Monday, January 18, 2016

INTERVIEW: Kota Wade is a "Force to Be Reckoned With"

"I wrote this song as a way to show people that no matter how many times you’ve been knocked down or told “no”, to always keep fighting."- Kota Wade

Collaboration can be a beautiful thing. So is never giving up on your dreams.

My girl Kota Wade (of YouTube, Bad Wolf, & recently The Voice fame) managed to combine the two with a brand new digital single: "Force To Be Reckoned With". The song features Summer Schappell, her Voice co-contestant and roommate, and has a decidedly more rootsy, almost country-esque vibe than the more straight-ahead pop or pop-rock styles we've heard from her before.

Kota wrote the song as an anthem to empower -- especially after being told "no". Surely that's something we all can relate to! The song was released officially this past Friday and is available for purchase on iTunes. It was also produced by Tim Atlas, another Season 9 Voice "Team Gwen" alum. He also makes a cameo in the video (above) playing guitar and banjo.

BONUS: I had the chance to ask Ms. Kota herself about her Voice experience, what inspired "Force To Be Reckoned With", and -- of course -- working with Gwen Stefani. Read on below...

MEL: What made you decide to audition for 'The Voice'?
KOTA: I initially auditioned for The Voice about 3 years ago and made it through the callbacks. Something told me I wasn’t ready though, so I backed out. This past year they contacted me about coming back for Season 9 and something just “clicked”, and I felt in my  heart that it was a good time to do it. I felt like it would push me and help me grow as an artist and a person. Of course, it didn’t hurt that my idol, Gwen Stefani, would be one of the coaches!

What was your biggest take away from the experience?
My biggest take away was that no matter what, it is most important to stay true to yourself. At the end of the day, I’ve always considered myself a writer first and foremost, then an artist, THEN a singer. I wanted to stay true to myself as an artist, and chose songs that resonated with who I was. The choices I made didn’t always work out, but at least I did it my way. You can’t please everyone, so at least try and please yourself.

Clearly you made a lot of friends in the 'Voice' camp -- did you keep in touch with any other contestants?
The friends I made through the show was one of the most important parts of my entire experience. I’m a bit of a hermit and have social anxiety, so being thrown into a situation where you have roommates and a team was very new to me, but it pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and connect with the artists around me. I have formed such strong bonds with a few of the artists on the show and I know that bond will never be broken. Summer and I were roommates throughout battles and knockouts and we became like sisters, which is why I knew we had to collaborate on a musical project outside of the show.

Everyone's probably thinking it -- or at least I am -- what was working with Gwen like?
Working with Gwen was definitely surreal. Standing in front of someone you’ve idolized your whole life is super intimidating, but she has such a calm and cool vibe that as soon as you get over the initial shock, it’s really easy to forget that she’s the voice of a generation.

"Force To Be Reckoned With" is an anthem to keep fighting for your dreams. Do you have any (other) advice for musicians thinking of trying out for reality television performance shows like 'The Voice'?
I wrote this song as a way to show people that no matter how many times you’ve been knocked down or told “no”, to always keep fighting. I’ve been doing music since I was 9 years old and I’ve had my share of heartbreak and disappointment, but you ALWAYS have to keep going. You never know what’s just around the corner, so if music is something that is truly in your heart, never give up on it. My advice for anyone trying out for a reality TV performance show, is to always listen to your instincts. Know who you are as an artist, and stay true to it. Don’t be a diva, listen to the advice from those around you, but never lose who you are as an artist and a person.

What's next for you? Can we expect more solo music?
I fully believe that 2016 is going to be the best year of my musical career. Less than two weeks into the year I’ve already released two singles and music videos (one with my band, Bad Wolf, and “Force to be Reckoned With”), and am in pre-production for a music video for the next single that I’ll be releasing with Bad Wolf in February! I’m so excited to get the wheels rolling and keep the momentum going throughout the rest of the year!

For more on Kota, click HERE to read my interview with her two years ago -- where we discuss her then tenure in JC Chasez's mega girl-group Girl Radical, her band Bad Wolf, KPOP comparisons, and  more!

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