Paju Kai is a Finnish independent singer-songwriter and a visual designer.
Her music is a mix of Alternative, Pop, R&B and Hip-Hop made with lush sounds and witty lyrics.
With her single and music video, “Crooked,” out now, we took some time to hear more from Paju Kai. Read below to learn more about Paju Kai, the story behind her latest single, and what’s to come.
Hi Paju Kai! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
Paju is my birth name and Kai is just the first three letters of my last name. Kaitajärvi might not be that international and easy to remember, haha. I actually really like Kai as a name by itself, it’s really beautiful.
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I’m currently in Helsinki, Finland.
How is your life right now?
Hectic and really cold. It’s really cold in Finland right now, and I’m really sensitive to coldness. Can’t wait to get new socks. I have lots of cool songs coming up in the spring! I’m so excited to work on them right now.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
I’ve loved music since I was little, and my family is very musical. For the longest time, I thought that I would pursue a career in visual arts, but I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter and an artist. I don’t recall when the exact moment was, but I think I was in my early twenties. I think I’m a little bit of a late bloomer.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
I think so, yeah. We had a lot of R&B music playing at home growing up and that’s my biggest influence.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
A mix of Alternative, Pop, R&B and Hip-Hop made with lush sounds and witty lyrics.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
Yeah, visual arts like I mentioned. I draw and paint and do some graphic design stuff. I also listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. They are terrifying!
Who are some of your main musical influences?
Probably, right now, Ariana Grande and Janet Jackson. My influences vary from time to time, but it’s always R&B artists.
What are some of your future music career goals?
I want to tour outside of Finland! I also would love to see my songs played on radio stations around the world.
Now onto your release, “Crooked.” What inspired this song?
Early 2000’s Pop songs and Disney villains.
What is “Crooked” about in your own words?
It’s about a self-aware, manipulative person who takes almost pride in being crooked like that.
How did the music video for “Crooked” come about? What was your vision for the video?
Me and my photographer friend, Lumi Hartikainen, planned and shot the video last spring. I wanted to create two different scenes and looks that portray the two-faced nature of the storyteller in the song.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Crooked?”
I wish that I can take them on a journey. To me, songwriting is storytelling, and I want to create worlds for the listener to dive in. I have a very vivid imagination, so that’s how I experience all music. I wish to give that feeling to my listeners as well.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
I think, right now, just the fact that I’m releasing music. For someone who is an indie artist and are not that familiar with the industry or the people in the industry, it can be very intimidating. However, if there’s someone wondering if you should release music or not, I think you should just do it. It will teach you a lot.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
Probably to not take myself too seriously when it comes to art, but to take myself seriously as a living breathing person who needs care and human connection.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
I’m releasing a new single on the 17th of December called, “Subjects of Love Letters.” It’s a very emotional R&B/Electropop ballad. You should definitely check that out!
Where can we follow you on social media?