Diary of a Caymanian gypsy

The singer/songwriter on her debut album and its Camana Bay launch this month 

 

August 2010 

The sun was shining and the big Pacific Ocean greeted me when I woke up that first morning in San Diego. I was happy to be living so close to the beach and already the free horizon and warm sunshine was giving me confidence to embark on the biggest and most personal project of my life. I rented a room in a large house with 10 other people. My roommates were a group of free spirits, travellers, surfers, artists and yogis. Brazilians, Belarussians, Americans, Canadians and Mexicans were among the nationalities represented there and now me the sole Caymanian added to the mix. I felt lucky to be a part of this international community of people and they made me feel right at home.  

 

Finding a producer 

I spent the next few days settling into my new home and putting together a band with my producer, Chad Farran. It’s amazing how Chad came to work on my album and to this day I feel so fortunate to have collaborated with him on it. I first heard Chad’s music on the show OnSurfari on Fuel TV. The majority of the soundtrack was Chad’s music and after looking him up on the Internet, I discovered that he was not only a great musician and songwriter but a music producer for film, television and independent recording projects as well. When I decided I wanted to make an album, Chad was one of the first people I contacted. After a few email exchanges, I decided to fly to San Diego to check him out for myself. After meeting with Chad in person, I knew for sure that he was the one I wanted to produce my debut album. I followed my instincts, and two months later I returned to San Diego with my keyboard and suitcase full of clothes and sand, which always seems to follow me when I travel, reminding me of home while in unfamiliar places.  

 

Assembling a band 

The first step to making the album was putting together a band that would create the basic foundation and sound of the music. Chad played drums in the band with guitarist Joe Amato, bassist David Carano and myself on keys and vocals. I wanted to create an authentic live performance, where we all played together on the recording so we rehearsed my songs for a month before hitting the studio. During this time Chad introduced me to the local music scene in San Diego. I met so many talented musicians who inspired great friendships and music during my time in California. One weekend in particular I was invited to a Flamenco festival where people from all over came and camped out for three days to make music, dance and celebrate. I remember sitting around the fire one evening listening to Pilar Morena singing flamenco and feeling beautifully overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to learn from this place and all it was offering me. In these past three months, I have never felt more inspired to express myself. It has been the most productive and creative time of my life and I am truly grateful. 

 

September, October 2010 

We recorded all the songs at Signature Sound Studio with sound engineer Ben Moore. The band was well prepared and we spent three full days in the studio recording all ten tracks. When we finished we took the tracks back to Chad’s home studio, where we worked for another two months before the album was complete. As a skilled drummer and percussionist, Chad added lots of world flavours with his additional percussion parts and I recorded all my vocals and harmonies. I also met up with artist Bojh Parker, who photographed and designed all the artwork for the album. This stage of the project was really fun as the songs started to come alive. I really enjoyed working with gifted musicians such as Rebecca Kleinmann, Steve Haney, Dusty Brough, Ryan Feldthouse, Nachman Wajchmann, Andy Geib, Lou Fanucchi, Paul Chin and Chris McGreal, who added their own colours and musicianship to the tracks. In those last few weeks, all the pieces started to come together to create the final product that I’d envisioned. When Chad and I finished the album we handed it over to be mixed by Ben Moore and mastered by Paul Abbott at Zen Mastering. 

Finding inspiration 

The title of the album Between Shores was inspired by a quote from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet: Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. This verse by Gibran embodies my whole philosophy on love. I dream of a love that is full of freedom and trust, where two people can celebrate their individuality while still being together. Artists Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera represented this philosophy on love when they built two separate houses that were connected by a bridge; that bridge was their love. Like two columns in a temple connected by an arch, standing together but still apart. The subject of love and my experiences have inspired many songs, especially the finale song Between Shores which symbolises my journey. It is the end but also the beginning of a new stage in my life, emotionally and artistically.  

Between Shores also stands for cultural diversity and celebration. I have always been a nomad at heart with a desire to travel and learn about the world around me. Through music I explore my Caymanian and Lebanese heritage. My growth into adulthood and discovery of identity and love is celebrated in this album. I am a woman of this world, a daughter of the seas travelling between the shores of different countries, and this is my story of that discovery. Between Shores has been a real adventure that I am so excited to share with everyone. It is a dream to come home and share this album with Cayman; a people and place that has always supported me in my endeavours. 

 

Cayman launch party 

Celebrate and travel the world with Natasha Kozaily’s on Thursday, 9 December at The Crescent, Camana Bay, for her debut album launch party. The party kicks of at 7pm with music selection from the DJs of One World Entertainment, followed by performances by I Am and Soraya. Ms Kozaily sings songs from her globally diverse first ever album, Between Shores.  

 

Ms Kozaily’s music takes the listener on a journey across the globe with influences from the Caribbean to the Middle East. The musician spearheaded the Art of Tango festival held in Cayman last April and she hopes to organise many more events through her new nonprofit organisation Cayman Arts Project.  

 

For more information, visit www.natashakozaily.com 

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