Interview with Kerli
Interview with Kerli
By Barb Fara
President and CEO
MI: What’s your birth date, baby?
K: Seventh of February.
MI: Tell me who the members of the band are, sweetheart?
K: We are actually restructuring the band because the label and the management had a problem with my guitar player who was a bit of a social climber.
MI: How do you like living in the States versus back in Russia?
K: Well actually coming to America – I had kind of always envisioned that in my head. The power of visualization, right? I got excited about it every day since I was like 11, and I feel like people take that freedom here for granted a lot. I can be who I really want to be here: I feel like a flower, you know, like I had to grow up in a little black box and now I can be as freaky as I want and just be who I want to be. I feel very free here.
MI: Were you in any other bands prior to this one?
K: Well, the band is really hired musicians. I’ve been actually working on this project since I was 14.
MI: How did you get onto your label?
K: Well, this is a really long story actually. It’s just the power of thinking again. I was this little girl, I was 14, and I saw this talent search ad on TV and I went there and I actually won. It was kinda like an Estonia Idol type thing. Then everything went really bad with that deal, like people who signed me got fired and their artists got dropped.
MI: Who influenced your singing style?
K: Well, you know what, because we are open people, everything influences you very deeply. Every thought, everything you see, and everything you hear. So it’s really hard for me to name certain names. The way I discovered my real voice was I went to a forest, and I didn’t want to sound pop, I wanted to sound rock, so I went to a forest and learned to scream. That’s how you discover yourself. I discover myself the most in silence: just sitting in silence with my own thoughts and the universe; that’s what inspires me.
MI: Growing up, who were your musical influences?
K: Well my parents didn’t listen to music at all. It would be like the same answer again. The world, my own experiences…like restrictions even really. Restrictions influenced me a lot, because I was never allowed to be who I was – and that inspired me to be even more who I was.
MI: What do your parents think of your career now?
K: Well I don’t really talk to my father. When I was sixteen I quit going to school because I wanted to make music, and it was very hard for my mother to understand, but now I talked to her a couple of days ago and she told me she was proud of me. It’s not like they understand what I’m doing here, but how could they?
MI: Outside of singing, do you play any instruments?
K: I play piano.
MI: Did you play any piano on the cd?
K: Yeah, I did some keyboards.
MI: Which songs?
K: Like a little bit on every song, I guess. It’s not like someone just came in with my sound and produced my album. Every song we wrote, we produced on the spot, and I was standing there with a whip. I always had a very clear vision of how everything was supposed to sound.
MI: Now, you designed the artwork from what I saw on the video. Are you happy with the artwork and how it came out?
K: I am very proud of the artwork. Well, it’s not only me, its collaborations, it’s the artist, and it’s the people at the label who it took me a very long time to convince. I put together picture files about how I wanted the doll on the cover to look. I knew from the beginning that I wanted it to be animated – and we had to fight hard for this, too, because I don’t think there have been any female artist on this label that don’t have their face on the cover. I just felt that something magical would represent me so much better than some blond girl. I wanted the world to see my soul, I guess.
MI: So who did the video? Who directed it – they did a great job on it.
K: Actually, I know this video was the video I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve always just wanted to create a world outside this world where thing are pure and beautiful and different and spooky and moody. When I first got signed I created a Book of Kerli that had a lot of pictures so I’ve collecting pictures for many years of how my hair was going to look, how my shoes were going to look, how the videos were going to look and so on. And so to every video director’s team, we sent them the book with the imagery and the ideas about it. So they saw the book and they came up with the whole concept. It was this team called Aggressive – they are geniuses.
MI: When are you releasing the next video?
K: I don’t know. I haven’t started shooting it yet, but its going to be amazing. I have it ready in my head already.
MI: I heard when you have nothing else to do, you sit in your room and think up nifty little things to do…What are you thinking about at that time?
K: Well, my favorite thing to do when I have free time really is…well first, I don’t have any free time, really. Feeling and living and thinking is so intense for me that even if I don’t do anything for the whole day, I’m still exhausted at the end of the day. I think in my free time.
MI: What would you warn any young woman getting into the music business?
K: There are many things. First of all, it depends on what level you mean. I would say that wherever your intentions are pure, nothing is going to harm you, because you are not even going to attract the wrong things. But for like an 18 year old girl getting into the music business, I would say there are no friends in the music business. Always stay true to yourself, and be a human first and a business woman next. At the end of the day, everyone is just a person, and everybody has got a heart and everybody has got that little gold hidden in the sand and if you are able to connect with someone on a deeper level its way more valuable than whatever kind of business relationship.
