Interview with Callie Reiff
What inspired your new single “What Ifs (ft. Louella),” and what was it like working with Louella?
Isabella (aka Louella) sent me over a vocal idea and I could instantly hear how the song’s vibe could be developed. I loved the lyrics, which are based on the what if’s, maybes and consequences of your decisions. How when you think everything is going as planned, randomly everything can shift overnight, for the better or for the worse. Originally I was relating the song to a relationship but as I was producing it I ended up relating to it in this weird time with the pandemic. The song also brings a little bit of optimism and hope which is the perfect balance between reality and fantasy right now.
What do you wish you could have told your younger pre-debut self, that you know now about your craft/ the industry?
With time comes a certain confidence and growth in yourself which makes your sound just come together so naturally. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself or compare your music all the time to your favorite artists.
Since debuting in 2015 what has been your all time favorite moment in your musical career?
That’s so tough because since then I’ve had some amazing experiences! I would say a big highlight was getting to play Red Rocks in Colorado as it has been a dream venue of mine for a long time. I hope to be back there soon! Around the same time it was my birthday and at the after party I went B2B with Deadmau5. My parents were there too so that was pretty awesome! I also think this current moment is a big one — I’m able to release this music I’ve been developing over the past 2 years and it is pretty surreal!
What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?
It’s forever changing and you never stop learning. There’s nothing like live music. It’s all I can ever think about.
Callie is a New York based 21 year old producer, artist, and model that is transcending the limits of the dance music scene, pushing herself as a songwriter and musician while still staying true to her DJ/producer roots.
You made history as the youngest DJ to perform at Webster Hall, what was that experience like?
It was pretty crazy, to say the least! I remember being so nervous beforehand as I had never even played a show before and I was about to step on stage at the legendary venue that is Webster Hall! Having both my parents there kind of helped because it felt like they were just taking me to my favorite concert. Once I got on stage, the nerves went away and I felt so happy being up there doing my thing. I will never forget that night and how it felt.
Being a young woman DJ in the music industry have you experienced sexism, and if so how do you deal with those situations?
I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing mentors and people (my team) behind me to root for me since the beginning. Having that allows you to focus on what’s important: your music and what you want to accomplish while avoiding working with sexist people! I experienced this at a very early age when I was playing Webster Hall a lot and, because I was young and a woman, some people would assume that I wasn’t actually DJ-ing. What I would say to the crew at Webster Hall — who always had my back — was to tell anyone who didn’t believe me to come and stand behind me on stage and see me play… then it’s up to them to change their mindset and attitude… or just don’t and don’t come to my shows! I’ve always guarded myself and have stayed positive by only supporting or collaborating with good people, which I think is key. On that note, there are so many talented women in music which also always inspires me to keep going.
Having already opened for artists like Ed Sheeran and Skrillex, who would be your dream to open for?
The one artist I’ve always liked and I feel could be cool to blend our genres together is Peggy Gou. I’ve never played a huge underground warehouse show before. She comes from a fashion background too and I think the crowds she plays for are so fun.
Or who would you choose to have open for you?
I don’t know who I would choose to open, but I’d love to play a show or go B2B with Alison Wonderland, SG Lewis, Mura Masa, or Kito. And, as always, I’d love to play another show with Skrillex or Deadmau5.
Your new era has a new sound of what you’ve described as ‘indie-club’ . How did this develop? Who are your biggest musical influences?
I developed this sound pretty strongly over the past 2 years. But, in general, since I started producing I have always been experimenting with sounds, remixes and ideas. I like to describe ‘indie club’ as an approach to a song with a story, focusing on songwriting and pop/indie-forward vocals, while still maintaining the New York club energy production surrounding it all. My 3 biggest musical influences are Kito Sam Gellaitry and Haim.
Lastly, what advice can you give any aspiring young musicians?
Work on your craft as much as you can, experiment, stick to your ideas when you like them (never delete!), and enjoy the small wins! Also, the journey is the best part… HAVE FUN!
What was your favorite part of collaborating with the Irish singer-songwriter Lenii on “The Kids are all Rebels” ?
Working with Lenii was awesome! I loved the original version of “The Kids Are All Rebels” so much and I really wanted to jump on a remix. We spoke for a bit and she loved the idea so we ended up making a new version of the original. It was cool!
What do you want to have ultimately accomplished in your musician career 10 years from now?
I have so much I want to accomplish! 10 years from now I want to headline a few epic tours, headline more festivals, work with some nonprofits to give kids the opportunity to learn how to DJ or do something else creative, create fashion lines with my favorite brands, release EPs and songs I’m super proud of, collaborate with some legendary artists, and hopefully just be able to continue to travel to places I’ve never been, meet new people and do what I love most — make music!
Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them?
The artist that always comes to mind for me is Skrillex. I think it’s amazing the way he has never allowed himself to be boxed into one genre. He also lifts up emerging artists all the time. I am inspired by the way he carries himself as a human, especially at the level he is at career wise.
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