaps on the other end of a scale—say you played a more intimate gig, at a smaller venue—what would I expect and hope to get out from a Cailee Rae gig? 

I would hope people would walk out feeling happy and in touch with themselves. It’s all about having a good time and feeling good about yourself.

I ask of the intimate gigs because you do seem so interactive with your fans on social media. How do you manage that balance? 

They do so much for me. Not only do they support me and give me love, but they help me so much. They make me so happy and remind me of why I do what I do. I just want to change people’s lives and help others. I don’t even have to figure out how to manage it because I always just make sure I make time for interacting with all of them. They make time for me, and I will GLADLY make time for them. I love them so much.

You’re really quite the master of all the big platforms…Do you ever fear it’s invading your privacy, almost? Or are you quite careful with what you share, and such? 

I’m very open about everything in my life. I don’t have anything to hide, and I feel it’s important for them to know ME. Not “camera me” or “me in interviews.” I don’t want 8 personalities, I want them to see the real deal. It’s important for me to be as real as possible. I really just love being myself.

Because you’re such a busy individual and I presume always writing songs or posting impromptu covers or interacting with fans—how would you describe your perfect, laid-back Sunday afternoon? 

Honestly, I’m probably watching makeup tutorials playing with makeup, shopping or eating haha. I love baking too, it’s super fun to bake something sweet and dance to music with a spoon microphone.

And while this is happening so soon—are you hoping for an album release this year, or maybe the next? 

This year for sure. I’m releasing a single in May and an EP shortly after. I’m so excited for everyone to hear what I have been working on. It’s really special to me.

I have to note here—this isn’t even a question—but I kind of love your dog. 

(Laughs) you are so cute. Abby is my furry bestie. She follows me everywhere. Even when I play the piano she is always at my feet. She even hangs in the studio!

I'm not kidding. If this isn't the cutest thing you've seen, I dare you to send me cuter. I dare you.

I’m not kidding. If this isn’t the cutest thing you’ve seen, I dare you to send me cuter. I dare you.

 

As a musician, I presume all musicians are music fans too—have you ever been to any festivals? Any favorites? 

Okay, I’m going, to be honest. I normally go to concerts and enjoy them and watch the artist perform and take in the talent. But, it’s never too much of a screaming “omg omg omg” type thing. Except I BAWLED at the Sam Smith concert. He is just everything. My favorite concert I have been to was probably the Twenty One Pilots concert. What a fun duo. So talented and so unique. Much respect!

And what’s your favorite song to jam to at the moment? 

Close, Nick Jonas and Tove Lo. I’m not sure if you have seen the video but it’s AMAZING. I love powerful lyrics and video concepts and that song is just that.

Finally—to wrap things up: our website’s called Talk Nerdy With Us (if that doesn’t indicate we’re a bunch of nerds)—so what’s the nerdiest thing about yourself you could share with us? 

I’m kinda obsessed with animal stuff.  I have a huge obsession with sloths and have a sloth onesie, 5 sloth stuff animals, a sloth phone case and cried when I saw one in real life. I have a panda beanie and sweater. I have a polar bear sweatshirt and I use tiger ears as my headband. I also have bunny ears. LOWKEY OBSESSED.

 

(Lowkey—sure…) Once more, thank you to Cailee for answering these questions and thank you for being humble and a true star I can root for in the future. Consider me a CaiBae…am I a bit late to the game?

Cailee’s Instagram, Facebook, Vine, YouTube channel, SoundCloud, and Twitter are linked (hey, I wasn’t kidding about Cailee being social-media savvy…and it’s brilliant), and thanks for reading! I myself am contactable via Twitter @NicolaChoi – until the next time, CaiBaes, I shall come Running Back To You!

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