Tidal Rising Artist of the Week: Calma Carmona Traces Her Roots
In 2015, Calma Carmona released the follow-up to her debut project, Presentiment, a five-track EP that stood as something far more experimental than the last. Laden with urban trap beats and a mix of soulful baselines and twangy guitars, Presentiment’s vocals were very minimal. For Calma, it was more about creating a feeling and just hitting play.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Calma — TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week — moves toward a visceral place of ancestry with 100 Vidas, a full-length studio album as majestic as her voice: equal parts velvet-smoky and jagged-soulful. Á la La Lupe meets Janis Joplin, Calma explained to us returning back to basics, combining her Afro-Boricua roots and seamless Spanish-to-English crooning, without sounding trite:
“100 Vidas is a musical and personal expression of where I’m from, where I am and where I’m going. You know how you find yourself acting like your mom or grandmother, how you discover certain things about your ancestors or everything that has happened or had to happen for you to be you? That’s the trip of 100 Vidas. That’s why I have a lot of Afro-Caribbean influences. But it also has all the influences that I grew up with; there’s a little R&B, a little alternative.”
Calma began building a fan base organically around her native Puerto Rico, circa 2007. In 2013, she was presented with the unique opportunity to open up for Beyoncé during the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Soon thereafter, she would tour the globe and the festival circuit as an independent artist. But if you’re wondering why Calma isn’t subscribed to the hodgepodge of millennial acts that regularly produce and dish out new music, it’s because the 34-year-old singer has long found the process of creating to be painful — until now.
“It was super challenging, but because of it, I kind of like the process of creating more,” she said about what went behind putting together her latest project. “Before, creating — the writing, the producing — it was kind of painful. It’s really a painful process. But I’ve learned to enjoy that part a little bit more, because this is truly what I love to do. I’ve allowed myself to make the mistakes [that come with creating] and just do it.”
On Wednesday, Calma will present a specially-curated playlist of songs that take listeners through her greatest influences. On Friday, TIDAL will premiere Calma’s intimate live-session of “Super Sencillo,” a recording that emerged breathtakingly in the midst of a power outage in Puerto Rico.
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