The LA-Based Singer-Songwriter KRIS ANGELIS Discusses Her Brand New EP ‘Pieces That Were Stolen’ And A Lot More!
Posted On 15 Aug 2018
On “Pieces That Were Stolen,” Kris Angelis fearlessly looks at the the pain of losing what matters most and the bravery it takes to build a new home out of the rubble left behind.
New Single “Stained Glass” Single https://soundcloud.com/krisangelis/stained-glass/s-ll6Tz
The Los Angeles singer-songwriter returns to a more focused folk-pop style on her latest release as she explores the idea letting go of what no longer serves you, and setting yourself free. The artist has built a career on crafting songs that are insightful and authentic, infusing life experience and self reflection into each track she writes. Her music has won awards internationally, including the 13th International Acoustic Music Award for Best Female Artist, LA Music Critics Award for Best Female EP, and she was named a finalist at the 2016 International Songwriting Competition.
For this EP, Anglis worked with producer Billy Lefler and co-wrote with a number of prolific writers, including Rich Jacques (Lisa Loeb), Garrison Starr, and Mallory Trunnel (of duo Crimson Calamity). The EP was over a year in the making, a year in which Angelis experienced some impactful losses and personal explorations. Those themes are rampant throughout each song, making for a truly stunning listening experience.
First single, “Photobooth” looks back on one of those unforgettable little moments that relationships are built on. Witty and reminiscent, the feel-good hand clap chorus and bright melody make for a track filled with lyrical sunshine. It’s a powerful yet light-hearted take on how that first initial spark of a relationship bursts to life, and how easily that spark can flicker out. “The Sparrow,” written by Angelis and Billy Lefler and Grammy Award-winner Rich Jacques (Lisa Loeb), is a harrowingly emotional song about fearlessly flying into the unknown for someone that you love. Angelis captures the magic of giving yourself fully over to another human being, and how that love can transcend what we’re able to face, both emotionally and physically, as we journey through life.
On “Bravest,” Angelis reflects on the strength it takes to leave a toxic situation. Mostly composed of just her vocals and a guitar, the track tenderly aches with unrelenting emotion and sadness. Written over a number of years, it was a track that continued to speak to the songwriter, before it finally found its soft and subtle resting place in this stunning finished product. The final track, “Stained Glass” explores the idea of human beings fusing together their broken parts to create something beautiful. Co-written with Garrison Starr, the melody washes over you like a refreshing breath of air. Airy and quiet, Angelis’s vocals float and glide effortlessly as she reflects on the idea of making art out of pain. It’s the perfect end to an EP that remarks honestly on loss, love, and self-confidence.
Connect With Kris Angelis Here:
Learn more about Kris Angelis in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
Hi! I am sitting on my bed because the bedroom is the coolest room in the house and it’s literally 102 degrees outside. I just got in from driving back to LA from Carmel (such perfect beautiful weather up there – it was hard to leave!) where I was playing a show and visiting my family. When I’m done with this, I’m going to do some live-streaming to promote my new EP and try to get as many as people to get it before the end of this Thursday (Aug 9th) to see if it can make it onto the Billboard Heatseeker charts. Then I’m going to make some dinner and watch Waiting For Guffman because I’ve never seen it before and apparently that needs to be remedied.
All Access Music is currently compiling a list of our artists favorite songs this summer so what is YOUR song of the summer?
I’ve been doing a lot of throwback stuff this summer! Road trips with Sarah McLachlan (Fallen, Stupid, Answer), I went to a place after my CD release show which was a couple of days before my birthday and they played a bunch of 90’s stuff that was really fun. I just went and saw Foreigner in concert (my twin sister, Alix, and I were actually in the promo video for this tour singing all the hits with Kelly Hansen as if we were Christmas caroling – so they gave us tickets) and it was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been too! So many great songs! And of new releases I really love Manchester Orchestra’s “I Know How To Speak” I know that’s not your typical “song of the summer” but I just really like it! He has such a beautiful voice and lyrics!
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
I’ve had a few big goals:
-I wanted to sell out the main room at the Hotel Cafe and I came very close – only needed about 30 more people and I feel like maybe it it hadn’t been the same week as ComicCon, we would have done it 😉
-I also wanted to hit #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts with the new EP “Pieces That Were Stolen” and I got to #3 and in the Top 100 (#97) of the All Genres chart and I didn’t expect to be on that at all!
-And the next goal that I’m trying for right now is getting on the Billboard Heatseeker charts and I don’t know how close I am but I’m still trying to get as many orders and streams and all that as possible before the end of this week and I guess I’ll find out if we made it next week!
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience? How exactly did you first get into comedy hip hop?
Music was a part of my life growing up but not because my family was musical. My sister and I found and listened to our parent’s and grandparent’s records and albums on our own and incorporated them as soundtracks in our play. I was in choir in school from a young age and then got into musical theatre. I remember making up my first song with my sister when we were three years old. It was about wanting to go inside from the cold. I ended up using the melody of that song in one of my later songs that I wrote for my sister. As for the last part of your question, I have not delved into comedy hip-hop 😉 Although I have enjoyed listening to it at times! My music is more folk-pop but you never know what could happen! 😉
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? What is the music scene like there these days?
