21 year old Kaci Battaglia has been performing since the age of 6, became a pop star at 13 and then turned away from music for a period of time. She is back now with a hit single "Crazy Possessive," and I had the opportunity to talk with her about her career and her music.
Bill: If you were to describe your music for someone who had not heard anything by you, how would you describe your music?
Kaci: It's empowering. It's music that makes you want to get up and dance, something you can feel passionate about. I love to get people excited and energized.
Bill: You've been performing since around age 10 or 11?
Kaci: I've been on stage since I was about 6. I've been signed since I was 12 to records. You know your question about direction. I pride myself on being honest about how I feel about things...I do use writing as a release for me..it's kind of a...it's my diary you know...For me it's kind of revealing at times, but I think it's for the best because it makes it relatable for people. That's what's most important.(returns back to the previous question)
...I was signed by the time I was 12, started negotiating when I was 11, had my first top 10 hit when I was 13. I had a couple more of those, and I had the opportunity to travel all over Europe and Asia and basically lived over there...I had some amazing amazing experiences. Then I came home and the album was basically done, wrapped up, and I realized basically I didn't know exactly who I was as an artist. I was in this awkward stage of development as an adolescent. I wasn't really sure who I was...There were a lot of things going on in my family and in my life. I needed time to myself to figure it out.
At about 16 years old...I went out to Los Angeles. Just in case there was opportunity I wanted to be in an environment where I could take action. I learned how to write there...I used to write poetry, and all of a sudden my management at the time saw my poetry, and they were like, "Wow, you can really write." I sang them a couple melodies, and they were like, "Wow, you're really great at melodies. I bet we should meet with some publishers." So we met with publishers, and they had me working with their writers which was very cool.
...I had a great time doing that and then I actually turned and said, "You know what, this is great, but enough of this." And I went home and started taking my education more seriously. I was 18 years old and went to Cambridge and studied abroad there. I had a fantastic time. I was gonna go straight to law school and work like 9 to 5 and have a good life. I was excited because it's not as chaotic, it's more...there's more stability basically to it. That can be really valuable.
At the same time I just noticed that I wasn't satisfied. And I kept talking about all the things that I missed, all the places and experiences I had when I was 13 or 14 or 15 and so on. So eventually I just broke down in my car driving and started crying. I was thinking, "I can't face this anymore. This is it. I have to go back to music." And then and there I basically just married it. And from that point then everything just sort of fell into place. As soon as I said for better for worse, for richer for poorer...everything has been falling into place ever since.
Bill: Your label is Curb Records and we usually expect to hear country music. How does that match with your music?
Kaci: You know, it's funny. From what I've heard, Mike Curb really loves pop music and wanted to venture in this direction for many many years. He did Donny and Marie back when the label started and just kind of fell into country and had a great time doing that but has always wanted a pop act. So he signed me wanting me to go into pop. It's funny, I used to sing country when I signed with Curb Records as a pop artist. A little irony, but I'm very grateful, because now I'm in a good position. I'm at a record label where I'm basically the only major pop act...I'm working with Reprise and Warner Brothers for distribution and promotion. So it's really a good set up, and I feel blessed.
Bill: Are there particular artists you would list as your key inspirations?
Kaci: You know, it's funny how sometimes you get an awareness that you didn't have before. I never really realized how much I'm influenced by Michael Jackson and all he's done, the people that worked with him and the music they made...I'm just coming to realize how amazing he was and the chances that he took. How I feel so inspired by him. In the past its always been Judy Garland who I grew up really inspired by. I love how she did whatever she wanted and she was a beautiful person. Outside of that I would really like to develop something interesting...something new, innovative and fresh.
Bill: Is there anything I didn't ask that you would like to add?
Kaci: You know what I would love to say? I would love for people to know that I'm really strong in empowerment...for people and for women and for young girls in particular. The song "Crazy Possessive," as much as people might think it's about being crazy possessive...it's actually about realizing that you have to set boundaries and how to really stand up for yourself. That's the thing that I think a lot of young girls need to learn how to do whether it's to a man, for themselves, or to a friend, whatever it is. Stand up for yourself in a proper way.