From idol to nightmare : Call Me Karizma

When I was younger, I looked up to many different artists and musicians in bands. Growing up is hard and finding music you relate to can help you through the tough times. Hearing a song that helped you really is a beautiful moment, you feel like your a part of something in the crowd, you feel less alone, you feel home.

Recently, I spoke to a few girls who have been hurt by a local Minnesota artist by the name of CallMeKarizma after seeing numerous threads on Twitter, as well as this video  of multiple fans coming out and speaking their truths about how he has treated them.

These tough times and happy feelings seem to be what Karizma started writing and releasing new music about. It was then things quieted down about his accusations years prior. Although he posted a phone conversation between him and a fan to “clear the air,” that in my opinion proved just how nasty he is to his supporters.

Fast forward to 2019, he has a tour planned; hundreds of his supporters buy tickets, he then cancels the remainder of his tour. Fans began calling venue, informing them of how he treats his fans, including those who are underage, and those venues began dropping his shows. In the following days, Karizma cancelled the remainder of the tour to announce he would be doing basement/house shows, where it’s “free” and “any donations will go to a charity chosen,” trying to look like a hero, when in reality he is the exact opposite to the fans he hurt — a real life nightmare even.

I interviewed a few fans who came forward about their stories. Before I share those answers, I just want to thank them for being brave and speaking out. I will do everything I can to help protect this music scene, especially those who are younger and often easily blinded at first.

** Trigger Warning : Manipulation / R*pe **

How were you introduced to Karizma’s music?

Fan 1: “I was introduced to his music by some friends.”

Fan 2: “I was introduced through twitter basically, a lot of the people i followed (tøp fans) listened to him including my best friend so i checked him out.”

Fan 3: “I was introduced to Karizma when I saw him open up for the summer set.”

His music is “relatable” to a lot of teens, was it relatable to you?

Fan 1: “yes his music was relatable and that’s the thing, I was a fan of him because of the music not his looks I’ve never been attracted to him.”

Fan 2: “no. honestly i never really enjoyed his music. very weird vibes. but i supported because i know what it’s like the be very small and have no support. “

Fan 3: “of course. I feel like most would considering his lyrics were catchy and about the bad aspects of mental health being normal.”

Did he use your mental health to get closer to you?

Fan 1: “yes he did use mental health to get closer to me and my friends.”

Fan 2: “i think he tried to but im very hard headed and never really responded to him when i liked him”

Fan 3: “100% he did. He confirmed he would talk to me and be there for me and would listen, then flipped around and used it against me to manipulate me and gaslight me into believing that I was the bad guy.”

How old were you when you first spoke with Karizma? Was he aware of your age?

Fan 1: “I was 16 when we first spoke and met, he was very well aware of my age.”

Fan 2: “i was 18 when he first started talking to me but 17 when i found him and yes he knew my age, he asked me via dm and i can send screenshots if you want”

Fan 3: ”I was 16, and yes he knew”

At what point did he make you feel uneasy with the things he said to you?

Fan 1: “He made me feel uncomfortable when he started talking sexually to me after everyone fell asleep.”

Fan 2: “he never personally made me feel uneasy but when he started saying weird manipulative things to my friend i knew something was up”

Fan 3: “when he started making comments about my looks and started saying inappropriate things to me and my friends about how we ‘ probably give good head’ and ‘that we like dick’ and asked us to kiss.”

Did he force you to do anything?

Fan 1: “yes he did force me.”

Fan 2: “no, he did not.”

Fan 3: “not physically but more so through manipulation yes.”

Did he threaten you, or laugh off something you know was serious?

Fan 1: “yes he did, he said “I do this all the time and get away with it” right before raping me.”

Fan 2: “he never threatened me, but he was an ass to me. i was with him in nj and had to be home for my mom asap and he was laughing at it and just called me annoying because he wanted to hook up with my friend who was there and i was ‘getting in the way of that’  ”

Fan 3: “yes he threatened to get me blacklisted through another photographer in the scene by lying about what happened in my situation.”

Have you received a cease and desist letter from him, and have you filed a police report against him?

Fan 1: “no I have not received a letter and no I have not filed a report because I feel like they won’t believe me, and the incident happened in another state.”

Fan 2: “no I have not.”

Fan 3: “I have not, and I’m planning what courses I can possibly take to hopefully build a proper case”

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Interview w/ upcoming artist Saus

What inspired your start, and at what age did your interest in music start ?

