Kris Angelis has the most perfect way of telling stories. Her lyrics just hit really hard, her new song "Stained Glass" is about being broken but coming back stronger. We talked to Kris about the new song and her upcoming EP.
First off, tell me about Stained Glass, what’s the story behind the song?
Kris: Stained Glass is about the idea that all of our experiences color our personalities and who we are and even when we get broken, we can come back together stronger and more beautiful than we even were before. I had the idea for the song and what I wanted it to be about but was having trouble finding a melody that went with the feeling I wanted it to express. Billy Lefler, who produced the whole EP, set me up to do a co-write with Garrison Starr and I went to her beautiful home one morning - we immediately got into a deep conversation about life, love, and beliefs (this tends to happen in writing sessions. You get to know each other pretty quickly!) and then I showed her what I had, she started playing and singing with her voice that is so authentic and emotional and I said "yes! that's it!" it was like a breath of fresh air! We took my lyrics and concepts and discussed and tweaked them and finished it in about an hour!
Where have you been getting inspiration lately?
Kris: Music that is new to me that touches me emotionally along with the experiences I'm having in my life with relationships, things that I'm struggling with or enjoying like nature - Walking through a redwood forest, feeling the pockets of warm and cool air with different smells, and seeing the way the sun hits the trees and the air - that kind of thing inspires me too. Sometimes books and films. I just saw "Hearts Beat Loud" and that was inspiring because it's all about music and relationships and I just read "Adrift" which is an amazing and emotional story.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Kris: The biggest challenge has been my own anxiety and trying to keep going even when I am feeling down, overwhelmed, broke, etc. I could enumerate specific challenges but the root of it is how you deal with how those things make you feel and not letting it become a negative spiral!
How do you stay motivated?
Kris: Listening to music is a big, simple one. One that surprisingly I sometimes forget. I've had times when I realized I haven't really listened to music in a few days - maybe I've been listening to podcasts or an audiobook on my drive instead and its amazing how revived my heart and soul feel when I listen to music again. That being said, I listen to some podcasts that have helped me so much to stay motivated in the business side of things as well as creative. (Bree Noble's "Female Entrepreneur Musician" and Cathy Heller's "Don't Keep Your Day Job", and Ari Herstand's book on the music business) Co-writing is usually a great boost too.
Tell me about your upcoming EP, “Pieces That Were Stolen,” I love that title.
Kris: Thank you! The EP is 4 songs that I recorded with Billy Lefler producing. All are co-writes except "Photobooth." I am honored to have all of the collaborators on this EP including Mallory Trunnell of Crimson Calamity, Rich Jacques who just won a Grammy with Lisa Loeb, Garrison Starr, and Dave Eggar who played cello. He's played on so many amazing records and I'm grateful and excited to have him on mine. The title of the EP comes from a lyric in "Stained Glass" and I felt like it was appropriate for the whole EP because I had my car stolen with basically everything valuable to me in it almost exactly a year ago when I got back from tour. All my instruments and gear, computer with unfinished songs, clothes, etc and that obviously had an effect on me. Also, all of these songs could be said to be in some way about something that was "taken" from me emotionally/metaphorically and the songs and this EP are my way of letting them go and bringing back the pieces of my soul/heart. That's also why there is a sparrow on the cover flying toward my silhouette. It refers to another song "The Sparrow" on the EP and sparrows always fly home.
What would you tell your younger self?
Kris: I think I'd tell myself to learn more about the business side sooner. As long as I knew that wouldn't inhibit my creative side 😉 Maybe I'd tell myself to get involved in certain social media outlets in a cool creative way at the ground level. But going back to attitude, emotional state, and how you see the world and yourself being such a huge part of how your life goes, I'd want to work on getting to a better place with those things at an earlier age - creating positive habits and habits of positivity.