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Kai Warrior’s immersion into music

The goal was to create a fully immersive musical experience -  so Kai Warrior brought their childhood home to The Orpheum Community Hub on Saturday.

Warrior is a local musician who grew up in Albuquerque. They released their debut EP, “Everything I Know,” on Feb. 3. Their work follows a cyclical motion and outlines the details of childhood, friendship, love and heartbreak, and then circles back to childhood.

“I wanted the EP to feel fully engulfing, and I figured the only way to do that would be to recreate my life in a room,” Warrior said.

In 2020, they began writing the EP, which brings together sounds from home videos and contains lyricism that is spun with grace and eloquence. The piece holds strong instrumentality and confronts themes of pessimism and self-critique.

“It is an amalgamation of my life so far,” Warrior said.

Their sound is influenced by artists like Kara Jackson, Morrow and Corinne Bailey Rae Orion. This past summer, Warrior spent time touring with November Ultra and Leith Ross.

“The musicianship and the lyrical intelligence is just so captivating. I think the way that they describe things, and their ability to be poetic (with) melodies is just so beautiful. I love the honesty in it,” Warrior said.

Being on stage with a band for the first time allowed the reality of their dreams to fully set in, Warrior said. As a kid, Warrior would change the lyrics to songs they listened to before they realized they could start from scratch and write their own.

“I've always found a lot of safety in it. As a child (music) always expressed the things that I felt I couldn't verbally (express), and I think it still holds that importance. Now, it’s just as good (of a) grounding mechanism,” Warrior said.

Writing about their childhood on their EP,  Warrior said, was a good place for their music to begin, but they hope to move beyond it in future projects and tell more stories that are less centered in their life and self-critical.

“I was going through a (phase) of pessimism within myself,” Warrior said.  “(I wrote about) my flaws like, ‘oh my God, I'd love to fix this’, very obsessively. I'd love to get into a more positive, carefree sort of writing,” Warrior said.

During the tour last summer, they realized they need to feel completely comfortable to write - a space their childhood bedroom provided for their EP, Warrior said.

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“It's all written in my bedroom, my childhood bedroom. And I think that is very reflective of all of the contents,” Warrior said.

Warrior first released a recording of their track, “For the Both of Us,” on TikTok and received an overwhelming response from people asking them to release it.

Not as big of a fan of the track as their followers were, Warrior set the song aside — until a collaborator brought the piece up when finishing the EP’s production. Warrior changed the song from a piano ballad to a guitar piece and the song found its spot on the EP.

Their goal for this year is to participate in more collaborations.

“It's so nerve-racking — to share your art with another person, especially if you respect them,” Warrior said.

When they are not writing and engulfing themself in music, Warrior said they spend time baking, particularly focusing on focaccia right now, and using other creative outlets like fashion to express themselves.

“Everything I Know” is available to listen to on Spotify and Apple Music.

“It's beautiful to be able to look back and no longer feel that way. I feel like it just gives me hope for any of my sort of blockages that I (experience). I can get through it,” Warrior said.

Maddie Pukite is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at on Twitter @maddogpukite 

Maddie Pukite

Maddie Pukite is the 2023-2024 editor of the Daily Lobo. 

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