Lucy Kalantari Talks About Her New EP and Community as a Source of Inspiration

Lucy Kalantari BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of bklynlibrary.org

Two-time Grammy-winning artist, composer, and producer, Lucy Kalantari, graces the world with a new EP. 

What Kind of World” was released on September 17th on 8 Pound Gorilla Records and features five songs that provide positive lessons for anyone listening. 

Kalantari is the frontwoman and bandleader for Lucy Kalantari & the Jazz Cats, a group of musicians that focus on creating bilingual jazz fit for families. Kalantari is also a mother to an 8-year-old. She is a mentor and a music teacher, allowing others to hone their musical skills.

 

Music as a vehicle for change 

Born to Dominican and Puerto Rican parents, Kalantari’s personal mission is to create music and art that allows, as she told BELatina News, little boys and girls, to understand just how much everyone brings to the table. 

“I wanted to make sure that they could see that and not to let anyone plant a seed of doubt in that.”

“I have a son, and I also think about what he needs to see or hear as he grows up. What do I want him to learn? What do I want him to take away? It doesn’t stop there. It’s also about what would have been helpful for me growing up.” 

The value of little things and community

The Grammy-award-winning story began in the United States, in New Jersey specifically. However, things changed when her parents decided to move to the Dominican Republic when she was younger. 

This experience molded her outlook on the world. 

“The Dominican Republic is very poor, and growing up in a place like that; you appreciate things that people often take for granted in the United States.”

“Simple things like water and electricity. I sometimes had to do homework by candlelight many times because the electricity would go out.”

But it was the value of community that left a long-lasting impact on her and her creative mind. 

“They were very big on making sure you did help people — just the value that you have in your community was very important and instilled very early on. You know that this is not about you or me; it’s about us.”

More than music for children

Being exposed to different environments benefited Lucy Kalantari’s creativity, and it translates into her art form. Her craft vibrates with her passion, inspiring young women, girls, and anyone, really, through the creation of children’s media. 

Since then, she’s moved back to New York.

She stated that she didn’t want to make just any regular kids’ album during her new EP. 

“No, these are foundations for growth. Whether you’re two or 102, I want the listener to feel moved, motivated, inspired, knowing that we each have a part to play in this world.”

Though the ongoing pandemic challenged the process, everyone involved in the project set forth to make it happen. 

“As you may have seen in the news, New York was really impacted by the pandemic, so it was such a blessing to get together and make music. It felt like magic.”

Her determination prevailed nevertheless. 

Maximizing her perseverance, the music video of theirs ingle, “Juntos somos fuertes,” is a testament to the significance of community. The song, which brings about swing dancing and joy, is portrayed through a home video, which has already been launched. 

“I reached out to my Dominican friends, my Puerto Rican family, and everyone sent me clips for almost the entire music video.”

“And that’s what I wanted to bring. It just always comes back to how we are so much stronger than we think — having our community in a song means we can reach higher places.”

Kalantari recalls when she won her first Grammy and what it meant for her and her culture. 

“When I won the first Grammy, I was invited to go to the Dominican Republic where they awarded me un Premio de Descendencia.”

“My mom is from a city called Moca, and they salute all the Descendents of people from the small city who are creating arts and different things around the world.”

But what’s been more captivating is the collective impact that her music and her roots have. 

“This mom came up to me, and she said, ‘Lucy, you know, when you win, we all win, my daughters are looking at you, and they see themselves in you’ —  I was taken aback by that comment.”

But the reality is that our community will only show its power as we continue to show the world our unwavering strength. 

“We got to be what we want to see and keep passing that on.”

Anyone can listen to the five tracks of What Kind of World on all major streaming platforms. 

You can follow Lucy Kalantari on the following as well: