Kaya Stewart has had a fantastic year. Her new album, If Things Go South, continues to win over fans and critics alike, and her short film of the same name is an award-winner. With 2023 just around the corner, she spoke to XS Noize about whether or not she’d follow in the footsteps of Taylor Swift and make a feature film, and she teases what the new year might have in store.
You released your latest album, If Things Go South, back in September – how have you found the response to it so far?
The response has been incredible! I never set out to make an album – it kind of just happened, so all the amazing feedback has been even more rewarding. I’m just glad the world gets to hear how much love went into this project.
Which song or songs on the album would you say are both your favourite(s) and/or those of your growing fanbase?
I really do love them all. They are all so unique and different. But my top two would have to be “Honey” and “If Things Go South.” I really wanted songs that I could dig my teeth into on stage, and I think those were the two I felt I could do the most. They’re both so different but so much fun to perform. Funny enough, I think those are the fan’s favourites too.
You’ve made an introspective short film titled If Things Go South and shared it earlier this month. Where did the idea for this project come from?
I draw a lot of inspiration from film. I’d always had the idea for the If Things Go South movie, but I never found the right time to bring it to life. After creating such a personal album, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make the film to go along with it. Now, I can’t imagine the album without the film.
What do you want those who watch the film to learn or take from it?
Whenever I describe it, I always say it feels like looking inside my mind at that time. I was trying to figure myself out, and the film shows the turmoil and growing pains of that process. It’s something I feel so many people can relate to at my age. I think sharing that made me feel less alone, so I hope that’s what other people can draw from it.
The film won a Los Angeles International Film Festival award for Best Music Video. Did you ever imagine it’d receive such high recognition?
I was so shocked. I keep saying this, but when I was making the album and the film, I was trying to pull myself out of a dark place and be as honest as possible, so getting that recognition meant a lot to me. I had such incredible people supporting me on this journey, so it was so awesome to get to share that win.
Are there any plans to make more short films in the future? Would you ever expand your film creativity to the point where you’d make something more like a documentary or feature film, like Taylor Swift?
I don’t know! Making the film was such an eye-opening experience. But music will always be my first love. Maybe I will in the future! I’ve been getting into acting as well, but I think that is as close as I’ll get for a little while. But you never know!
You’ve been featured and championed by the likes of Teen Vogue and American Songwriter – how important to you is it to have that support? Do you mind what outlets and critics say about you, particularly if/when they’re negative or are you more focussed on what your fans think?
I’m so grateful for the support. At the end of the day, I really am just laying myself out there and hoping people understand what I am trying to say. So having such reputable publications and such dedicated fans get it is always a good feeling. Anyone who doesn’t get it doesn’t get me! and that’s ok too!
We’re just a few weeks from the end of the year, so what have been your highlights of 2022 and have you started planning for 2023?
I’m so proud of my work this year and the support I received. Getting to share this project with the world was my biggest highlight, for sure! More music and more creativity are what I am planning on for 2023!