From her stint as Binibining Pilipinas-International in 2010, Fil-Am beauty Krista Kleiner is ready to go full speed in taking her music career to greater heights.
The first step was to change her name to Krista K, which she first used officially on the cover of her first album Feels So Good.
“Krista Kleiner for me is what I’m known for as being a beauty queen and I really wanted somewhat of a fresh beginning,” she tells PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and a few media in an interview held on April 19.
"I didn’t want to be known as, ‘O, iyong beauty queen na nagta-try kumanta o iyong naglabas ng album.’ No, I wanted to be known as an artist.”
Veering away from her beauty queen image, 23-year-old Krista is now very hands-on in pursuing a music career in Asia.
After the recent release of her album here in the Philippines, she now is set to penetrate the Asian music market starting with Malaysia.
On April 30, Krista will be doing a show in Kuala Lumpur’s @Live club [At Live], which Krista compares to a popular night spot in Manila.
“It’s more like an arena or Republiq, gano’n. Yeah, it’s probably maybe a Republiq, but with a proper stage, like it’s really meant for a live show,” she describes.
She will be sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in international music today, among them is rap artist Akon, the man behind such hits as “I Wanna Love You” and “Don’t Matter.”
“Akon will have a 30 to 45-minute set. I’ll do about a 20-minute set, maybe 25.
“And then, Taboo will do 90-minute set,” referring to one-fourth of the Grammy-winning pop group Black Eyed Peas.
Asked what the title of her show would be, Krista responded, "It's, uhm... just a party. We don't really have a name for it.
“Maybe Feel So Good party? Yeah, that would be a good idea.”
Indeed, it would be a fitting title. After all, that is what Krista’s music is all about.
WRITING SONGS. She recounts how she went about writing her own songs, “I was getting as much tracks as I could from producers and I really wanted to start from there, to pick the best sound.
“From there, I will meditate on it and see what feeling it gave me, whether we’re talking about falling in love, whether it would be sexy, sexual, or being out in a party or club and enjoy.
“And that is what I wrote— depending on what I felt would match [the music].”
The album— which contains 10 songs and one remix track, plus three bonus Tagalog tracks released exclusively in the Philippines— definitely is on the upbeat side.
“The best way to describe it is it’s an amazing fusion of dance, pop and RnB. Each song has an amazing beat and it’s supposed to just be like… feel good.
“It’s not like the other feel good music that I think Pinoys are used to, like medyo mellow and relaxed.
"I really wanted to go with faster music because I grew up a dancer, since I was seven years old, and definitely I can really perform best [as a dancer]
"And I know Pinoys love to dance, love to party, pero wala pa na local artist na I think that really pushed that in niche market, e, so sana they like it.”
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. Krista also drew inspiration from her life experiences when she wrote some of her songs.
“Lots of inspiration! The songs I wrote about love, all that kilig stuff, of course, something that I have experienced with my past relationships and the times that I felt those feelings.
“It’s a cool thing that I wrote all these songs, kasi they’re all from my experience, so they’re all from my own inspiration.
“This one song, ‘Take You Away,’ I wrote it right after… because I’m an ambassador for the Red Whistle HIV Awareness campaign, and so I wrote it after going there, meeting a lot of people who are going through chemo, trying to fight their sickness, and I wrote the song for them.
“‘Bading Ka Ba Baby,’ I did write it and I had some help from my beki cousin with the gay lingo. And yeah, may pinaghugutan yung kanta," she chuckled.
“I won’t name names," she said when prodded if the inspiration for the song is a celebrity.
"‘Bading Ka Ba Baby,’ it’s a pop-comedy song. The beat is like a really cool dance, Britney Spears kind of track.
“But the song, the lyrics, it’s very bubbly, you will definitely laugh.
"It’s about a girl who is dating someone and nagco-confess siya sa mga friends niya, of course to the listeners, na, ‘I think bading iyong boyfriend ko, pero ‘di ako sure,’” Krista tells, as laughter ensued among the interviewers.
She continues, “‘Beauty Queen’ is from my experience in the pageant. Actually, I wrote that song right before I went to compete at Miss International.
“I found out a week and a half before I left for China na they decided to add a talent portion, which they’ve never done in the past few years.
“So, I wrote the song, I sang it there, and that’s the one that won the Best in Talent.
“‘Seize the Day,’ I wrote that actually on a plane, flying from Manila to KL. It was about, like, a motivation. It’s a positive, fun song, just grabbing every opportunity, making the most out of everyday, and pushing myself. It’s really a cool song.
“‘Put ‘em Up,’ because I love going out, partying and going to clubs and having a good time with my friends, and listening to great dance music… like, you wanna put your hands up.
“It’s about calling everyone to do that, capturing that feeling.
