11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Kristen Castro (Wild Heart Club)

Kristen Castro (Wild Heart Club)Maybe sometimes we overdo it when we create musical sub-genres. However, I just have to say that the term Dream Pop sure fits the gorgeous music coming from the talented Kristen Castro in her debut release as Wild Heart Club. Give a listen to the title track of the new LP, “Arcade Back in Manitou” while enjoying the beautiful scenery of this precious place in Colorado.

Kristen is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and the Wild Heart Club LP was primarily written, recorded, and produced by herself. Some of you may remember the Indie-Folk trio Maybe April of which she was a founding member.

Thanks, Kristen, for your 11 answers to the usual 11 questions. Wishing you the best in the coming new year!

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I’m from Simi Valley, a suburb right outside Los Angeles. I went to a music camp in Nashville when I had just finished high school and started an Americana band called Maybe April with some other campers there. We all decided to move together to Nashville a year later to pursue the band. I just remember falling in love with how music was so tangible everywhere compared to how spread a part it is in California. Leaving my family was really hard for me but I knew I needed to be in a place surrounded by musicians.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The first record I ever bought was this UK Edition CD of AFI’s Sing the Sorrow. I had to beg to my parents to buy it for me online because I was way too young to have a credit card. I listened to that record on repeat. The last record I bought was a picture disc vinyl of ABBA’s new record Voyage. Crazy it’s been 40 years since their last album.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

My first concert I ever saw was the Spice Girls. I went with my mom. Her friend gave her these last-minute tickets. I had a blast with her and still have that concert tee. The last concert I saw was at Beer Joint in Nashville. It’s a super tiny, smoky venue but the music there was crazy good. Think Robert’s Western World but way cooler.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

A Brothers Osborne star would be killer. They’re doing a lot of for country music with their honesty. I love that T.J. just came out and that there’s been nothing but support for him. John Osborne is my favorite guitarist in Nashville, he’s stupid talented. They’re continuing to pave the way for more LGBTQ artists in country music and that’s been a long-awaited necessity.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

I lived on the East Side for like five years so I’m pretty biased to the places over there. Favorite coffee spots are Barista Parlor and Bongo Java East. For pizza, it’s Five Points Pizza, Smith & Lentz, and Tailgate Brewery. After the tornado it was really great being back at those places and seeing the east side come alive again.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Even though it’s a bit bittersweet, my favorite record to come out of Nashville is a record called Ptarmigan. It’s a Folk Americana album that was captured beautifully. I got to tour a lot with the artist that made that record so playing those songs over and over made me love that album even more.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

Five Points Pizza’s coming in hot again. I always went to the slice window on the way home from a late night out. I had a lot of friends who worked there so it was always fun getting to see them and potentially getting a free slice or basil lemonade.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Ooh, this is a good one. I used to work at the Listening Room and loved seeing all the songwriters come through there. So, I’d have to pick my favorite writers I used to see there, Laura Veltz, Phil Barton, and Emily Weisband. They’re brilliant, I’ve only played with Phil before and would kill to play with Laura and Emily.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I love playing at the Basement and City Winery. I have so many memories there playing with old bands and as a session player for friends. The Basement is a total vibe and the City Winery’s sound is absolutely gorgeous.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.

Oh man if Lori McKenna moved here that’d be fantastic. She’s a brilliant writer and seeing her gigs all the time would be rad. She is the queen of sad songs. I remember running into her at the Basement East after her set and she said she thought she didn’t do a good job and laughed. I loved that, even after all the number ones, she’s still super humble and down to earth.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I’m starting recording and sifting through demos for my next record. Before I hit 30, I’m hoping to release two more full lengths. Hoping to be touring with friends again in a post-COVID future. My long-term dream has been to open a studio, I don’t know many females who run their own studios and it’d be awesome to encourage others that they can be their own producer and engineer. I want to create a space where my friends and other outsiders in Nashville feel safe and encouraged musically.

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