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CAJA on “In the Garden,” Overcoming Stage Fright, and Her Nordic Surroundings

CAJA

CAJA’s new single is an emotional piece. From the tender instruments to the heartfelt lyrics, it’s clear that there’s a lot of emotions running through “In the Garden”. Written by the Norwegian artist CAJA, the song was dedicated to her grandfather and is in memory of her grandmother. With that knowledge and the bittersweet vocals, its clear that CAJA poured a lot of feeling into every moment of “In the Garden”.

The first moments open with a spacy yet tender sound. CAJA creates this dreamy, gentle, and spacy atmosphere. This, combined with canter of the vocals moves the track from the synth-pop vibe, and more into a R&B feel. Especially in the bridge leading out of the opening chorus, the way CAJA uses the percussion dropping out under the vocalist feels very modern R&B or Hip-hop. The music and vocals work well together, giving a sense of some kind of journey from start to finish. This is often times reinforced in how the vocals and instrumentals have a form of call-and-response. The vocals set up this scenario or concept or idea: “Is he running? / Is he running from his life? / No he’s searching, / He’s searching for his wife.” In between every pause of this exchange, the music shifts as thought to respond to each line. Finally, when the segment is complete, CAJA gives us a riff to close it out and wrap up that moment. The instrumentals feel like an audience, or the public, with CAJA’s vocals speaking to them.

When you know the origins, the context, and the artist behind a piece, music can change. Things that previously just seemed like random choices for stylistic reasons, become apart of a bigger picture. While its not required to know why “In the Garden” was written to enjoy it, the atmosphere, vocals, and instrumentals feel as though they just “fit” better. People experiencing loss may believe they hear the same emotions in CAJA’s work, but knowing that it comes from the same place makes the experience that much more universal.

Are there any plans for a follow up to “In The Garden”? Could we ever see this on an EP with other songs?

There might be a follow up story that is connected to the song. An EP is in the making and will come next year.

Do you think growing up in Norway inspired the sound of your music? Is there something quintessentially “Nordic” about it in your mind?

Growing up with mountains and ocean all around has made inspiration come to me very fast. I remember my mom told me stories when I was little, stories about creatures living on the mountain and being there to protect us. A lot of what I write has a connection to those stories.

When did you first start recording music?

I have always loved music, and started to make silly songs since I was about 7 years old. When I got a little older, it kind of faded and I thought that music wasn’t something I could live off of. I had massive stage fright back then. One day I met some people that changed that thought. I also think the passing of my father made me realize how short life is and how important it is to follow your passion. Making music is also my way of handling uncomfortable feelings.

How do you handle the stress of preparing concerts? Is there still a moment of anxiety when you climb up on stage?

I used to get very nervous and I made excuses to not go onstage, but that disappeared as I got more used to it. I get good nerves and excitement, but very rarely bad nerves. If I do get them, I have a lot of breathing exercises that help. I also think about what could go wrong, and that it isn’t that bad if it does.

What are your plans going forward for your music? What can fans expect next?

I have a lot music hanging around and ready to be shown to the world. The next single is coming in late August, which I am very excited about. The song isn’t as progressive as “In the Garden,” but it does has some of the same elements like the organic sound and unconventional melodies. Maybe a hint of the Beatles!

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