Can you introduce yourselves?
Olivia (Liv)(L): My name is Live and I’m one half of Kaleidoscopes. Originally I’m from Hammond Indiana and I’ve been in Austin, Texas for the last four years.
Keira (K): My name is Keira Nova, I’m the other half of Kaleidoscopes. I’m from Inglewood California and same, I’ve been out here in Austin for the last four years.
How did you guys meet?
K: We met at school, at Austin Community College in the Music, Business, Performance Technology program. Olivia was doing Audio 1 with a friend of mine that I shared a class with and he told me that I should really meet this girl becuase she’s really talented. She was looking for a singer at the time so he brought us together. Next thing you know, I invited her over so we could do the song that she needed done and I don’t know, it was like kinetic energy. We just bet off of each other and did the song. After that I told her “Hey I have more songs and more ideas, do you want to jump on them?” and next thing you know we had like 15 songs. That’s how it took off.
Have you both always been creative? What did you want to be when you were little?
L: It definitely always changed for me, but when I was about 15 my mom got me a guitar and that was one of the hobbies that I always stuck with. I started just writing music with friends and bands in high school. Around 2011 was when I actually started to record my own music and ever since then it’s what I want to do.
K: For me it started around 8. I got really big into writing and just listening to songs, vinyl, and my favorite records and just writing down my favorite lyrics and going from there. That was just something that gravitated to me, and from there I decided to get on stage and perform. But this is just something I’ve always wanted to do and being on stage is just where I want to be.
What is it you love most about it?
L: It’s an outlet. I’m not much of a talker, so it’s one way for me to just let go of things that I’m going through or feeling. I’ve learned through putting out the music that it’s a way for people to better understand me. I think that’s something that really just pulls me back in.
K: For me, it’s bringing people together. Music has always been a healer for me, so when I express it and I share it I feel like I’m connecting with the audience and there’s somebody out there that can relate. I’m just really big on bringing people together. Seeing that this person works well in a certain avenue and I work well in another and I guess making dreams come true. I know it sounds kind of cliché but it’s what’s inspiring me to stay in music. I’m healing from it and I’m also wanting to give back to the community and to other people who have dreams.
Can you introduce me to Kaleidoscopes? How did it start?
K: I remember when we were working through our songs and making things, I just saw so much in Olivia. There’s no other lyricist female artist like her, she has an ability to tell a story and describe it and you’re right there and you can share that moment with her. It’s not about being a superficial idea of what they want or the industry wants in someone, she has no fear and I love that about her. I’m just drawn to that, and I have the same thing inside of me when I sing vocally. So when coming together we could hit so many different demographics based on what she did and what I did. Then our nationality was a big thing that I found was an anchor for us, we’re both biracial, we’re both Hispanic, and also of African-American culture. It just resonated with me, we have a market of people out there that would appreciate what we’re doing, and we’re doing it together. So I just asked her if she’d be down to put an EP together and I don’t know, what did you feel about it?
L: We were already creating a bunch of music and having writing sessions and then she had a show and we performed one of the songs. The feedback from the crowd was amazing, everybody thought we were a group before we were actually a group. We just sat with a few of the songs, put it together, and before we knew it we had a body of work that really embodied a list of emotions. We really just kept taking it show by show after that. We definitely went into the EP just wanting to put together this project for people to listen to, and then just through every show and every session after that it just kept getting stronger and stronger.
Where is the name from?
K: From the song right?
L: Yeah there’s a song, the last one on the EP “Say to You”. We were already trying to come up with one thing to call us or the project and she had already written that verse for the song. We kind of sat on that, on Kaleidoscope or Kaleidoscopes, and then we just said it so much that it made sense.
K: A kaleidoscope is when you look in one thing and you see a multiple, beautiful, mirage of colors. An expression. And that’s what I feel like her and I are.
How would you guys describe your music?
L: When people ask me, I say it’s just a mix of R&B and Hip Hop. But beyond that, and I know it sounds cliché, it’s just emotions. There are definitely some songs on there that make you think, some songs that make you feel good, but overall we’re really talking in our music. I guess to sum it all up, feel-good but conscious at the same time. One thing that really intrigues me are human emotions and the things that we deal with and have to get through, so it’s definitely feel-good music but still relatable.
K: I agree, I feel like it’s a feeling but also a perspective. When her and I engage in our music, we’re coming from a relative emotion but giving you two different perspectives. It’s very dimensional I guess you could say, and it allows you to feel and also think. It is conscious. I can feel both of these sides, and Kaleidoscopes itself literally means two visions colliding together. So our music does that, it pulls emotion and perspective.
What’s your creative process? How do you come together to make a song?
