KAINA and Sen Morimoto get vulnerable on new single “Could Be a Curse”

KAINA blends a variety of cultural traditions and musical influences into a sultry prayer of a track: “Could Be a Curse.”

Chicago songwriter and producer Kaina Castillo, aka KAINA, released her debut solo EP 4u last year. She’s returned in 2019 with a knockout string of soulful, R&B-inflected singles off her forthcoming full-length record. The latest single, “Could Be a Curse,” is a sweet and savoury bite of beats and harmonies that features lyrics in English, Spanish, and Japanese.

“Could Be a Curse” starts out with a rhythm of drum machine beats and shakers and flows smoothly into a set of Latin jazz-inspired guitar riffs, all without losing its R&B sensibilities. The track is simple and understated, allowing KAINA’s layered vocals and contemplative lyrics to take center stage.

She begins the track with a chorus in English: “Lay in my bed / lay in my bed / what if I die here / holding my breath?” The refrain echoes throughout the entire piece, building a feeling of longing and uncertainty. The verse that follows is sung in a blend of Spanish and English, KAINA’s native languages, and it’s a deeply personal confession of late-night loneliness.

The track features a verse by fellow executive producer, label-mate, and friend Sen Morimoto, who raps lilting bars of commiseration and sweet reassurance in Japanese and English: “You are not the sum of your fears / fingers trace the back of your ear / tell me what you wanted to hear.” The track as a whole is vulnerable yet strong, building a sense of true intimacy and tenderness without sacrificing expert-level production.

KAINA’s debut full-length record Next to the Sun is out July 12 on Sooper Records. Until then, listen below.

Erin Bensinger

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