“‘Stay the Night,’ Boys Night Out [the radio show on Magic 89.9] wants to make it like their theme song for their night show.
“It’s a sexy, Janet Jackson type of bedroom song. [The story is] she wants a guy to stay over, pero dahil baka nakikinig nanay ko, ‘wag na nating pag-uasapan yan,” she ends with a joke.”
ON EX-BOYFRIEND JAY-R. Meanwhile, Krista also described the song ‘Magnetic Attraction,’ which she co-wrote and recorded with her ex-boyfriend Jay-R.
“So, it’s about having this heated magnetic attraction to someone on the dance floor. Just, you know, oozing [sexuality] and all that.
“Of course, at the time we wrote it together, it had been [about] our attraction to each other and it’s really a great song because I think it’s so genuine because we weren’t writing it to sell. We were writing it out of our feelings for each other.”
Considering that she and Jay-R have already split, did she ever think twice about including the song in her album?
“I did think about it. I did. Pero as I fully moved on from what happened between us, and I’m sure he has, as well, it’s easy for me to disconnect myself now and just listen to it as a great song and it’s a piece of art.”
How does she feel now whenever she listens to or performs the song?
“I don’t feel anything bad. But when I hear it, I was like, ‘Man, that’s an amazing song to do a music video for and perform.’”
Would she be willing to work with him again in the future?
“Absolutely! Jay-R is an amazing singer, and an amazing producer and writer.
“And he actually helped me a lot, in teaching me how to sing and recording with me.
“And, yeah, a lot of people asked why did I choose [to include] the duet kahit hiwalay na kami and it’s a very sexy song, and ‘Don’t you think awkward iyon?’
“For me, honestly, the song is one of my favorite songs in the album. It’s so amazing, so bakit ko pa tatanggalin, ‘di ba? We’re here, both of us, in this industry to make great music, to meet our fans, to make great music for everyone.”
COLLABORATIONS. In this album, Krista also collaborates with other local rap and RnB artists, like KC Montero, Jimmy Muna, and QYork.
Who else does she want to work with in the future?
“For foreign, being into dance music, I would love to collaborate with amazing DJs— David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Will. I. Am…
“And rappers, of course, complements singers, they team up with pop singers really well.
“Of course, Akon is on that list, and my idols, JLo and Lady Gaga, people like that. I would really be honored to work with anyone of that caliber.
“Locally, Gloc 9 is amazing, one of my dream coaborations. He’s a genius. I’ve actually been in the studio with him before, while he was working on some songs, so that would be a great dream [come true].
“Gary Valenciano was the first person I ever watched in concert, and if I could do something with him, because he’s known for doing dance music, I would love to do that.”
JULIO IGLESIAS. Krista also hopes to cross paths again with Julio Iglesias, the man who she says pushed her to pursue a music career.
In 2010, in the middle of her reign as Binibining Pilipinas-Internationall, Krista had the privilege of performing with the crooner during his Starry Night world concert tour.
“It was my tour with him that we would hang out, travel together.
“Kasi we’re [sitting] beside in the plane, so we go out on lunch and dinner together, so I told him that I have this fantasy nga of becoming a singer-dancer, pero medyo insecure ako kasi lahat ng mga Pinoy ang gagaling kumanta, and kumakanta na iyong mga singers since bata pa sila.
“So, I felt that I was too late to start trying to sing, and he gave me this great advice saying that it’s not all about how much vocal training you have or how good of a vocalist you are.
“It’s a lot of injecting your own personality and your character and becoming an artist, and he said that he really believed that I was an artist and a great performer and that is what I needed to be a successful singer. Of course, practice in singing on the side.
“So, those were his words of encouragement. Iyong parang, ‘Uy, baka may pag-asa pa ako.’
“He would say that to me and after seeing people from all around the world, ever since then, I was fully committed [to music].
“Now, I send him articles. My songs, I send to him. He wasn’t only a mentor, also a father-figure in that sense.”
Even her decision to launch her Asian music career in Malaysia was partially influenced by Julio.
“Malaysia is actually the first place that Julio Iglesias and I went to when we did the tour.
“And I… After I went there and performed in the first big show, I kept telling myself, ‘I going to come back here one day, and I wanna come back and do my own show.’
“And for the past few years, I kept in touch with some of the contacts that I made there, and I got an agent as well who was able to get in touch with the head of Warner.
“It was only after I finished completing my album on my own— because it’s self-produced— that I started sending them the materials, ‘Hey! It’s my song. Check it out. What do you think?’ And then, I was able to get lucky and get supported.”
After her big event in Malaysia, Krista is eyeing to formally launch her album here in the Philippines via the ABS-CBN Sunday afternoon show ASAP on May.