I picked up a pen at the age of 9, I had watched family members pursue what I didn’t take seriously until age 16. I fell in-love with Hip-Hop early on but older generations kept my knowledge on music diverse.

For someone who has never listened to you before, what song do you suggest they listen to first ?

If I had to recommend one of my songs to a new listener I’d chose ” Vibe” ft L.A.F & BroGod prod deem0beats. The song brings positive energy and vies with its catchy chorus, it makes for a good first listen.

Turn the tables, if you’re attending a concert/show as the concert goer, what is the best show/ tour you’ve seen to date?

The best shown I’ve seen so far was J.Cole Forest Hills Drive Tour. He is an incredible artist and performer and sets the bar high for his peers.

State/country you would like to play but haven’t yet?

A European tour is a small yet major goal of mine.

Bucket list venue to perform at ?

Being from New York, Madison Square Garden is one venue I’d love to perform at, and sell out.

Do you have any upcoming performances?

I do not have any upcoming shows but I am always willing and looking for new opportunities.

How did you and Dan Moody meet ?

I moved onto his block in Rosebank, Staten Island NY in 2007, We were neighbors for seven years before we linked up to collaborate. The rest is history..

who/what influences you most?

The people I make music with are incredibly talented and we influence each other by keeping it real with new ideas and criticism.

How do the words at the end of the ” worth it ” music video relate to your own life?

” The choices we make in life come back full circle.”, the message I am trying to spread with both the quote and the video was that you might not realize it but even the smallest decision can alter your future. I believe that not only myself, but most people can say they feel the same.

Lastly, anything to say to your fans?

Id like to tell my fans to, shoot any shot given, to manifest positive thoughts and never let anyone hold you back.

Watch Saus’s video for “Worth It” below :

 

Interview w/ Saus, questions by Cristine Trimarco

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Interview w/ Cayley Spivey of Small Talks

The With Confidence and Broadside headlining tour of 2018 had one of my favorite line ups, also including Sleep On It and Small Talks. Even with sickness spreading all across these poor artists, Cayley Spivey hung out in a cold, dark alley of Lawrence, Ks with us to talk about her band’s latest single and upcoming album. I, being the social media addicted college student, I am, looked all throughout Small Talks pages and immediately found the greatest respect for everything Small Talks stands for. In planning the interview with Cayley I wanted to dig deep on her perspectives and opinions on not just this crazy talented tour, but also her own music and even the connection between music and mental health. We wanted to make this just A Conversation Between Us. (So sorry. I had to. It was the perfect opportunity.)

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Lexi: This might be weird, but I used to be a camp counselor so I always have to ask this question as an icebreaker. If you were any kind of chair, what kind would you be, and why?

 Cayley: Oh my God. Probably an antique chair. I just feel like those old looking ones you find at thrift stores, where they’ve just been through some stuff? That’s me, that’s me for sure.

They have some stories behind them.

 Yeah, yeah. For sure! I just feel like those chairs, I mean I like the floral patterns too. I don’t know. It’s my soul chair. I could have said a bean bag also, like on a good day I’m a bean bag.

I love it. I’ve just started saying I’d be a hammock just so I can relax.

So you said you’re not used to the weather here, but what is the weirdest part of this cross country tour for you, or the craziest parts of it?

We started in California so it was really hot and it felt like summer, then we ended up in like  snow and ice, and then we ended up back on the east coast where it’s like kind of middle ground. So basically the most crazy thing about it is the insane weather changes.

I’m guessing that’s why everyone is so sick lately?

Everyone on this tour is sick, they’re all going through some stuff. I can’t believe we’ve made it as far as we have. Like my band’s been out an extra month because my band is actually from Chicago so we had to do some practice dates beforehand.

And what’s the craziest thing that’s happened on this tour so far?

The craziest thing that’s happened is the crowd reaction to us has been really crazy. Like people have been picking up on us really, really well, and we’ve been given lots of gifts. I got a guitar on this tour, that’s definitely the craziest thing. Somebody made a replica of my guitar, and matched it, and gave it back to me and I thought that was the craziest thing ever. We’ve also gotten four penny boards gifted to us. People are just so nice, they’re really taking care of us. We even got an olive garden the other day, so just the kindness really has been really shocking.

For Small Talks, what is the hope for the future?

The hope for the future is really want to stick on this support tour train and get on with some other bands that we really like, and hopefully do a headliner soon. Our album’s coming out February 1st and we’re really, really excited about what’s going to happen with that. So basically just, gaining a fan-base and reaching out to more people is the main goal. One day playing arenas you know, all that cool stuff!

