Kaya Stewart Can’t Shake Those Feelings on “I Hate Falling in Love”

Love is a revolving theme for Kaya Stewart.

Videos by American Songwriter

In 2014, she was “In Love with a Boy” on her first single. Now, six years into more amatory bliss, her love affairs have matured as she explores the heart swells, and sometimes aches, of amore on “I Hate Falling in Love.”

“Falling in love is such a huge part of growing up, and it evokes so many emotions that sometimes it’s overwhelming,” says Stewart. “I wrote the song about all those awkward and scary moments that come along with it that made made me feel like ‘I Hate Falling In Love.’”

Following up the more sultry soul of “California,” Stewart finds herself exploring relationship woes around the R & B beat of “I Hate Falling in Love.” Written with Stewart’s boyfriend and her brother, who both produced the track, there’s a realization that everything isn’t always perfect in love.

Now 20, love has always had a profound effect on Stewart, who admits that when she wrote her 2015 debut In Love with a Boy, she was was younger and inexperienced in love, so the music was a direct reflection to her first reactions to its emotional trip.

“Whether I’m falling in love or breaking up with someone or just meeting someone, love has such a huge effect on me,” says Stewart. “It really changes things for me and makes my life feel so different. I am always gravitating towards writing about it, because it’s such a big emotion. It’s something I don’t think will ever leaves us. I still think about my crushes when I was in seventh grade.”

Literally and figuratively, the video portrays how love can often leave one “beat up,” with a bruised and bloodied Stewart crooning I’m falling too deep / Now I’m just under water / So you’ll just be a stranger.

“I wanted to look like you look like when you break up,” says Stewart. “A couple years ago, I went through a breakup, and it like physically affected me. I was physically not feeling well. I was just so sad about this breakup and everything that was happening to me and was also thinking ‘how could I spin this in a way?’” 

Born in London and raised in Los Angeles, Stewart started writing at the age of 6 and admits she had a lot of growing up to do from the time she was working on In Love with a Boy in her teens. In retrospect, Stewart realized that she hadn’t quite developed her sound yet, and eventually explored living, and co-writing, in Nashville. 

Kaya Stewart (Photo: Marcus Cooper)

“I knew I was a good writer, but I didn’t know what I wanted to write and what I wanted that to sound like,” says Stewart. “I needed to take a break and explore what I want to do and what I want to sound like. I ended up going to Nashville when I was 17 and decided to stay there and write songs until I figured it out.”

Writing is a weird process for Stewart, particularly since silence (not music) is of utmost importance in her process. “I will usually get a melody first, and in order to write the lyrics, I can’t have any music playing that will distract me, or else I will just get confused,” she says. “Some people want the track playing in the background so they can get the vibe. Instead, I come up with the melody, and then I need to go away in silence and write lyrics.”

Stewart adds, “I started out writing short stories and poetry before I started writing music, so I think I just got used to writing in a quiet environment. When it came to writing my own music, I just took the same approach.” 

After her brief stay in Nashville, in the end, Stewart decided to stay home, which has always been Los Angeles. Growing up in California has had a much bigger impact of her as an artist than she ever imagined since her dad, The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, moved the family there from London when she was 4. 

“I’ve had the opportunity to move away so many times, and I’ve thought about it, but I’ve never moved,” says Stewart. “I think it’s because I grew up here, and I’m a creature of habit, and I like to be around things that I know.”

She adds, “California is forever, in my mind, home. I can’t imagine living somewhere else and not calling this home anymore. There’s also something, as a creative person, about being able to go to the beach and also go to the snow within like an hour in each direction. I get inspiration from that. If I’m in a writer’s block, there’s always somewhere I can go where I know that I will be inspired.”

Now, back home in LA, Stewart is sifting through two years’ worth of song fragments and recorded tracks that she finally wants to release on a new album. “I have some stuff from two years ago that I’m pulling out now, because I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to go back into the studio,” she says.

“I like to really spend time on a project before I put it out,” says Stewart. “I think this project is a step in reintroducing myself to the music world. It’s so much more, and I’m already thinking about writing the next one. I’m glad to be back in the loop.”

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