After several years in the musician closet, singer/songwriter/bedroom producer Krista is finally putting together her debut album SWIM. Since Krista loves writing about herself almost as much as she loves writing music, we asked her to document her process while simultaneously trying to stay afloat as a 21-year-old alone in the concrete jungle. This is the first in a series.
November 13, 2016 10:40 AM Sunday
Time left: Exactly Two Months (Really trying for a January 13th release! End of Feb at the latest!)
If anything’s certain in this world, it’s that nothing ever goes as planned. Just a few weeks ago I was in between jobs with nothing but time on my hands. That’s how I was able to get started on this whole album thing. But, times have changed. I started a new job (doing some coordinating at a vocal school where the founder’s claim to fame is teaching Diddy to sing), a really nice songwriter boy named Vinny sent me a bunch of beats (from producers I actually KNOW and LIKE) to write to for other artists and I’m hoping to get those to him by tomorrow, internet people have started asking me to write and record stuff for them (even offering to PAY wow), and Satan himself has been elected President of The United States (very hard to focus on anything but this rn).
So the strict, color-coded recording schedule I laid out a few weeks ago that involved me investing 24 hours a day solely in this album is no longer. I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it happen. But I have to!! This shit is so important to me!!
Just made the executive decision to CUT a song. Sad day. Not really. Just thinking about how much of a bitch it would’ve been to make this song listenable under such time constraints makes me nauseous. I feel as though a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. But no more now! FINAL LINEUP:
- Ready Or No
- Kaleidocope (no “s” cause I’m fucking DIY)
- Chasing Heroes
- Cover Your Eyes
November 14, 2016 11:28 AM Monday
I’m supposed to be working at least six days a week, but I got yesterday and today off. Thank god. Some producer on Instagram slid in the DMs saying I needed to call him because it’s urgent.
It was not. He told me how he wants to make me a star. He means well, I think, like some of these ignorant manhandlers do, but he just doesn’t understand the implications. All these men want to dress you up like their little doll and tell you which direction to go and what to do with your fragile little girl self. I ain’t about that. I told him I’m recording all day and can’t talk long. He asked where I record as I stared blankly at the 150 dollar condenser mic I’ve had for 4 years, now balancing on two fake candles, and the keyboard held together by electrical tape in my bedroom. I told him I record where I live. He said, “Oh, so you have a nice setup going?” I said “yes.”
I messaged a mix engineer I found on Tinder with an exceptionally douchey profile. He ~super liked~ me. He’s worked with some cool people and says everyone calls him Mike Dean “in the stu.” I asked him if they say that because he’s white, smokes too much weed, or actually has the skills. He said “all of the above.” He wants to “link” tomorrow. I am very skeptical about “linking,” for I am not trying to fuck or be fucked/raped.
He said he’s reverse engineered Travis Scott, my bae’s, vocals and knows the secret to his production. Is it worth the risk? I wonder if male musicians ever have to forego potentially lucrative opportunities for fear of being drugged or dehumanized or sexually assaulted or “all of the above.”
The first and last time I went to link up with a Tinder producer, he ended up forcing himself on me outside an LES bar and then unfollowing me on both SoundCloud and Snapchat after I didn’t respond to his “I had a great time last night let’s do this again” text.
Another very legitimate producer I only virtually “linked” with even managed to make me feel assaulted with repeated 5 am text messages about putting me in my place. I tell myself it’s my fault for networking on a hookup app, but the nice A&R lady at Island Records who knows latter creepy Tinder producer says I cannot blame myself. I think she is right.
I’m cramming like a crazy person to get these songs done for songwriter boy Vinny who is actually not creepy. I worked really hard these past two weeks on melody, my favorite part, but I’m not used to taking time with lyrics and I’ve left them all til last minute. Not a good idea. I’m about to be pullin’ some corny ass lines.
November 25, 2016 11:43 PM Friday
Okay finally got some time to write in this thing. Feeling very refreshed and ready to reflect as I have just a had a good cry to the latest Yung Lean release “Hennessy & Sailor Moon.” I worked since the last time I wrote with no days off and haven’t been able to do much but brainstorm ways to escape my reality. I was, however, able to help my girl KJ do some interviews at a show on Tuesday. She’s my journalist friend. When we were both at COMPLEX she accompanied me to an upscale orgy for a piece I was writing. I used to write for The Source and now she does. She was going to interview a few rappers. She told me before leaving, “One got a 15-year-old girl pregnant. Just don’t think about it.”
Other than interviewing statutory rapists, it’s just been lots of work and lots of randoms hitting me up:
- Trevor Tinder douche hit me up again even after I told him I’m gay (I know this is not the answer to protecting yourself against sexual assault and I owe my sincerest apologies to every member of the gay community, but it just makes me feel a little safer). He actually seems genuinely nice upon further conversation though. Has read receipts and everything. Good guy I think!
- A producer who seems to have good intentions despite heinous punctuation says he works with Knobody, a producer I definitely know. Had to transcribe (ugh) an interview about his work on Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt at SPIN. Apparently he and Knobody would like to do some original tracks with me and “develop” me as an artist. Again, I get the intention here and maybe some people are looking to be “developed,” but that just ain’t me. We’re trying to find time to talk about it.
