Hello Calista! I'm so intrigued by Voice of Aiko, and we loved 'Prescription Dream' the first time we saw the gorgeous video! (click pic link @ the bottom ) To begin with, could you tell me more about Voice of Aiko?
Hey Fran! Of course, firstly my name’s Calista Kazuko I’m a singer/songwriter from London and I’m representing Voice of Aiko today. Voice of Aiko is a new creative collective of musicians, filmmakers, dancers and artists joining forces to campaign for change. An artistic army on a mission! Aiko (Child of Love) is a family name on my Mother’s Japanese side. My dear great Auntie Aiko is in her late 90s and now in a nursing home in California. This project is dedicated to her and to give her a voice. Our mission is to ‘give the silenced a voice’. Our first project is called ‘Prescription Dream’. Working with charities MIND, REST & APRIL, we’re drawing the spotlight on an ongoing global prescription drug epidemic.
How did you meet? And how does your creative process begin?
The Voice of Aiko musicians behind ‘Prescription Dream’ are myself and the incredible Samim, Miguel Toro and Jack Brown. The music is a result of one heady, perfect Summer in Berlin (more music to come!) The genius filmmaker who made the music video is Enya Belak Gupta. Enya and I met and quickly became friends, she’s a total babe! Her powerful film beautifully illustrates the feelings of confusion the protagonist is feeling, trapped in her ‘Prescription Dream’. We all came together in a totally magical, mystical way and the creative process was similarly special. As we’re all over the world there were lots of ideas floating across the online ether!
Do you think the arts (music - film ) should shoulder a bigger responsibility where social issues like drug abuse is concerned?
What drove us to launch this project was hearing the shocking statistics and stories about what potential harm medications prescribed by the doctor can cause and how easily this can be helped by us just talking about it more, allowing people to make informed choices. In England alone there are an estimated 1.5 million people suffering from doctor-induced Benzo drug dependency and more than 1 million patients are taking dependence-forming drugs unnecessarily. Antidepressants are also a major problem and statistics show that roughly 50 Americans die from prescription painkiller overdoses every day. There are great resources online to find out more at: www.benzoinfo.com www.w-bad.org www.april.org.ukwww.mindincamden.org.uk/resources/articles/minor-tranx
We’re also running a weekly vlog ‘Stories’ where people share their personal experiences with prescription drugs. Each story is unique and highlights the potential dangers of a specific medication. You can catch this at: www.voiceofaiko.com/stories (If you would like to offer a story please email: email@example.com) We are what we eat, watch and hear, so we have a huge responsibility as artists to help in any way we can. If we can get more people talking and thinking about the impact prescription drugs can have, our mission will be complete!
That looks amazing! I might be getting involved myself! Finally, would you say that the music industry favours independent artists at the moment, signed or unsigned.. is it easier to get your music out there?
I LOVE being an independent artist right now, there’s no better time for it! The mighty internet allows us to share our music all over the world and find our own armies!
I am in the process of making my debut solo studio album called ‘EMPRESS’ and am loving it! A history of Empresses throughout time this record will be a rollercoaster ride of epic sonic soundscapes! The album is being funded by my friends and fans via Pledge Music. It’s so incredible to be able to share the creative process and to have people so hands on every step of the way.