Kelis Arlene, I Don't Belong, single, song, music, artist interview

Artist Interview: “I Don’t Belong” by Kelis Arlene

Q: What inspired you to write “I Don’t Belong”?

KELIS ARLENE: I’ve always struggled with connecting with others. It’s something that became very clear to me [at] the beginning of my school years, especially after having experienced bullying. Additionally, my fear of not making it as a singer-songwriter definitely shines through in the track because I feel that pursuing that dream is my life’s sole purpose. I know that sounds dramatic, but making music is what fulfills me and makes me who I am. For that reason, “I Don’t Belong” is a very intimate song for me.

Q: What influenced you to write “I Don’t Belong”?

KELIS: I generally process everything that’s going on inside of me and what happens around me in the songs I write. This song, in particular, shows a side of me, which is probably the cause [of] many of my problems. I felt that it was time to confront myself and face the truth. So to circle back to that question, I am my own influence.


Q: What made you want to share it with the masses?

KELIS: To be honest, I was scared to share such private matters with the world. But I figured all that [was] simply a part of me. And I’m sure many people can relate [to] this sentiment, so if I can make at least one person feel seen and represented by sharing this song, that is enough for me.


Q: You composed such a beautiful song, and I’m surprised it happened at such a young age. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re 16. Is music something you see yourself doing in the long run?

KELIS: First of all, thank you very much! I wrote the song at 16, but I’m actually 17 now. As I’ve already said, I don’t only see myself doing it in the long run; it’s actually more of an active goal and dream of mine to pursue music. Of course, there’s the risk of losing that passion for music once it becomes a career; it’s a tough business, after all. But wouldn’t life be so boring if there weren’t any challenges?


Q: How do you envision your music impacting listeners emotionally?

KELIS: I, of course, hope that people can empathize with or even identify themselves in my music and lyrics. But if it’s neither of those, I obviously hope that people like the sound of my music itself. I’m especially excited to see how my next few songs will be received. I personally think they’re a huge improvement.


Q: When you’re not doing music, what can we expect to see Kelis Arlene doing for fun?

KELIS: The boring option would probably be to say meeting up with friends and going out. Though I also do that, I’d say that I am very much focused on music. It’s what I do every single day, and I’ve been doing it for some time now, too, with 6 years of vocal training and all. It’s one of the only things I can genuinely focus on for hours a day. Other than that; I’m also very interested in abstract art and have been dabbling in that recently.


Q: Who are your influences?

KELIS: Billy Joel is a very inspiring personality to me. “New York State of Mind” is a favorite of mine. But when I make music, I feel like I’m very in tune with myself with how I’ve developed my own style over the years. But I suppose, subconsciously, you always take some sort of inspiration from other songs or artists.

Tom Odell is also a very big influence on me. His songs are so pure and it makes me so emotional. I think you can really feel his feelings and his passion.


Q: What do you have to say to those listening to “I Don’t Belong”?

KELIS: Sending very big hugs to all of you, and know you’re never alone with what you feel!

Interviewed by Taylor Berry





Join Our Mailing List

to learn about emerging artists