When we, as a society, reflect on the concept of a female pop singer/songwriter, we tend to incorrectly categorize such artists as perpetually light and airy, doting upon archaic notions of mass -produced femininity that hinges on an often fragile and dainty character. It takes truly innovative female-identifying artists within the singer/songwriter genre to push beyond the false dissmissive and submissive archetype, and Krista D is a fierce testament to such brazen ground-levelling. Blending a 50s inspired image with a distinctly 90s sound and a girl power growl, Krista D is anything but the tame that we are often sold. Zany, zealous, and zesty, Krista D’s Look At Me… I’m Krista D is a powerful staple in explorative voice.
I had the pleasure of talking with Krista D about a variety of topics spanning the messages behind her lyricism, her personal aesthetic in a shifting modern market, and who she wants to become as an artist. Enjoy!
Ouch That Hertz!: Your music is clearly influenced by female artists of the 90’s. What about that movement intrigues you most?
Krista D: I hear the 90’s comparison often, so much so that I’ve started describing it as a hybrid of the 50’s and 90’s. I think I kind of failed at what I was hoping to achieve sonically- or maybe I’m just way more subconsciously guided by 3rd-wave ska bands than I ever realized.
It’s not a negative thing and you’re certainly not wrong… in hindsight it totally sounds like it belongs in the 90’s soundscape. I should have made different production choices that would have pushed the vibe back a few more decades.
What I *had* been hoping would come through was my incorporation of some 50’s and 60’s elements- like the 3 part harmonies, bop-bops, doo-wops and “ooo”s.
But the only person who has ever noticed that was a producer named Barry Allen, but I think that’s simply because he was a singer in the early 60’s. I did, with full intention, try to produce a late 90’s sounding song once; it was a sarcastic love song called “Extraordinary.”
OTH!:On your bandcamp you give a brief explanation of Look At Me… I’m Krista D‘s tracks. The track, “Run Jane Run” had an insightful synopsis, is this song your way of tackling mental illness and its social repercussions when its ignored, and how it influences children?
Krista D: Essentially, yes. Although- I wasn’t tackling the topic of mental illness as directly as I did in another song called “Hush.”
The story line of “Run Jane Run” is [as follows]: Jane grows up in a volatile home environment and decides at 16 she wants to run away because anywhere is better than home. She’s angry and resentful that she was born only to have to be subjected to such a cruel environment. She takes off, looking a better life. An older guy takes notice of her while she’s living on the street, offers her a place to stay and she ends up in an unhealthy codependent relationship. He turns out to be just as volatile as her father, but when she tries to leave him, he becomes violent and rapes her. She manages to eventually flee that situation but unfortunately had become pregnant from the rape and, as a result, raises a kid in an unstable environment. Now, not only had she not faced and healed from her own childhood trauma, she is now a single mother grappling with PTSD. So, years later, her daughter, distraught with the home environment and her mother’s mood swings, runs away. Jane, racked with guilt- commits suicide.
The point of the song is to highlight the importance of seeking help after experiencing trauma and receiving supportive therapy if you’ve grown up in a volatile home environment- especially if you plan to have children. It’s about proactively breaking the cycle.
OTH!:Your album title and the moniker you perform under, “Krista D”, is an obvious dig at the film Grease and the lead character “Sandra D.” Is this is a satirical and critical look at the Mary Sue archetype? Do you think some >female artists (for example, Ariana Grande) get pigeonholed into that archetype depending on the style of their music and how they present themselves?
Krista D: Honestly, if anything it would be a dig at myself, more-so than a dig at the character. I used to pretty much be the poster child of a Mary Sue archetype. For years I was the virginal, bible school attending, pie baking, stereotypical 50’s housewife-type. Life events majorly knocked that out of me and now very little of that remains- other than I still really like pie. So, where I pretty much used to be ‘start of the film Sandy’- and now I’m more ‘end of the film Sandy’ I like referencing the film in relation to this music project, especially since Krista D was the artist name I began recording under in my early teens; when I recorded music for the christian music market. The project didn’t start as a Sandra Dee reference- I just visually rebranded myself to allude to the movie when my lifestyle did a 180.
It’s about proactively breaking the cycle.”
As for Ariana Grande- I’m out of touch and honestly not very aware of what she’s all about so I wouldn’t be able to comment on her specifically. But, in a broad commentary on any major label artist, and what I know of the music industry from personal experience, is that if she is being marketed in a certain manner, and for a certain demographic, then whatever archetype or “character” she’s being pigeon holed in- is intentional. If/when the label stops making money on her brand, something will “happen” and she’ll go through some sort of orchestrated metamorphoses to rebrand her into something that will renew public interest and generate more money. Whether that be a relationship, launching a new product, collaborating with another artist.. etc.
OTH!: Where would you like to see yourself in the next 10 years?
Krista D: This is probably a boring answer but I think I’d just like to be fully established in my career. I’m still at a launching stage for both my visual art and my music and it’ll be nice when I can relax and enjoy the creative process a bit more. Like- in 10 years I’d hopefully reached the stage where a good amount of people are anticipating new work and are supporting my creative efforts.
OTH!: Who are you currently listening to?
Krista D: Austra (Feel it Break album)
OTH!: Who is your dream collab?
Krista D: Who would I love to collab with? Well, given my ingrained 90’s vibe- maybe a perfect collab partner for me would be Tim Armstrong. That would be pretty awesome. If I’m going to tend towards that 90’s ska/punk vibe, I might as well do it right. ❤