The western suburbs are normally only good for punch lines and car yards but in this case it provided the birthplace for vocal vixens Kaya. Vocalist Alexa explains,
“Well we all went to the University of Western Sydney, I was in my third year, and the other girls were all doing different stuff there, doing performance, we kind of saw each other at a distance, and liked what we saw.”
Although the word Kaya has many impressive and spiritual interpretations — it means moist in Korean — their choice of name is far more simple.
“We chose it because our friend had a little girl called Kaya, and she made these nice sounds so we thought it seemed appropriate. In South Africa it means home and in Turkish it means a rock.”
With a name chosen, and songs written, the girls took a well-worn path in this television age, and went on a reality show.
“Yes we were on X Factor, it was an amazing experience, it was a learning experience, the four of us had only got together a couple of weeks before the show started, we had really only sung twice together before the audition, it was kind of adrenalin running high, we were only getting to know each other, figure it all out.”
The girls didn’t win the competition (a blessing in disguise), but won industry attention, with a vocal, earthy, spiritual cover of John Butler’s ‘Zebra’.
“At the time when we did ‘Zebra’ it was just a tune that was so popular at the time, it screamed out to us, plus we love what he is about, a great inspiration for independent artists, what he does for the community, so we thought lets do it.”
Having grown up with sisters, I know first hand the delicate balance between hatred and happiness when girls are in a group, but Alexa insists it is all smiles, despite a suspicious series of scratches on her face.
“It’s always fun because we all respect each other musically so we work well. There are a lot of strong personalities which makes things interesting, but it also means there is a real rich resource of knowledge, soul and heart.”
From X-Factor to Xmas, the singers took a less conventional turn by releasing a Christmas album before releasing a full length player.
“We’ve been promising ourselves to do it for years, so we finally took the plunge, when we tell people they’re always a bit apprehensive, but we tried to make it a bit different, we didn’t just sing songs like we heard them, we put our own spin on it.”
The girls will perform at the lighting of the Christmas tree in Centennial Park but then they’ll bunker down to work on an album, along with lending their sweet-as-honey voices to other musicians’ projects.
“Yeah we are really focused on another album, we don’t have a normal album so that’s our focus, we have a lot of material that we’re excited to record. Also we’ve had people asking us to work with them, looking for a sound that we can provide so it’ll be a big year.”
Before Kaya immerse themselves in work, check them out at The Basement on December 17th with Afro Moses..