Kaya Stewart is a rising force within the pop rock community, who despite being only 15 years of age is gathering sizable audiences and delivering performances at major events such as this year’s Vans Warped Festival. Having received a mentorship from Annie Lennox of The Eurythmics, her roots are vintage and yet she is paving a new path in the modern EDM scene.
Music Enthusiast was able to catch up with Kaya Stewart to discuss the warm success of her breakthrough EP ‘In Love with a Boy’ and the demands of heading out as part of the Vans Warped Tour.
Music Enthusiast: The ‘In Love With A Boy’ EP just came out in July. How much came from you?
Kaya Stewart: I think that EP is kind of like my everything. I think growing up when I was in school I wrote that whole album between the ages of twelve to fourteen. So that was a really difficult time for me when I was at school like I really felt like I didn’t fit in. I was so different. I mean not like I had a crazy Mohawk and looked like this crazy punk rocker. But I think I wrote that EP around that time and now that I’m older I look back on it still and means so much to me, because it’s kind of that piece of that time that the songs, when you listen to them, it’s not a ton of crazy metaphors and abbreviations and crazy things like that. I mean it really just me being a teenager and speaking straight from a teenager. So I think cool for people to listen to cause it was the most honest thing.
You are a relatively new artist, what tough challenges have you experienced so far?
The Warped Tour is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Not because of the shows or the fans or the regiment. That’s all the great things and like getting to meet all these people and getting to know all these bands, that’s the fun part. I think the most difficult part is it’s physically challenging. Getting up super early in the morning, meeting the press, then going to do the show. There is just so many things in one day. But at the same time I feel like I’m so fortunate because there is one percent of people in the world who get to do something like this. So, I can never say that it’s too difficult because I am very lucky.
What bands have influenced you most?
Growing up I listened to a lot of old soul and a lot of old rock music. So I was definitely influenced by Stevie Wonder and Etta James, but I also loved Led Zeppelin and The Black Crowes. And I think those are huge influences on me. But, even so the Eurythmics they were a huge influence on me as well because my music sounds very similar to them.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
That is always a funny questions because I never know. I always wanted to finish high school even though I’m on the road I am still doing school and I feel like it is really important that I do finish it and get a GED. I think five years from now I definitely want to keep doing music and no matter where that takes me I’m playing for 10 people or 10,000 people I think it is something I love to do.
What’s next after Warped Tour for you?
Next it’s always up in the air. There is always so many things going and so much I’m doing. After the tour I’m going to take about a week break, at least. Then we have the album coming out. The debut was a teaser to the full album and after that it is going to be crazy.
What can a crowd expect from your live show?
I was always a huge rock music fan and so I think there is nothing more exciting than going to a live rock show. I always want to incorporate that into my sets. Even though I am teen pop music, you are going to see a rock show when you come to one of my shows. Because it is just like jumping around, talking to the crowd, and getting them to sing along. It’s a lot of fun.