Lucy Kalantari’s Rockin’ Jazzy EP ‘What Kind of World?’ Features Cellist Son Darius + All-Star Collaborations 

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

If you’re in need of some seriously upbeat grooves, I highly recommend Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats’ What Kind of World?. Lucy’s 5-track EP, her fifth studio album for families, really boosted my spirits this week when I was feeling down. Plus, the record not only features her adorable prodigy cellist son Darius Kalantari (who is 8!) but also Jazzy Ash and Joelle Lurie (of JoJo & The Pinecones).

Lucy Kalantari

Each song is a gem, from the festive “Friendship Party” to “Juntos Somos Fuertes,” a bilingual song honoring Lucy’s own Dominican and Puerto Rican heritage that touches on working together and building great things. It is sung with her son and favorite frequent collaborator Darius Kalantari and features horn players Syreeta Thompson on trumpet and Ron Wilkins on trombone.

We recently caught up with the singer, songwriter, and Grammy-winning producer to learn more about the record. 

Rockmommy: ‘Friendship Party’ is such an upbeat fall jam — and September was kind of a mixed bag. Does music help you stay positive and hopeful?

Lucy Kalantari: Absolutely! Sometimes, life gets in the way of making music and I will totally feel the repercussions of that within a couple of days. Everything feels just a little heavier, emotionally. It goes back to normal once I get musicking again. It’s like the ”apple a day” saying, except with music!

[SEE RELATED: Lucy Kalantari: On Motherhood, Music and Feeling Thankful]

Rockmommy: The song features Jazzy Ash and Joelle Lurie (of JoJo & The Pinecones) — have you been friends for a long time? How did this collaboration come about? 

Lucy Kalantari: We knew of each other through the kindie music scene. Back in 2016, we all gathered for a children’s music industry event, where artists perform together doing whatever they want to show off. Jazzy Ash was paired to perform with Joelle and I was paired with Lard Dog. It was bundles of fun! After that performance, a few people said, “now wouldn’t it be neat if the THREE of you did something together? Maybe an album?” Seeds were planted that night and conversations sprinkled throughout the years. This year, the time felt ripe. Before I wrote the song, I checked in with everyone hoping that the pandemic didn’t change everyone’s enthusiasm over the idea. When I got the resounding “YES!!” the rest became history!

Rockmommy: How’s life with the best cellist on Earth (your son Darius)? Can you tell us what’s going on in his performance world? 

Lucy Kalantari: Haha Darius is a bundle of energy and I’m just trying to keep up with his shine! At 8 years old, he started working on Suzuki Cello Book 7 and he’s absolutely ecstatic. The pieces are more expressive and elaborate, so it’s been really exciting to watch him dive in. He’s also getting ready for a recital in November performing the exciting “Tarantella” by W.H. Squire. On our new EP, “What Kind of World?” not only does he play cello, but he also sings with me in Spanish for a song about community called “Juntos somos fuertes.” He also felt inspired to sing a 3rd part harmony for the track, “Round and Round”! It’s been so great to perform live together in front of an audience again! Slowly but surely, we will be doing it with more frequency, even more than pre-pandemic times. It’s going to be magnificent! 

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

Tiff Randol, aka IAMEVE, on the ‘Unnerving’ Emotions of Pregnancy and Creating a Musical Motherhood Community

By Marisa Torrieri Bloom

“I can hear you … I can feel you breathing,” Tiff Randol, the artist known as IAMEVE, sings with bittersweet longing, her voice filling the airwaves with goddess energy in an epic, windswept electronic soundscape. These are the first few minutes of “Unnerving,” a song and the video about bringing her child into a beautiful, dystopian world. I am spellbound, but I can relate. 

It’s a mixed blessing being a parent in the pandemic century, amid melting ice caps, forest fires, and climate displacement. 

Musician Tiff Randol, also known as IAMEVE, with her young child.

Listening to “Unnerving” brings me to those thoughts, while evoking memories of my youthful EDM days with its au natural, euphoric digital vibe. We recently caught up with the new mom and Mamas in Music founder on how the transition to motherhood’s going – and what’s next.  

Rockmommy: Hi Tiff! For those who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe yourself as an artist (and do you prefer IAMEVE)? 

Tiff Randol: With IAMEVE, musically I tend towards a lot of ethereal, spacey, cinematic sounds with a combination of electronics, voice, and live instrumentation.  I am very visual and love creating stories and painting with sound.  My tendency with IAMEVE is to deep dive into the spirit and psyche, and the world of mysticism with my writing. This particular EP is called “Archetype” and explores spirit archetypes, like the inner child and Mother. Outside of IAMEVE, I’m also composing and work on a variety of projects for film and TV, along with 360/VR projects.  

Rockmommy: Can you tell us more about the song “Unnerving” (which you wrote when you found out you were going to be a mom)?  

Tiff Randol: I wrote and recorded “Unnerving” shortly after our previous president was elected. At the time I was newly pregnant and feeling so incredibly vulnerable and emotional. Hearing the trajectory of our planet with climate change and recognizing the dangers that the little human growing inside me would inherit, in conjunction with watching this disturbing rise of hatred and nationalism in our society, was a chilling moment. When I wrote this song it was very medicinal for me because the fear was (and is) so real and I really need to breathe into that fear instead of looking away to let healing happen. The song is a direct reflection of that interplay moving from those dark places to an overflowing unconditional love and hope. 

IAMEVE

Rockmommy: Mamas in Music is a great outlet! I love that other mom besides me are making niche community sites. Can you tell me about the vision for Mamas in Music? 