My first hometown was Gainesville, FL so that gave me the folky, country influence. That’s Tom Petty’s hometown too! Then we moved to Carmel/Monterey in Northern California where I started performing in plays and musicals which influenced my music by giving me the confidence to be on stage, and LA has greatly broadened my musical palette because there are so many artists and shows here and such a community that love music and share it. I’ve met all of the producers and co-writers I’ve worked with here in Los Angeles and I love how they have all stretched me as an artist and songwriter.
How would you say that you have grown as an artist since you first starting making music? What has remained the same?
I have definitely become more confident. I used to be so afraid to co-write because I thought I would look dumb but now I love it. What has remained the same is my desire to make music that I really connect to and has a message I can get behind and to do it in an authentic way.
Let’s talk about your latest EP, “Pieces That Were Stolen.” What was it like finally just recently putting it out? What did it feel like the first time you heard it all the way through? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting it all together?
It felt wonderful to finally put it out! There has been so much lead up to it and prep and feeling kinda stressed like I need to do so much to get ready and having it out and having people actually hear the songs I’ve been talking about for the last few months was an exciting relief! The first time I heard it through I felt happy that I had made a record with different songs but that still had a cohesive vibe that is somehow poignant and uplifting. It’s the kind of music I would want to listen to. I was surprised because I thought I would be recording a bunch of songs I had already written before I started the process with Billy Lefler, and I ended up writing most of it during the recording process with some great co-writers I hadn’t worked with before. (Garrison Starr, Rich Jacques, and Mallory Trunnell of Crimson Calamity – I have known her for a long time but we strangely had never written a song together)
What was the inspiration for your first singles “Photobooth” and “Stained Glass”? How did these songs in particular get to be on this collection?
Photobooth was about a fun night that I thought was finally going to be the real beginning of something but it turned out to be the end and all of the moments with their hopes and imagined futures that we captured in the photo booth are just pictures now. Stained Glass is about the idea that we all go through things that break us down but we are colored by all of our life experiences and emotions and we can come back together into something stronger and more beautiful. Photo booth was the one song I had written before starting the recording process and Billy loved it and we did it right away. Stained Glass was the last song we recorded and it came about because Billy (my producer) wasn’t super feeling any of the other songs I had already written – he was great about pushing me to be the best I could be and make this EP have a certain feeling – so he set me up to write with Garrison Starr. I had the concept already and a lot of the lyrics but was having trouble with a melody that evoked the emotion I wanted and when I showed Garrison what I had, she started playing and singing and I said “YES! That’s it!” It was like a breath of fresh air and we built from there and finished it in about an hour! I love when that magic happens!
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows this summer?
An ideal show for me involves a band and harmonies (preferably with my twin sister performing them) and connecting with the audience. Where I can hear them laughing and crying (well maybe not HEAR that – that would be a little awkward and maybe tooo sad) and singing along! I think my favorite performance now is the show I just did at the Hotel Cafe on July 21st! It was a packed house with a great band and it was so fun! I am touring all over Germany in September and then I’m playing at Cornell Winery in LA on Oct 27th and Barmel in Carmel, CA on Nov 2nd. I’m working on booking more shows up the west coast and all over the country in the fall and early 2019.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate? Do you find that at your shows you have to say something about the political climate?
My music hasn’t gotten overtly political in this climate but it has gotten more what I would hope is empowering. With the whole #metoo movement and gender equality, I feel like its important to show strength within vulnerability. I tough on that kind of thing in “Stained Glass” and “Bravest” which is about having the courage to leave a toxic situation. I don’t often get super political at shows unless its about supporting a cause – like I had a show last year that was to raise funds for Greenpeace because I think taking care of our environment is extremely important. I think people often listen to music to get away from all of the politics because it’s everywhere these days but I have been known to allude to that before I play my song “It’s Gonna Be Alright” which I wrote almost 2 years ago after the election.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
I’m not going to lie, yes, it is hard to keep up with it all! I wish I was better at it! But my favorite right now is Periscope because it’s so interactive and I get to perform and talk to people in real time! It’s a great community and they are the reason I have been able to sell so many of this EP so far and do my crowdfunding with more people that are fans than people I know which is pretty uncommon and I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by that!
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
The ones I always mention as catalysts to my music career are Hanson and Brandi Carlile. Hanson was the first band I was really a fan of and the reason I wanted to learn how to harmonize and make music. I ended up seeing Brandi Carlile opening for Hanson and was floored by how raw her style was vocally and lyrically. It was the kind of music I wanted to make. They both continue to inspire me not only because of their music but because of their activism and how they conduct themselves as bands. They know what they want and they make it happen that way. They both are very involved in raising money in big ways for causes and their communities and all of that is what I hope to do on a bigger and bigger scale as I progress in my career.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I’d take my guitar because it’s the instrument I’m best at and…it floats really well.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
I’d love to have my music featured on This Is Us. Not only is it an incredibly popular and emotional show with great music, but I know two of the actors on it and that would just be wonderful exposure and so fun to get to be part of something with my friends in that way.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I hope they will feel comforted, uplifted, empowered, inspired and that they are not alone.