MI: So you’ve done your first tour already?
K: No, I haven’t.
MI: When are you planning on doing it?
K: Probably at the end of summer or this fall.
MI: Are you planning on coming to Atlanta?
K: I AM in Atlanta.
MI: (laughing) Are you planning on coming to Atlanta on tour?
K: Of course!
MI: How do you like Atlanta so far? Did you go to the Coke Factory?
K: I really like it. I haven’t gone to many places yet. I’ve been driving around, but I just arrived this morning.
MI: Do you believe in psychics?
K: Is your name Barb?
MI: Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
K: Yeah, of course, all the time. I hear things, and I feel things very deeply. I was always afraid to see things, but I think I’m going to see things soon, completely. I’ve gotten over my fear of darkness. I’m always working on it.
MI: If you were God for a week, what would you change?
K: I don’t think I would change anything. I think that the world is the way it is for a reason; for us to learn. I think that we really need to hit the rock bottom before we can really get happy. It’s going to be massive.
MI: How do you feel about President Bush and the war overseas?
K: I don’t think I’m the right person to comment on American politicians.
MI: Who do you think is more honest, overseas news or American news?
K: Overseas. But I think that really honestly politics is really corrupted and there’s really nothing we can do about it. It’s on a different level, it’s a materialistic level, but I thing there’s going to be a time where it will be on a spiritual level. It’s time for people to gain power who are awake, and there are a lot of these people out there; it kind of bums me out that people in high positions who are so advanced don’t speak out. They have to get elected rather than just having understanding in their hearts - which is the most powerful weapon.
MI: You were little when the bombing of 9/11 happened, but how did the bombing affect you?
K: I was actually 14, and I remember that it was BIG news in Estonia; we took a break for silence. It affected the whole world.
MI: If you could open for any band in the world, who would it be?
K: Dead or alive? Janis Joplin.
MI: Do you think Myspace and Facebook are helping the music world in any way?
K: Yes. It’s, for me, a very big part of my career. It’s such a fast, direct way to communicate with the fans that to not use it would be absolutely selfish.
MI: What is your favorite quote of all time?
K: I come up with a million of them everyday. Umm…Create Yourself.
MI: What is your favorite song off the new album?
K: Love Is Dead. I’m proud of it as a songwriter. It makes me feel a lot.
MI: I like Bulletproof, tell me about that song.
K: Bulletproof is actually really heavy, too. I wrote it when I was 17 and I used to be really heavily depressed. Your heart will not have enough understanding unless you’ve gone through that. That is just the ultimate way to the top.
MI: If one of your depressed fans writes you through Myspace, do you answer that email?
K: I always, always answered those emails. But now I’m getting like 200 or more a day and I’m working my ass off, so like I can’t. I go through them, I go through my comments. I try to really keep my video blog up to let them know how much I love them, but it’s like I can’t be their personal shrink. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I think it’s kind of selfish of a fan to send a long letter with their problems…I want to help, but I’m just a human, too, and I can’t answer letters like this 200 times a day and keep up with making music. It’s really sad; I wish I could have 72 hours in every day.
MI: How did you end up with Adisena Dowers as your PR, she’s very nice.
K: She’s just working at the label. She’s doing the publicity at the label.
MI: Have you thought of releasing a book of your drawings?
K: I’m going to release a book, and yeah, it’s going to have some drawings in it.
MI: Do you see yourself inspired to ever write a series of children’s stories?
K: Yes, I’m going to write a book. It’s going to be part autobiographical, part fairy tale. I have it all ready in my head. I have EVERYTHING ready.
MI: Your promo shots on your Myspace are incredible, who did them?
K: You know what? The best pictures are actually taken by my good friends. I believe that anybody that’s really made it, you know like all these BIG names, are up there for a reason, but I want to work with people that nobody knows yet. I want to find these gems, I don’t want to follow anyone else’s path – I want to create one.
MI: Where do you see Kerli five years from now?
MI: Do you see yourself bring your family over from home?
MI: Any siblings?
K: I have a baby sister. She’s 18, she’s not a baby anymore, though. My sister is CRAZY, she is so advanced. She did the same thing; she got in a huge depression when she was like 11 and now she’s 18 and got out of it and she called me the other day and told me, “dude, I’m seeing auras and all these things…I’m healing people with my third eye.” She is just out there.