Tiff Randol: Likewise! I love that you are creating visibility for mama artists and curating inspiration and content for us through Rockmommy — thank you! 

Right after having my child, I had the realization that there is virtually NO support for new moms in the entertainment industry and such a heap of stigma to confront. So I reached out to another new mama, Mary Leay, and we teamed up in dreaming of ways to create resources, programs, structures and start conversations to support moms in the music world. Ultimately the goal is to advocate for mamas in music and be a voice for change in the industry, so that more mamas are being seen, heard, hired, and supported — and to disrupt old stereotypes. 

Rockmommy: What are your plans for creating music, performing, or growing Mamas in Music? 

Tiff Randol: With Mamas in Music, we have a number of things in the works, but mainly at the moment, we are focused on connecting with other moms and creating a supportive network and working to build partnerships and teams to help the initiative grow. Musically, I’m excited for the release of “Archetype,” I’m doing some composing/scoring and have another release I hope to have out by the end of the year.

Rockmommy: How’s it going with balancing motherhood with work? 

Tiff Randol: The balance of being an amazing mom, keeping my mental and physical health intact, and work has been tricky. Especially during a pandemic, while moving around the globe for my husband’s job. It’s a lot of stop and go, finding new ways to make things work, but also so, so, so worth it even on the toughest days because the snuggles, laughs, sweetness, and heart-melting unconditional love makes me expand in ways I never knew was possible.  

Without a doubt, yes, becoming a mother has changed everything for me. Certainly, those days of sitting endlessly at the computer and tweaking away into the night with no one to care about but myself are over. Time is quite precious and so everything I do has to be really worth it. But in a way, I love that because it’s teaching me to prioritize, work quicker and be savvier. I don’t have time to muff about and drive myself crazy getting things perfect. The importance I used to place on things is just less now because I have this gorgeous being that is more magnificent than anything else I will ever do.   

It’s also caused me to experiment with being more minimal and limiting myself with tools, schedules, and knowing when to call it a day instead of endlessly obsessing over things. Also, I just don’t care as much about what other people think anymore, which takes so much pressure off. So while I may have less time and feel exhausted, I also feel freed up in so many ways. Ultimately, it’s making me a better human and a better artist.  

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

How to Support Your Friends in Bands When You’re Strapped for Time

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Last Thursday I was pumped to see my friend’s band at a local nightclub — and by local, I mean a 30-minute drive from my home. It was only 9 and I had energy and desire, but after a long week, it was dwindling a bit. Plus, Covid. My kids aren’t vaccinated yet.

And as I finished reading a book to my 7-year-old, I found myself yawning and facing the big choice: Do I rally, as planned, and head to the show? Or do I use my remaining energy to watch the Yankees game?

It’s a question I face more and more as a mom, when time is precious. I was born to play in a band and frequent dive bars, but seeing live music often feels like it clashes with my mom expectations: To be home and cheery, tucking my sons into bed. 

One of my sons, when he was younger.

So while I felt physically great and hyped about seeing the band, sleep won. And the next day, I felt terrible.

[SEE RELATED: Finding Time to Practice in the Midst of a Busy Life]

Albeit, this is somewhat in my head. I can’t beat myself up for deciding to lay low in the time of Covid on a school night. Neither can other parents who play music. But among indie artists who’ve yet to score that big breakout hit that brings them to the next level of name recognition, draw is everything. Every single person who is watching you counts. The club owners know it. The booking people know it. And the other bands you play with notice it, too.

I made it to only a handful of live shows this summer, not only because of Covid, but because my kids notice when I’m not home at night. I already practice once a week, so my evenings are pretty limited. I need to choose them carefully. So what can you do when you’re a parent (like me)?

all dressed up for a livestream concert in 2020

After talking to a bunch of my musician friends who are also parents, we came up with this list of the best ways you can support each other when you can’t make a live, in-person event: 

  • Buy band merch. Shows are moneymakers if you’re, say, a one-hit-wonder ‘90s band on a nostalgia tour. But most indie rockers only make a few hundred bucks a show on a good night, which doesn’t include tipping the sound person (always do this!). So far in 2021, I’ve purchased one CD and one T-shirt from bands that my band Trashing Violet has played with. It makes me feel good knowing I’m supporting other artists.
  • Watch livestreamed shows (for more than 5 minutes). If you can’t make it out of the house because you have to be with your family, you can probably still make it to a livestream concert. While the days of sheltering in place are behind us (hopefully forever), whenever I see a show in my newsfeed, I try to stop and listen for at least two songs, and comment. This shows my friends in that band that they rock (and that I care). 
  • Share their posts with friends. Go beyond “liking” all of a band’s posts to actually sharing their videos, news, new-song releases and show info with your people. Retweet like crazy. Add comments for context. Let others discover how great they are. 
  • Be generous with your personal network. While I can’t always show up for every show, I can always share my network. I’ve introduced drummers to deejays, and up-and-coming New York City bands to club owners in my hometown of Washington, D.C., and current home of Connecticut (so they have a few leads should they try to book a tour). Do what you can to help the next band get a leg up.
  • When you do play, stay (as long as possible). On Thursday, Trashing Violet is playing the CT Rocks! Night 1 showcase with four other bands: 49 Feet High, Lucy’s Neighbor, The Wind-Up, and Vicki F (see what I just did there?). It’s a weeknight, and I’ll have lunches to pack and breakfast to make first thing in the morning. But I plan to arrive a half an hour ahead of time and stay through the entire show. And if a band stays for — and cheers for — me, I’ll always return the favor. 

We want to hear from you: What are some of the ways you have supported bands when you couldn’t attend a live show?

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.