April 13, 2024

Hello everyone and welcome to our latest edition of Musical Musings! Today, we are absolutely thrilled to have a uniquely gifted artist joining us who has taken the pop music world by storm – the incomparable CaliStar. Known for her dynamic blend of dance, R&B, and hip hop, CaliStar’s music is as vibrant and multilayered as she herself.

Hailing from a diverse background and experience, she’s transitioned from a legal career to the bold pursuit of her passion for music. Her songs encapsulate both her personal experiences and creative imagination, resulting in music that is authentically heartfelt and exhilaratingly imaginative.

Her recent hit, “Don’t Give Up,” was not only a testament to her own tenacity amidst personal challenges but has also become an anthem for resilience, celebrated worldwide. With her latest single, “Glitterati (feat. Kiyoné),” and the accompanying EP, she continues to dazzle and inspire.

CaliStar’s journey is a beautiful blend of self-discovery, authenticity, and the courage to follow one’s dreams. It is a journey deeply grounded in her artistic prowess and a desire to touch hearts and minds through her music.

So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover more about the phenomenal journey, creative process, and musical inspirations of the one and only CaliStar.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

As CaliStar, I make pop music. I love different aspects of pop, and my music often blends different genres, including dance, R&B, and hip hop. My songs are an extension of me, so they’re shiny and extra on the surface, with added layers of depth and meaning underneath. I love building worlds and telling stories with my music, through the lens of my lived experiences with a dash of fantasy and imagination.

What is your creative process like?

I absolutely love creating, and it’s my favorite part about being an artist. I’m constantly learning and growing, so my creative process is always changing. For me, creating is about being open to exploring what inspires you, however it hits. I record voice memos for melodies I hear in my head and take notes on thoughts that turn into lyrics. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or sad, I put it down somewhere while I’m processing, through melodies or words. That way, when I sit down to actually write music, I’ll be able to pool from authentic moments. Sometimes I hear music in my dreams, and when I wake up, I’m struggling to capture it so I can remember. I’m constantly listening to new music and checking in with my inner pulse to see what resonates with me. The actual studio time flows more easily when I have a deep well of creativity to draw from, so the more I fill that well up with creative inspiration, the more beauty I can create with my music as a result.

Can you tell us a bit more about your favorite song and what inspired you to make it?

My favorite song that I’ve released as CaliStar is “Don’t Give Up.” I honestly still listen to the song to encourage myself. Sometimes when things get overwhelming for me and I don’t know if I can keep going, I remind myself that I wrote that song, and it keeps me going. It’s an ironic thing to say about your own song, but it’s true.
It was in the middle of lockdown, and I had just left my legal career to become an indie pop artist. At the same time, I was still suffering from traumatic brain injuries that I had sustained during a series of car accidents, so I was having a hard time doing things that had come so easily to me before. The combination of life circumstances at the time was extremely difficult for me. During one studio session with my producer and co-writer Enik Lin, the song just started flowing out of me, and it was a song that I felt was my life song and one that I wanted to pass down to future generations as well.
When my friend Ron Yuan heard the mix, he felt like it captured an authentic version of me, and he pitched the idea to shoot a music video for the song to highlight the rise in anti-Asian violence and the work that our community was doing to help combat hate. He directed the music video for “Don’t Give Up,” along with a related short film that hasn’t been released yet. It’s been such a meaningful project, and I hope it encourages you as much as it has helped me.

Which famous musicians do you admire?

Wow, I admire so many musicians. Right now, I’m super inspired by Rina Sawayama, Griff, NIKI, and Thuy. I love their music, their artistry, their authenticity, and the stories of their growth. I can’t wait to see how their careers will continue to skyrocket.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

I definitely got in trouble in the third grade for punching a boy. I had skipped second grade a few weeks after classes started because the school realized that I needed further advancement. Joining third grade in the same school was difficult because I didn’t have my second grade classmates, and I didn’t have any third grade friends. I remember this kid kept teasing me and calling me stupid and other names, so I punched him. My mom was called to the classroom, and I remember my little brother was crying because I got in trouble with my teacher. I think I stood there angrily with my arms folded. Violence is not the answer, but I actually don’t regret that I stood up for myself and fought back.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Recently, I was talking to an artist friend who took time out of her busy schedule to hear about my journey as an indie artist. We’d known each other for a while, and I updated her on my decision to go back into music after being a lawyer. I said I wanted to break barriers for people who look like me and to make a difference for future generations. She stopped me and told me, “It’s OK to say that you want to be an artist just because you want to be an artist.” It really impacted me because she was releasing me from feeling like I needed to justify the desire to be an artist with other reasons. I’m not sure if I was feeling guilty as the daughter of immigrants about giving up stability in pursuit of my creative passions, but somehow I had lost part of myself. Her words really inspired me to give myself the permission to just be an artist, to be free to create and release music into the world, in a true sense and in its purest form.

What’s next for you?

I just released my newest single “Glitterati (feat. Kiyoné)” and dropped a music video for it, directed by Brad Wong. It’s such a fun video that starts off with me working in an office cubicle starting at the clock counting down. The heavens open, glitter falls from the sky, and I’m transformed. It’s definitely a commentary on wanting to escape, to be something more, and to shine.

I also just released the new “Glitterati” EP, which is my debut EP as CaliStar. It features six songs, each of which captures a different facet of what “Glitterati” means to me. Four music videos have been released for the respective four singles, and I’ll be following up with visualizers for the two new songs on the EP “Do What We Wanna” and “Better.”

I’ll be promoting my new releases and working on new music. Thank you so much for being part of my journey!

Glitterati EP
Website and Social Media Links

Website: https://calistarentertainment.com
Follow CaliStar:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/caliwu
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/calistarmusic
Facebook: https://facebook.com/calistarmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/calistawu
TikTok: https://tiktok.com/@caliwu
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3sc9RgG4kDSMtmfhxTGu8O
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/calistar/1585186857
Linktree: https://linktr.ee/calistar

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