The album was actually one of my next questions! I know it’s “A Conversation Between Us,” what are the main points you’re hoping to say with that album?

Okay, that album is a bit of a big concept for me. I like concept albums, I prefer them more than anything else. I like everything to have a meaning and to make sense and tie together. A Conversation Between Us, when I wrote the album, I felt like it was something that was very personal to me and I felt like it was having a conversation between me and our audience. It was very important to me that I titled it appropriately. The concept behind it is actually like the human condition, which is pretty much just everything that makes up who we are as people and why we do things that we do. I have a keen interest in philosophy and people in general. Small Talks has always been about people and I love writing about other people. I don’t like writing about myself but I like the people I meet. So it’s just about people.

That was probably one of my favorite things I noticed when I was stalking you guys, was how philosophical everything was and how heart felt it all seemed. With that, what is one thing that you would want to say to your younger self?

It’s gonna be okay. I would overthink all the time, I still do, but younger me thought that nothing would ever work out the way it did, but I was so ambitious. I’m still ambitious, I’m a very ambitious person. So I’ve always had outlandish goals, but I just wish I could go back and tell myself that “Hey, they things you’re struggling with now, are things that you are going to take to the top with you later.” I learned that everything that I hate about myself, or that I was ever bullied for, or that I ever had to deal with roadblocks for are the things now that as an adult people admire the most about me and have pushed myself and my band to where we are. I don’t know, I wish I could just tell myself like, “Be you. You’re doing okay. You’re going to be fine.”

I love that. That’s a good one. Then getting to your music again, you just released Nicotine and Tangerines. I have been listening to it, just trying to figure out exactly what it means. Like, really trying to get in depth in it. In one of your tweets you said it was your favorite, so just talk about that. What does it mean to you?

Nicotine and Tangerines to me, which this is very rare. Usually I try to keep things secret because I want people to take it however they please, but I’m going to tell you this time because I really feel like it. We wrote the music first so I didn’t have actual lyrics for this when it was written. We just wrote it from a vibe I was feeling. Me and my cowrite, Eli, so it’s just me and this other guy who write together. When I was listening to it, it gave me the vibe of an indie movie. One of those ones that these teenagers run away or something, just go on an adventure, and my favorite thing when I write is to look at ordinary things and think about how interesting it would be if it was like “this.”

So I made up this whole summer story of running around and being crazy to fit an indie movie, and some of the verses, like specific lines show that. I wrote a line that was like, “You’re just here for the show.” That’s kind of a reference to some of the surface level stuff that we deal with. Like people don’t really get to know me, they just know the band, and like you’re just here for the entertainment. You don’t really care about me. It’s a tough one.

 

That so awesome, I’m so happy you shared that. And just one more question. We work a lot with music and mental health. Just how that affects someone’s mental health, how it can help them. How would you say music has helped you personally, mental health wise?

Oh my God. I hate to say this, because I think it’s discouraging, but without music I absolutely 100% don’t believe I would still be here for sure. Basically, I think a lot of people who deal with things like depression, it’s very isolating, and it can put you in a spot where you sort of lack identity. A lot of people take that sadness and make it their identity, like they make it who they are. They’re like, “I am nothing more than this illness I am dealing with.” Luckily, I found music, and it became an outlet for everything I deal with and anxiety and things like that. It being that outlet gave me a bit of an identity and put me more in touch with myself, which is something I think is really important.

Also, that’s another thing about the album. I want to encourage introspection in other people. Introspection is basically just being in touch with who you are and knowing yourself, because so many people push their external opinions and they look for external validation. They look for other people to tell them what they need and what they want but it’s like, no. You know what you want, you just have to love yourself and be in tune with yourself. Music gave that to me because I know music is what made me feel like I was alive, and it made me happy, and it helped me fight depression, and it helped me find an identity. Yeah, without music I would feel like I wasn’t even a person.

 

I ended this interview with both of us saying we were happy I stalked Small Talks a bit to see the deeper side of the music. After this freezing cold interview, I was almost ran over with one of those little moving dollies while I was just trying to get back to the crowd. It was entertaining for sure, but also just showed me just how close and genuine those a part of this tour was. This show was one of my favorites of the year, and hearing more from Cayley Spivey really made it stand above. I will be listening to Nicotine and Tangerines on repeat until February 1st when A Conversation Between Us comes out. Trust me, you should be too.

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Small Talks| Photography & Interview courtesy of Lexi Rodriguez

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