Hi Readers! Welcome to our second instalment of the 'Feetured!' blog series, where we get to know more about the brilliant creatives and artists working in the North West of England.
We aim to build a safe and engaging networking space that will allow creatives across different art forms to find one another and spotlight the incredible talent right here in the North West!
The blogs will allow our 'Feetured' guests the chance to talk in more detail about their work or ongoing projects, and we hope our readers will not only keep up with the series but support these fantastic artists going forward!
Hi there, thanks for coming along and reading my blog post! I’m Kala Boti and it’s a privilege to have my artistry recognised by the Three Left Feet team, in such a meaningful way. In this blog space, I’ll talk about my experiences in producing an EP project, in the hope that it may inspire anyone who also finds themselves with the urge to share their creative outlets.
I’ll discuss my creative process by providing you with an insight into the way I write my songs, and what inspires them. I will then bring you along on a tour of my bedroom studio, and the equipment that you would need to record and produce a song, as well as the logistics that come with it. This will be followed by the challenges that I faced when converting my song ideas into actual productions, and I’ll conclude by informing you of the advice I’d give my younger self (1 year ago) about music-making.
Let me start off by saying that songwriting isn't for everyone. To be honest, it’s one of those things that can be difficult, especially, if you're not used to the pain that comes with self-rejection. Just like any other creative outlet, it can be quite hard to find sources of inspiration. As ironic as it may sound, my first project was inspired by the lockdown. Finding myself in the first lockdown meant that I had more time to be alone with my own thoughts (didn’t we all?) and what I realised, was that I couldn't make any more excuses about something that I’d been wanting to do for a long time. I decided that I wanted to produce an EP, by putting all of the songs that I’d written before into a single project. I was going to create something that I'd be proud of. I think the lockdown was something that inspired a lot of creatives to produce more things and I think that is the best way to start writing.
So, that’s my secret… the biggest source of inspiration for me is, unfortunately, finding myself in adversity (what a cliché). Now let me emphasise that this is not the only way to get inspiration, if you're inspired by something else by all means use that! Channelling whatever gives you energy, is the key to writing something good, I read somewhere. For me, however, I write best when I'm meant to be doing something else. It is safe to say that I am a procrastinator. Funnily enough, even writing this blog post inspired numerous song ideas, it's like when my mind is the most occupied or rather when it's meant to be occupied with something important, a little voice in the back of my mind decides to think of a new project.
I'd love to be able to tell you that the reason why I wrote the EP was because of a profound situation or a beautiful story of love and passion but unfortunately that was not the case. I write this because I want to make it very clear that anyone should feel like they can create, even when it is without a purpose. The world as we know it now, is so obsessed with writing and creating art, with the purpose of going viral, and don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of the many benefits that come with virality but it's got to be said that your art and your creativity shouldn't be bound by limits that are so fragile. If you want to create something that you think might not be that popular but you have that urge within you telling you to create it, I believe that it’s something that needs to be created. Even if it’s just for yourself to hear.
I'll talk a little bit more about the struggles that come with creating whatever comes to your mind later, but when it comes to songwriting specifically I can imagine that most writers can relate to the fact that we are often our own harshest critic. In my lifetime it's safe to assume that I've probably written over 100 different songs, and of them, I've probably only ever really loved 5. I guess my point is that it's OK to be critical of what you write because that's how you get better but the biggest advice that I'd give and the largest thing that I learned from producing an EP is that it's OK for you to release something that you feel still needs work. There's a song that I love by an artist called Gabe Bondoc, and in it he sings ‘you don’t scrap a whole song cause of one line’, as a songwriter this is one of the most relatable quotes I've ever heard. If there is one thing you take away from this blog post, it is that I hope that whatever you want to do creatively or ambitiously, please just do it. Even if the wild stream of thought in you thinks that it will be the end of the world. As I said if the urge is there, do it, you 100% should.
Now you may be wondering ‘okay cool, yeah I do want to put out some music, and yeah I can write a song but that doesn't mean I can put it on Spotify or in streaming services’… guess what? you're actually completely wrong.
There are only three maybe four things, that you need to produce an EP ready for release. The first thing is the right equipment, the second thing you need is your idea, and the last thing you need is motivation. I can hear your headgears working already, especially if you're in the same position that I was in, ‘but Kala… I don’t have a studio, so how can I produce??’. To that, I say if you have a device that you're reading this on, you have access to music production software already, and better yet, with that, you can definitely produce a song.
My ‘studio’, (see exhibit A; for pro equipment) now consists of five parts my instruments my audio interface my laptop my mic and my speakers. When I created the Kala Boti EP, however, it only consisted of a laptop, a very cheap and crappy mic and a second-hand keyboard. Even though this came with its own challenges, as I mentioned the urge to produce something was just too strong. Regardless of where you are currently, in your journey to creating and producing your own music, my advice to you would be, not to be afraid of the adversity you might face. Get creative where you must, use your closet or your wardrobe as a recording booth, use your laptop or your phone as a mic, and use whatever you have. An interesting quote that I got from one of my friends after having a deep discussion about music creation, was that you never quite know who you inspired. The fact that someone might take some time out of their day to listen to you and what you created, is something that often we don't appreciate enough.
The biggest challenge that comes with producing a full EP and releasing it to the world is most likely the STEEEEEEP learning curve, that comes with music production. If you, like me, didn't do music in school you most likely were never exposed to the wonders of Logic or Ableton (music production software). As I mentioned songwriting was something that wasn't too hard for me and neither was arranging, because I played a few instruments. The biggest challenge that you might find, and that I definitely faced was learning how to produce. The interesting benefit of having to learn it all from scratch is that I picked up a lot of these skills for free from YouTube, there are so many channels and videos that can educate you on how to create a professional or semi-professional sounding song from scratch even if you have minimal knowledge.
The only catch is that the 2nd biggest challenge is probably even more frustrating. It’s patience. The most important thing to remember is that it's okay to not be amazing at something if you're new to it. Allowing for imperfection and being patient with myself was something that I struggled with a lot throughout the creation of the first EP. As was mentioned previously, as artists we can often find ourselves being our own harshest critics, and this rings true for me too. Out of the songs I ended up choosing for the EP, I still only really love two or three songs. Patience with my journey and growth as an artist has meant that I'm still happy that I created all of them.
I'd like to close off this blog post but letting you know what my advice would be to my younger self.
The biggest thing I'd tell myself (despite the many challenges that I should have expected because wow), is that there is so much that you gain from doing something that you’ve been ‘um-ing and ah-ing’ about. Since putting out my first project, I have met some amazing creatives and artists, and I have learnt so much about myself and the music that I want to create in the process. I’d tell my younger self that it's OK to create something and be proud of it. I don't know where this music thing, is going to take me or how long it's going to last, but what I do know is that there's a lot to be proud of, and I hope that after reading this blog post by a random small unknown artist called Kala Boti, you feel inspired to go and create whatever your heart is telling you to create too, and I truly hope that you allow yourself to be proud of it.
Thanks for reading! If you need any help producing or you want any advice on song creation or a chat about what you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t done - please feel free to contact me on my socials!
On Instagram and Twitter, it's @Kala.boti and on Facebook, you can find me as Kala Boti as well. For any music-related inquiries, just email me at Kae.email@example.com!
If you’d like to support my music, my songs are available on all streaming platforms under the name Kala Boti. There's a lot of new stuff that I'm working on that I'm super excited for you to hear so when you're there remember to click follow and let me know what you think!