“I don’t know how anyone could not like music,” says KALI, the 16-year-old singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer whose debut EP Circles is coming soon. A few years ago, KALI began writing and recording glistering, catchy indie-rock songs in the bedroom of her family home, a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, until she received a noise complaint and moved to a small lockout studio. “Landlords don’t like rent-controlled tenants,” she says, regretfully.
Wise beyond her years, KALI was inspired by the turbulence of her first on-and-off relationship — Circles is a vulnerable portrayal of teenage emotion in all its complexity and lesson-bearing potential. “It was so foreign, these feelings of compassion and infatuation, not knowing if you’re doing the right thing and wanting things to be better,” KALI says about the tone of her EP. She draws from her daily life acutely in her music, referencing things her friends would say in lyrics, sampling phone conversations as she does on the EP’s buoyant opening track “Back to the Start,” and experimenting with distortion and repetition to emulate the circular essence of releasing and regaining feelings for someone you know isn’t right for you.