The first time I saw this woman she was on tour with Curtis Peoples and Keaton Simons. I had never heard of her, and it took me weeks to get her name right in my mind. Her music, though, stayed there from the first chord. Her stage presence is incredible as she dances around and moves from left to right, and up and down. Her voice is that of the best in the business and her lyrics match that of anyone on the radio. Her album has been on repeat in my car for weeks. I am excited to be able to sit down with her today. Ladies and gents, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Arden Kaywin.
Is that your real name?
Yes, Arden Kaywin is my real name.
Is there an easy way to remember your name? I keep mispronouncing it.
Just think of it as the word garden minus the “g”.
I absolutely love your album cover. First off, are those shoes comfortable?
They weren’t that bad. I have to be honest though, they’re not my shoes (I wish they were!). My stylist Josh Goldfarb brought them to the shoot for me. He has a fantastic eye for things like that. I didn’t have to walk very far in them, just stand there for photos, and they were comfortable enough.
Where did you get all of those wooden dolls?
The dolls were from Ikea believe it or not. At first we thought we’d paint them different colors, but once we saw them all in person it we decided to keep them their original wood color.
Who came up with that album cover concept?
My amazingly creative photographer Adam Hendershot came up with the idea with me.
What was it like touring with Keaton and Curtis?
I love those boys. We were in very close quarters together after 19 shows in 19 cities, and I don’t have a single bad thing to say about them. They’re such amazing musicians an friends. We had a lot of fun. We barely slept and all we ate was Subway, but it didn’t matter because once we got on stage each night we were in our element. I would tour with them again in a heartbeat. Oh, and their fans are rabid bakers. There were more homemade cookies, brownies, etc. brought to our shows then I can even describe. That was a nice little perk.
Who would win in a pillow fight between those two guys?
They’d probably just end up spooning and talking about their feelings.
What is the biggest crowd that you have ever played for?
I played for about 2,000 at The Avalon a few years back. That was a trip.
I once played for three people at the Karma Coffee House when I was first starting out and had a regular Monday night gig there.
Is this your first full-length album?
No. My first album came our about three years ago and it’s called “Quarter Life Crisis”. You can still buy it on iTunes, Amazon, and my website. I still play from it when I tour.
Who designed your MySpace page?
My friends over at Subset M designed it. I wanted it to tie into the look of my album more, so they were great at making that happen. I have to say though, I am hardly on MySpace anymore. There was a time when I was on there twenty times a day, and now I’ll sometimes go weeks without checking. I think that boat has sailed.
Tell me about all of your band mates. The one person I always play with is my guitar player Ziv. He and I also co-write a lot of songs together so he is much more then just a band mate to me. Then I have a handful of fabulous musicians who all sub in and out for drums & bass. On this tour, I was working with Phil Cimino (drums) and Dan Crawford (bass) and they were so amazing that if I never played with anyone else again I would be happy. They are SO talented. This combo of Ziv, Phil and Dan was magic.
What are you drinking on stage?
Water. Occasionally I’ll have a beer, but I’m not a big drinker, so most of the time it’s just water.
What is your favorite song on the album?
That’s like asking a mother to name her favorite child. I can’t really answer that but to say that all the songs have a distinct place in my heart because I created all of them. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true.
Do you write all your own lyrics?
Yes. Always. There are times I co-write and I love collaborating on both lyrics and music. But I’m always involved whether it’s me alone, or me with a collaborator.
Do you enjoy it when you have the chance to co-write with someone?
Yes, I love collaborating. I think that combining your talents with someone else invariably expands your creative horizons in a way you could have never done your own, and the product is that much better for it.
What are your overall thoughts on MySpace then since you think the ship has sailed?
Over it. As we say in Hollywood, MySpace has “jumped the shark”. It has been ruined by spammers and marketers. I still put up music and keep it fairly current with touring and latest news info, but it is no longer a good way to connect to new fans. People on there are too wary of all the spamming and marketing going on and they have stopped visiting as regularly. I’m no different.
Are you on Twitter?
Yes, I found Twitter to be a great asset on tour. When I’m not touring I don’t use it as much but I do update from time to time when I’m doing cool stuff or want to reach out to my friends and fans.
Can I follow you?
Where did you come up with the name for the album?
Well, “The Elephant In The Room” is an existing saying (maybe you’ve heard it). It refers to a big thing that everybody knows but nobody talks about. I realized that most of the songs on the album dealt with that issue in some way, whether it was on a personal level or a societal level.
What has been the reception of the album since it’s release?
I’ve never received more press or better press then I have for this album. It’s been really wonderful so far. The fans seem to have connected to the songs and it was really nice to talk to people while I was on tour this summer about ones were their favorites and why.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Growing up Dave Matthews, Tori Amos, Indigo Girls, U2, Alanis Morrissette, Bjork and Sarah McLachlan were always in rotation in my car. They were all huge influences. More recent influences include Death Cab For Cutie, Frou Frou, Interpol, Beck, and other indie rock artists.
Are you using a PC or a Mac?
I’m a Mac girl.
What was it like being interviewed by Seventeen Magazine?
When I walked into their building in mid-town Manhattan and my 17 year old self had a hard time not getting excited. I used to read Seventeen religiously when I was in high school, so it was a bit like going to mecca. I was met by one of the senior editors along with their entertainment editor and a fashion and beauty editor. The interview was more focused on what kind of jeans I was wearing, what beauty items I carry in my purse and who my celebrity crush is then on my music. I supposed I should have expected that (knowing Seventeen as well as I do), but I can’t say that I wasn’t a little surprised. It was still fun though. I brough my guitar player and we did a little song for them that they videoed for their website. It was cool.
Do you play any sports?
Not really. I took tennis as a kid but was never that good with the whole hand-eye-coordination. I do a lot of yoga these days.
Is red your natural hair color?
Not really. I have light brown hair that turns reddish in the sun.
How cool is it that you have written songs that have appeared on MTV, ABC, NBC, and the WB. (I love the WB by the way!)
It’s been great. I even got to do the theme song for a show on Discovery called “Deliver Me”. It’s about babies being born. Every once in a while one of my friends or fans will write me to say they heard one of my songs on TV and I still get a kick out of it.
If you were told you only have seven days left to live how would you spend it?
I’d spend it with my loved ones out in nature somewhere with incredibly amazing food.
Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Miami, Florida.
Describe your genre in one word.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully married, maybe with children, still doing music and playing shows, songwriting for myself and other projects; just enjoying my life and sharing my talent.
What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?
I want to be remembered for the ways in which I was of service to others, either through my music or my other endeavors.
I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
My basic philosophy is that every moment in life is a choice. If you are not happy, you can always make another choice. It can be as big as changing your career, or as little as changing the song you’re listening to on your iPod.