L: That’s a little of the same thing, we both have different perspectives. Most of the songs we make, even today, are us with ideas and presenting them to each other. Sometimes we’ll start songs right on the spot, but we spend so much time creating, not just for Kaleidoscopes but for ourselves and for others, that there’s just always ideas to be presented. And emotions, sometimes we’re not always feeling happy or we’re not always feeling sad. It’s just one big writing process.
K: I think one thing that we both always hold true to ourselves is that we like things to be easy and flowing. So when it comes to our creative process, if it’s something we put out there and we either like it or it doesn’t work, we just move on to the next thing. We’re very into fluidity and letting things flow organically. A lot of times one of us will have this idea, or Live will pull up a beat and I like to freestyle and I’ll say something, start a melody, a phrase, an emotion that we’ll evoke and I just speak it. Liv’s just such a boss that she’ll go in there and put a whole story together with this one idea that I had. We finish off each other really well, it’s like ping pong. So we just share and share ideas, we’re open with each other.
What’s your favorite part of your music journey?
L: I would say the journey in itself. When I first started just putting out music with the intention of people listening, never once did I see myself in a group. My favorite part is being open to every obstacle, whether good or bad, that comes my way and being willing to take it head on. So just the journey in itself. It’s pushed me to go back to school, it’s pushed me to move away from my hometown, it’s pushed me to be in a group and start something new and just really continue to test my boundaries.
K: That’s dope. I love that and I see that in her, I’ve seen her grow so much and just grow out of her shell. I love the whole process that we’ve been through. For me the journey, being on stage, it’s just my thing. I love it, I turn into another person. I’m just there to share the energy and make people feel like they’re escaping from whatever they’re enduring. So that’s my journey, it’s sharing my joy of what I do.
What have you guys done that you’re most proud of?
K: Before everything happened with COVID we were on a mission, and we still are, to be able to make a platform for ourselves to perform, but also bring our friends that we support locally and bring them on stage. Give them bread in their pocket, put a little bread in our pocket, and get these shows going. I believe that we were extremely successful in doing that when we did our Kaleico fest at the Flamingo Cantina, and we did another one in Chicago. We basically set out to be unstoppable in whatever it is that we believe in, so I just feel like taking the moment to put on our own show was a great accomplishment. And then of course being in Austin Chronicles Top 100 2019 EP Releases! We were not expecting that and it was so amazing. We were in Vegas and we got the message and wow, it’s so dope! We did so much in a year that I’m just happy for all of it. But those were really great accomplishments. We set out a goal to be on stage and bring people on stage and we did it.
L: For me I definitely say the Chicago show. To come down south and start something completely from scratch and go back home and be able to sell out a venue that I’ve seen people that I admire in was very cool and very fulfilling.
What’s it like being a female group and a minority group? Have you encountered any challenges in the music industry?
L: Thankfully I will say not yet as a group. I think if anything, people turn heads more. They don’t know what to expect when we get on the stage. And then we start and then people from old couples to people that were there to see a rock band go ‘yeah yeah’ and it’s cool. Knock on wood, everything’s been super cool and supportive thus far. I think the worst thing is people not expecting if it’s going to be good, but then once they experience it it’s fine. So far everything’s been good, I will say that.
K: I agree. But that kind of brings me back to the point I was making earlier, individually I have. I’ve experienced that. Individually as an artist, being a woman, a minority, and different standards that you have to live up to. But that’s why when I met Liv I saw the potential of giving a powerful message and doing it together to make a bigger statement. It’s going to pull people to look versus if you’re just alone. Especially for me as a woman, in this whole ‘dolled up’ world of what you’re supposed to be as a female artist, it’s very hard and challenging and it kind of stifles me a little bit. But being in this group just freed me and I’ve only experienced wonderful and opening things for Kaleidoscopes. It’s been a good experience.
Who or what inspires you?
L: I’ve always had music lovers around me, but not until I was a teenager did I realize that music could be used to express your current feeling, not just what you wanted in the future. Growing up my dad played a lot of bachata in the house and it didn’t really resonate with me, but I always loved it. On Sundays and Wednesdays he would blast it starting at like 6 am. Then my brother would always play Red Hot Chili Peppers. As I got older and I got into middle school, people started putting me on music that was more alternative that would speak more to my age and where I was at the time. So I kind of just mixed my love for rhythm and all the songs that I liked with words, but just from my own point of view. I guess just always having music around me inspired me. I’m just now getting into oldies, I’d say over the past three years am I picking up on all the classics.
K: What inspires me is honestly the joy that people get from hearing what we’re doing. I guess people’s reaction or satisfaction from what is being delivered is what keeps me going. I have a really big connection with people and being on stage and feeling that kinetic energy. The more I feed off of that or the more I get from my audience then the more inspired I get to keep going. The accomplishments along the way help a lot, but overall just being on stage inspires me.
Do you have a favorite artist or band?
