In 2022, Voice Mag contributor Sheona Mountford spoke to Calista Kazuko about her musical journey so far. From her music infused upbringing to her debut album, Empress, the article was a snapshot of Calista's career so far. But what's happened since?
In June 2023, Calista released her critically acclaimed debut musical, Fury and Elysium, to rave reviews. The show was made in collaboration with playwright Stephanie Martin and premiered at The Other Palace in June 2023. Her next show, written with Kate Marlais, is in development and due to hit the stage in Autumn 2024.
But in between writing these two shows (and between two babies!), Calista has written, recorded, and released her latest single, Colouring the Lines.
Colouring the Lines is a deeply introspective and emotional song. Calista honours her classical training roots throughout this song and its magnificent production. The song was recorded at the historic Temple Music Studio with Head Engineer, frequent collaborator and co-producer, Ru Lemer. The choice of stripping the song down to acoustic vocals and piano shows a raw and intimate approach, allowing the vulnerability of the lyrics to shine through without losing the finesse and power of the composition. It also features fellow Royal Academy alumni Ana Victoria Marinkova on cello, providing an elevated cinematic feel to the song.
Colouring the Lines’ was written and recorded between the births of Calista’s two children with her second daughter due imminently. Yet it is not only an ode to her expanding family, but also an homage to Calista’s late Father, the esteemed violinist Paul Robertson, leader of the Medici String Quartet, who passed away in 2016. In this respect, the embracing of Calista’s classical roots is two-fold: a nod to her classical training, but also her family, who are inextricably linked with classical music.
The theme of the song, described as a love-letter to life, indicates a reflection on the complexities and beauty of existence. The blend of excitement and uncertainty about the future, combined with the bittersweet memories of the past, creates a poignant narrative that many listeners can likely relate to. The emphasis on enjoying the present and embracing the 'now' adds a timeless and universal message to the song.
The mention of a faint and nostalgic familiarity in the track suggests that Calista draws inspiration from the rich tradition of generations of familial love songs, connecting her work to a broader cultural and historical context. This connection can evoke a sense of shared human experiences and emotions across generations.
Overall, "Colouring the Lines" seems to be a multifaceted piece that combines classical influences, personal reflections, and a universal message about the beauty and messiness of life.
Listen to the song here: Colouring the Lines - song and lyrics by Calista Kazuko | Spotify