At age 14, Renton resident Kaedyn Kashmir is already living the life of a pop star.
This month, the singer/songwriter is releasing a debut album on which she worked with Warren Huart, multi-platinum producer of The Fray, James Blunt and Aerosmith. Kashmir has been a featured artist on the online music site ReverbNation and she just appeared on KING 5’s “New Day Northwest” talk show.
Things are moving fast for the eighth grader at Northwood Middle School.
“It was an incredible experience,” Kashmir said of her first TV appearance. “Honestly, you know, first time doing that sort of thing, so even when I’m on stage performing I get really nervous, but for some reason, up there, I wasn’t.”
Kashmir has been singing since age 2 or 3 and came up with her first tune, she said, at age 3.
“Actually my oldest song on my album is, “Love is Just a Fairytale,” which I wrote when I was 11,” she said.
Kashmir considers the music on her record “pop-ish” and follows the style of singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles. Kashmir sings with a richness much older than her age and listeners will be reminded of Paramore’s Hayley Williams’ vocal style. Williams is Kashmir’s “total celebrity crush” and she looks to Bareilles and Owl City for inspiration musically and lyrically.
Like Bareilles, Kashmir belts uplifting songs about self-esteem and positive vibes. It’s a conscious decision made to incorporate the struggles Kashmir and friends have dealt with while coming of age in 2015.
“’Grin and Bear It’ is probably the most important song to me because that song was kind of about oppressed minorities and being bisexual and transgender; I think it was kind of getting that off my chest,” said Kashmir. “Like for some of my friends, they’re trans too. That song was kind of written for them to say that you’re not alone and basically, quoting from the song,’you can make it through this.’”
Kashmir identifies as gender neutral, meaning as neither female or male. Kashmir’s parents refer to her with plural pronouns – when they can remember or catch themselves.
Kashmir has written three of the five songs on her debut release and “Grin and Bear It” is dedicated to a friend who died, Leelah Alcorn.
“She was one of my friends who killed herself and so I just wanted to write that for people like her, who thought they couldn’t do it,” Kashmir said. “I guess that’s where all my passion comes from, trying really to keep people alive.”
She recorded her first album at Spitfire Studios, in Laurel Canyon, Calif., using the same microphone that Adele and Aerosmith used to record some of their music. Working with Huart was a treat that blew Kashmir away.
“That’s honestly really, really cool,” Kashmir said of the microphone. “I usually don’t get very excited about things, but that’s so cool to me.”
Kashmir plays guitar, cello, the ukulele, a little viola and the piano. She also loves science and enjoys drawing.
“I guess drawing is really important to me; it kind of lets out that stress that’s built up inside me,” she said. “It’s what singing does for me too. It’s just a major stress release.”
Kasmir’s parents are supportive of whatever interests Kashmir pursues as long as it stays fun.
“It’s all about being behind Kaedyn for what they want to do with their life and if that’s school or science that Kaedyn loves, science or music, it’s about supporting that,” said Derek Whitaker, her father, using the plural pronoun when speaking of Kashmir.
Mother Brenda Kashmir is just as proud.
“It’s been really great and the ReverbNation thing is pretty cool,” said her mom. “Being a worldwide featured artist, when they just released the CD – she’s got a lot of attention.”
Kashmir is signed with the label Play Like A Girl Records. She invites the community to her CD release party for “Sliding Doors” at 5 p.m., March 15, at Trattoria Amante, 131 Front St., Issaquah. There will be live performances by Roger Fisher, founding member of the band HEART; Roni Lee, of Venus and the Razorblades and the Runaways; Lynn Sorensen, of Bad Company and Spike and the Impalers and Baby Blonde, among others.