INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Krista D is one of three musical aliases of Canadian singer-songwriter and visual artist Krista Acheson.
With this moniker, she specialises in a catchy, melodic combination of punk, ska and doo-wop, as well as deep, meaningful lyrics that are centred on women’s issues, inspired by the women she has shared her life experiences with.
Having released her debut album, ‘Jane’s World’, back in 2006, Krista returned from a decade-long break two years ago, and last November, she brought out, digitally, an EP, entitled ‘Look at me…I’m Krista D’.
Krista gave me a detailed insight into how she works, as well as talking about the latest release’s reaction, when we spoke recently.
How did your project start?
My father discovered I had a skill for songwriting at around 13, encouraged me to keep writing, and then I began recording in the studio at about 15. I’ve been recording on and off ever since.
From where did the name Krista D come about?
Because I was young, and not super imaginative, it was just based on my maiden name, Krista Doucet. When I began recording, I was writing material for the Christian music market, but when I got older, I left that lifestyle.
I kept the name and visually re-branded myself to allude to the character Sandra Dee from the 70’s film Grease. Sandy went through a bit of a lifestyle transition in the film, so I decided to give a nod to that.
The EP title, the project logo, and the tune I play on the accordion at the end of ‘You & Me’, are all meant to reference the movie.
How would you describe your sound?
Well, it’s perky- but the lyrics are kind of sad if you listen to then. With my music, I try to mix genre elements in a way that it will control mood, for example, I feel that by mixing punk rock elements with 50’s style three-part harmonies, it can make the mood of a song feel sarcastic, or I feel incorporating a ska strumming pattern makes a song feel happy. I think keeping the musical tone light makes lyrics about abuse or rape less jarring to the listener.
What are your main musical influences?
For this project, I draw a lot of elements from a radio programme I listened to when I was young, which played mostly 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s music. It was called ‘Finklemans 45’s’.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
In a word – lazy. I only write when a song kind of presents itself to me, which is in contrast to some hard-working writers I know that will have 30 great songs to choose from when it comes to recording an album.
When a melody with lyrics pops into my head out of nowhere, and persists and repeats in my mind like an earworm, then I’ll write out the lyrics, and work out its melody on the keyboard. I have to really feel compelled to write a song, because it’s an expensive and time-consuming process to hire people to record it.
What inspires you lyrically?
The songs are always based on stories that have been shared with me or my own life experiences, basically, anything that has impacted me on an emotional level.
You’re about to physically release a new EP, ‘Look at me…I’m Krista D’, which has been out digitally since last November. How has the reaction been to it up to now?
Digital sales have been nearly non-existent, but it’s done pretty well in regards to streaming. On Pandora internet radio, my single ‘Land Mine’ was streamed over 719,000 times in a month, which is mind-blowing!
Financially, had each person streaming just bought the track for a dollar, or even 10 cents, that could have completely changed my life, so it gives me hope that maybe, someday, streaming will lead to sales.
Regardless, the response was definitely encouraging. It’s been a major highlight for me.
How is the experience, for yourself, playing live?
Currently, I don’t play with a band. I was unable to find a consistent line-up to play with, so I’ve decided to perform karaoke-style, with mannequins as my band. It’s a bit of a performance piece on how difficult it’s been finding musicians since moving to Edmonton.
What are your plans once the EP has come out?
Well, I was planning on doing my physical EP release on March 15, but was recently informed that the EP won’t make it to me in time, so my new plan is to plan a new release.
Other than that, I’m working on material for two other EPs, for two other band projects, in addition to creating artwork for a solo show.
What is the long-term aim for this project?
I’m working on a follow-up single for this project, but aside from that, I’m working on choreographing swing dance and theatrical elements to go along with my tracks.
I think this is partially because it’s been such a challenge to find live musicians, and I need something more compelling than just myself. Also, where I’m very active as a visual artist, it feels natural to incorporate more visuals into my performance.
‘LOOK AT ME…I’M KRISTA D’, THE LATEST EP FROM KRISTA D, RELEASED THROUGH LOOSE LAMB RECORDS, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, BANDCAMP, AND HER OFFICIAL WEBSITE www.kristadmusic.com
CHECK OUT KRISTA D’S FACEBOOK PAGE www.facebook.com/theoriginalkristad FOR FURTHER INFO.