- Random producer hit me up on Linkedin who seems to be decent. He said some very nice things when I sent demos over: “I’m thoroughly impressed with your talents, ambition, drive, sound, it’s unique, and great…I’d love to work with you” and followed it up with an “add me on Instagram,” which is in fact only videos of him vaping. He sent me a song to work on.
- A Swedish production duo also messaged me on Linkedin and I assumed they were talented because they’re Swedish. They sent me one beat and a Rich Homie Quan remix. Not good.
- An engineer I found on Tinder two months ago tagged me in his Black Friday Insta post on mixing deals. I am not sure when people say they’d like to help me in any way that they can, as he did before, if they mean help from the kindness of their heart or “help” if I pay them, which I am not in the business of doing at the moment.
- A girl who lives in my building really wants to shoot a video for my song “High.” Very nice! We’re trying to find a time to meet.
- I hit up nice songwriter boy Vinny to tell him I’ve been running behind on the songs, even though he told me to take my time. He asked if I’d be back in MA for Thanksgiving and I told him I was staying in NY because of family political drama (Fam all voted Trump. They think I am a destructive and “shameful” liberal). He encouraged me to stay focused. What a nice young man! Really like him.
I had a dream that I killed Nickelback’s guitarist who actually looked a lot like Marilyn Manson’s guitarist. My dad was yelling at me the whole time. At some point an older man came to talk to me about my album tracklist. I asked about having ten songs and he said, “No, no, no, you don’t need that.” I forget what else he said, but then I asked about seven. He said “ehhh” and kept telling me eight is the perfect number. So eight is what I will be sticking with! Follow your dreams, kids. Not your parents.
November 26, 2016 8:04 PM Saturday
I did things today kinda. Touched up production on most of the album and I’ve got six demos ready to be sent to Vinny (still rough but decent enough). Just have to fix a few lyrics tonight for the remaining three and record the rest tomorrow. HOPING I’ll be able to send them by tomorrow or Monday night. He said he just got some more beats that he’ll send my way when I’m finished. Can’t wait to hear. Nothing better than writing music!! Thinking ahead to the future, I think I want to keep working with him, get a little EP out pretty quickly after this album, and then really focus on getting all of the music I’ve written and produced for other artists OUT. Once I get everything out that I feel is worthy, I’ll be able to breathe and maybe think about the next album. That will be fun.
I think I’ve given up on getting my shit premiered. I’ve hit up every pub I care about multiple times from every platform (LinkedIn, SoundCloud DMs, Submission Emails, etc). No one has even pressed play once. I just don’t think that’s where I need to be putting my energy right now. Press is all good and cool but it’s not necessary for my immediate goal, which is to put out something I really fuck with. If I get this shit out in a reasonable amount of time and can say I’m proud of it, I don’t care if anyone else even hears it. And that’s the damn truth!
A boy named Isaiah emailed me. Apparently he had asked to collab before and I said yes? I don’t remember. Probably Tinder. LOL. Well, he was checking in to see if I could still sing the hook on his next song. I said sure. He said he’ll come to me exclusively for any writing that needs to be done for his second project. Cool.
November 27, 2016 8:58 PM Sunday
Last night was truly magical! Worked a lot on my song “Kaleidocope” and totally changed it. Changed up the chord progression and added to the production. I’m really fucking with it now. I think it is important to share one of my most significant findings throughout this whole musical/artistic journey/life: if you make the shittiest part of ur shit the best part of ur shit ur ultimately making ur shit 1000000x better. It’s not that earth-shattering of a concept, but it’s one of those things I find so crazy– how differently I look at a project when I’ve taken the worst track and made it my favorite. This has happened twice in the last few days. An old phone memo started playing on my computer for a song called “Run and Hide” that I totally forgot existed, and it’s actually pretty cool! I inadvertently borrowed parts of the melody from this song for “Ready Or No,” but never really liked the production on the newer track. So bam, I pulled up this two-year-old project for “Run and Hide” and ended up using this old ass beat for the new song! It’s a little faster and a little higher and sounds a lot better. Even had to change the title. It’s just “Ready” now… I think.
Got through most of the remaining demos, just gotta record two more choruses tomorrow and I’ll be GOOD. Phew that will be a big relief. Listened to some Sia demos to compare and I actually think I’m putting too much pressure on myself. Hmm.
Nov 29,2016 10:52 AM Tuesday
Got everything over to Vinny at 3:30 am!!!!! Even ended up adding a few extras! 12 songs! Feels so good to have that off my plate for a bit. Everything is pretty swell these days, except for the fact that I’m not talking to anyone in my family and currently have a year’s worth of work to do in one month.
I was browsing Instagram and saw Trevor Tinder boi faved a photo of Collin’s (Black Friday Instagram Mixer) and I texted him asking if they knew each other. He said, “Lol nah but he came up in my feed. His page is dope.” Haha. Small world…
Well, anyway, enough of the Tinder bois. It’s onward and upward for me. Feeling very productive. Going to seize the day now! See ya next time <3
Krista writes and makes music.