Following the release of her lustrous single, What You Like, Sydney artist, Caylene deep dives into her songwriting process and inspirations.
Caylene, the soul/R&B songstress from Sydney opens up about creating vulnerable and emotive music.
HAPPY: Hey Caylene! Where do you find yourselves today?
CAYLENE: Currently in Sydney where we just hit a 2-week lockdown because of COVID, so I’m hoping everyone is safe and staying indoors!
HAPPY: Massive congrats on the release of What You Like! Tell us a bit about the track.
CAYLENE: The track is definitely an R&B trap song, with the beats and the melodies. It’s about being in the same position with someone you’ve been seeing for a long time and basically having this unhealthy routine of playing games with each other. It’s kind of toying with the idea of connection in a way. The lyrics are actually quite sad but I decided I wanted to create contrast with the beat so people could still vibe to it. I hit up Kuda and said I wanted a trap R&B beat that I could write to, taking inspiration from DaniLeigh’s album, My Present. I had the song originally written with a slower melody, but my good friend Xavier Mendez (Dez Banks) hit me up and said he had a good idea for the song. Got in the studio and laid down the vocals and that’s how What You Like was created.
HAPPY: You’ve described your style as “feeling music” what do you mean by that?
CAYLENE: Most of my songs are songs I guess you could say have a lot of meaning and emotion behind it. Each song that I write, whether it be released or unreleased, have this vibe about it that can get you looking deeper into your own emotions and how you feel, it doesn’t even have to be a sad song. I think it’s because what I talk about in my songs are relatable and I feel like when people listen to my music they can look back at themselves and relate back to a time where they have been through a similar situation. When I write my songs, it honestly feels like I’m writing in my secret diary, laying all my feelings and emotions into a song.
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HAPPY: Sonically, your music is such a gorgeous blend of different artists and genres… who have been your biggest influences recently?
CAYLENE: Thank you so much, it honestly means a lot. It’s crazy because the music I listen to varies so much, from Rap, R&B, EDM house music, Indie, Indie pop, UK DRILL etc. I can’t get enough of all types of different music and I’ve noticed that in today’s music sometimes there’s really no set genre, or it’s a mixed of genres together and I think that’s really cool. When I write and sing songs, my heart is with R&B & Soul, I think its because I feel it the most when I’m vibin’, especially on my own. My biggest influences recently are SZA and Summer Walker, but lately I’ve been getting a lot of influence from Jasmine Sullivan, Monita, H.E.R and Brent Faiyaz.
HAPPY: Is What You Like a glimmer of what’s to come?
CAYLENE: I guess you could say that, I’m definitely going to keep releasing my R&B/soul songs, but I would love to show you all the other songs I have in my vault that are more a bit different to my usual sound, I just love trying new things out and experimenting in order to show everyone that I am capable of different styles. What You Like is definitely different to the other singles I’ve released, from the R&B TRAP beat, to the fact I worked on it with Xavier Mendez and Kuda. It’s definitely a different feel to my other tracks, but is still me.
HAPPY: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
CAYLENE: Probably when people compare other people to other artists, basically saying “oh they’re the new…” or “they are definitely copying so and so”. I feel like we should be able to appreciate everyone’s unique talents, there is no doubt that we all get inspired by other artists but at the end of the day, every artist wants to be seen for who they are! If everyone stays open to the idea that there is a lot of work behind producing this music that tells our own personal story, they will begin to appreciate the art and meaning behind each song.
HAPPY: What would your advice be to artists who want their music to tell a story?
CAYLENE: Just be genuine and true to yourself in your music and don’t hold back. I used to always think that I was exposing to much of myself when I would write my songs, but I came to realise that that’s the beauty of it it. Most of my favourite songs mean a lot to me because of how raw it is and how it makes me feel when I hear someone’s story through their lyrics.
HAPPY: Can we catch you at any live gigs?
CAYLENE: Not at the moment no, especially with what is happening in the world, but if I ever do, make sure to follow my socials as I will post any updates on music and gigs on there!