K: Fuck yeah, Fleetwood Mac. And Prince. I listen to a lot of shit, I listen to everything on the planet, but hands down Stevie Nicks and Prince. Missy Elliot. Top 3.
L: For me it’s all over. Favorite artist I feel like I should say someone old school but one of my favorite artists is Mac Miller. I definitely love old music and I always feel like I should say an older artist but he’s just one of my favorite artists.
K: He’s old in spirit though.
L: Yeah. He’s just somebody that I came across when there was a lot of party music out there. So he had a lot of feel good music, like swag surf time music. And he was just somebody that was really tapping into how unhappy he was with the state of the world and I agreed with it. So I can always put him on, but also I like a lot of Chicago artists like Twista or Do Or Die.
K: I love that about us. Again, we just have different perspectives. The fact that I listen to so much old stuff and she introduced me to so many new things that I didn’t know about. The combination of us two with our musical history and passion just makes it dope. We learn from each other; I learn a lot from her.
Does being Hispanic influence your music at all?
K: I’m proud! I’m super proud. It does and I definitely want to involve more of that into my music. I know just in my nature that rhythmically there are certain things that I just move to. There are certain sounds that I love that are in Hispanic music, like horns. Things that just make me want to bring that into my sound. So it definitely does influence my music. I think because I listen to so much and I’m biracial, but I feel like Afro-Cuban music is a big harness for a lot of things in Hip Hop and EDM and Dance and everything that we’re vibing to.
L: I would say that I need to tap into it more. I’ve been away from home for about 4 years and, like I said, my dad listens to pretty much nothing but bachata and a lot of Hispanic music. Since being away I realized how many songs I actually know without knowing them. It’s crazy. But my dad would also play certain songs that, if I did take the time out to tap into, I’d actually probably be a lot more inspired than I would assume to be. It’s definitely something that I want to take more time to just dig into.
K: The guitar thing for you is definitely that vibe. She’s got a whole Santana vibe.
What is your dream collaboration?
K: Mine passed away, but Missy Elliot. Hands down. Or Prince.
L: I feel like I should think about this more because it always changes. There are just so many people that have inspired me through different times. If I had to pick somebody right now…I don’t know! Maybe, and it’s going to sound super random, but maybe John Mayer.
K: That’s what I’m saying, she has a whole other side to her.
L: I’m a sucker for guitar and there’s something about his song writing. He’s just very inspiring to me.
What’re your goals for the future? K: Texas tour! I want us to be on stage, I want it to be Kaleico Entertainment, I want the entertainment company to be thriving, and I want to bring other artists into our belt. I know there are things we can do individually, for Keira and Kaleidoscopes and for Liv Free, but cohesively my biggest thing is this Texas tour. And I know it’ll go up from there. The entertainment company, Kaleico Entertainment, that’s just where my heart is. I want to be able to give back and make dreams come true.
L: I feel like I’m getting closer every day to a state of peace and it’s helping me just create more in-depth music, and for me I’ve never been able to make a move without the music. So just to keep on working hard and creating from a sense of peace, everything from the music to my actual life. I’ve already put in the work, but nothing comes without the music. Just keep on creating and keep on moving towards a state of peace.
K: We’ve also found other avenues besides being behind a microphone that we’re appreciating in music. Olivia has been really getting behind making beats and going live on Twitch and just being active and all of these great things. I’m really heavily on vocal production and wanting to reach out into doing commercials and TV and film. So there’s layers to our appreciation and love for it.
Do you own your own label?
K: Kaleico Entertainment is our own entertainment company that we established. Olivia is making beats and producing and our manager Nick is making beats as well. We’re taking that and pumping out our own stuff. We’re doing our own video production, photography, music videos, all our own stuff. I’m a pretty big creative person so sometimes I’ll throw ideas and we just do it. I’d just like to get to a point where we can bring in other artists and bring other acts and help them out.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other up and coming musicians?
L: There’s a lot of things that are working, there’s a lot of gimmicks, but at the end of the day if it’s not you then you’re going to burn out. So just keep it authentic. Even if you think what you’re saying isn’t worth hearing, that’s never the case. Just keep on honing in on your skills and keep it as authentic as you can.
K: I agree with that completely. And no idea is too small. Dream big and dream out loud.
L: Oh, and networking! Definitely have your foundation and your core of who’s on your side, but don’t be afraid to network. That’s the only way this all spreads. We live in a day and age that you don’t have to wait for a bigger person to come to see you. It’s about building your own community and connecting with other communities out there.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
L: Follow us on Instagram!
K: We do have a couple of songs we’re working on; we’re going to get back into the studio. We have a record from a friend of ours that works with Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, he produced a cool song for us that we’re going to be putting out. And another record coming out that Nick produced. We’re coming, we’re still doing shit and we’re excited to share and keep branching off to different avenues!