I was looking forward to hearing it all, but especially a bilingual tune called “Haunts Me,” a song Kristina co-wrote and then asked if I would translate into Spanish when I bumped into her a few months ago at a mutual favorite local spot, Back in the Day Bakery.
|Kristina with Cherly Day, co-owner of Back in the Day Bakery|
Her talent is widely appreciated. There were a couple of soulful, jazz-pop albums already made: “Spilt Milk” with the iconic Blue Note Records and then “Dark Black” under Mercury’s label. I remember being thrilled to see the latter included in one of my weekly bites from Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP publication a couple of years back. By many accounts she’s been ‘one to watch’ for a while. The BBC touted “Dark Black” as ‘startling’ and ‘an extraordinary record’ while Huffington Post declared “if you aren’t in love with Train’s voice… there is something seriously wrong with your ears.”
But there is zero sense of ego with Kristina and she and her mom were sweet to invite me to sit as we then compressed the last few years into 30 minutes over cupcakes and cookies.
She had just moved to Nashville from London, her home base for 3 years, and was fresh off a tour with jazz legend, Herbie Hancock, as the lead vocalist and violinist for his Grammy-winning Album of the Year, ‘River: The Joni Letters,’ inspired by folk great, Joni Mitchell.
Having completed what she calls the “greatest musical education” of her life, Kristina was ready to roll up her sleeves and write a third album, this one drawing on the music inspired by her childhood.
When we sat down again, just days before her performance in Savannah, she elaborated:
“I had gotten to a point in London I knew who I would make an album with and what to expect,” she said. “I was looking for a change….explore a different sound. I want to return to my roots.”
“The songs are pieces of things that I love about the South,” she said, which include ‘swampier’ sounds, including the sliding guitar and violin, in which she is classically trained, while tapping into gospel, blues and soul-based country.
So if this is an album about roots then why did she ask me to translate a song in Spanish?
When Kristina was a young girl, 4 or 5, she moved to Mexico with her mother and grandmother, who was diagnosed with cancer.
It has long been a dream of hers to sing in Spanish, but not only because of experiences. Its the language itself.
“I find it sensual, robust,” she said. “It’s fragrant.”
Agreed. Language aside, goosebumps are goosebumps and the depth and richness of her voice sent chills straight up both of my arms.
I can’t wait to hear the completed album, which she calls ‘forward viewing…uniting love and happiness.”
A sentiment that can’t help but be catapulted by a double dose of praise from her hero and idol, Bruce Springsteen, who called her ‘fantastic’ in recent iHeartRadio and NPR interviews and compared to her legendary singer, Dusty Springfield, best known for her 1969 hit, “Son of a Preacher Man.”
He and wife, Patti, called to wish her a Happy Birthday in January and they’ve kept in touch.
I wasn’t going to ask, but she volunteered a screen shot of a conversation:
Lyrics to “Haunts Me,” so beautifully co-written by Kristina.
I whipped up a Spanish translation, which Luis then helped me clean up.
Let me fall out of this dream
No lamp burns into the morning
That haunts me night and day
Me invade noche y día
VIDEO: Dark Black