MI: Tell me about your fascination with astrology.
K: When I was little, my mom used to have these two books by Linda Goodman. So I was always reading these and I found it really interesting. Because my parents never really believed in anything, I always found myself looking for something bigger than me. I went to Sunday school alone when I was seven. I used to walk across the street with my eyes closed to see if God was watching over me. Now, the older I get, nothing in this world seems to be there without any reason, like it’s all very carefully put together. I believe that our minds are limitless, and we can always bring things into your life by thinking right or wrong – or not even wrong, but what is right for you at that time.
MI: What would you say the worst job you’ve ever had was?
K: I’ve never had a job.
MI: Tell me about this little army you are building, the Moon Army.
K: The Moon Children. Well at first it just came about because I wanted to create my own street team because I had some really, really devoted fans. Then I thought that instead of such a selfish thing, I decided to create a community of people.
MI: Do you see yourself jumping back and forth between different genres of music?
K: Yeah, absolutely, but my music is always going to be about loving yourself and believing in yourself, because I always thought too, that I felt so deeply that I couldn’t exist in this world.
MI: What do you think your parents will finally feel like when they come over to the US?
K: I think they will be amazed, honestly. I think my mom will kind of like, just scratch her head and be like “How did you do this?”
MI: What would you tell an adolescent kid, say between 11-20, and who is very depressed, to get them out of it?
K: I think it all starts with acceptance that you are a human being and that it’s okay to have these feelings inside yourself. Sometimes when you accept things they disappear. It’s hard work, getting happy and getting in touch with yourself and the universe, its hard work, like a second career. If someone needs a psychiatrist to get started, that’s okay.
MI: Do you believe in the legalization of marijuana?
K: Yes, I do. I believe of legalization of everything. I believe that people should have the power to do whatever they want, and you should not do drugs because you want to take care of your body. Not because you can’t. I would never put any hard drugs in my body because I just respect myself too much and I’ve got so much to do in this world that I know that I couldn’t function if I would be tripping 24/7. And I know I would, because I would probably really like it. People should not do things because can’t, but because they want it that way.
MI: Peer pressure, too, is a very bad thing for kids.
K: Yeah, well that also starts from home. When you are raised in a really loving environment, where you feel worthy and respected, then you don’t need to feel like you belong, because you already DO belong. Everything, even wars or crime, I believe that it all starts from people not paying attention to their kids. If everyone could just dearly, dearly love their kids, the world would be a much better place.
MI: Have you been getting any airplay on MTV?
K: Oh yeah. Actually the very week the video came out, it went on TRL. It was very successful.
MI: If you could have lunch with any three people, living or dead, who would it be?
K: Jesus, Einstein, and Mozart.
MI: What is your favorite movie of all time?
K: Pan’s Labyrinth.
MI: Who’s your favorite author?
K: The people, because I think the best stories ever written are the fairy tales.
MI: If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would play you and what would the theme song be?
K: Ooh, I like that. Well, the theme song to my movie hasn’t been written yet, so I would write that. I don’t know…I would probably play myself. There would be many actresses that would do an excellent job, and I would probably suck way more than they do. But I think I would really get into it, because I know exactly what it was. Maybe some actress from Eastern Europe could do it.
MI: So if you were to get a stretch of time off without having to tour or write or record, say six months or so, what would you do with that time?
K: I don’t think I could ever be without writing; that’s what I do for fun. I write every day. You know what I would really want to do, I would still be writing but I want to go to a retreat. Like a meditation camp. Just live in the middle of nowhere, with nothing. Right now though, my dream is unfolding in front of me and I just can’t.
MI: If you had a million dollars and you could donate it to any charity, what would it be and why?
K: You know what? Everybody tends to donate to charities that are closest to their own problems. Everybody is supporting the poor and hungry. I actually want to start a school for talented, spiritual kids that don’t feel like they belong, where you can learn how to make music, how to make movies, how to paint. And also energy work, there would be meditation classes. It would all be based on higher awareness. If you would get these kids when they were like 5 years old, can you imagine what they would be like by the time they were fifteen? There are few schools like that in Siberia, and these kids are like seven years old and they are fucking geniuses. They are taught to believe in the power of their own mind.
MI: Where can your fans find you online?
MI: Thank you so much for talking with Music Incider, Kerli.