KHA's Debut Album "Retrospective Love" Is A Soulful Masterpiece On The One Who (Thankfully) Got Away
Born and raised in the Washington DC area, KHA is a singer and songwriter with a vast vocal range that is soulful, smooth, and powerful. She has performed at various notable venues in DC like The White House and The Kennedy Center, and at significant events such as the 53rd Presidential Inauguration Ceremony on the steps of The U.S. Capitol. KHA has also sung in different countries for many international audiences, and she continues to share her soulful pop style with all her fans around the world.
Recently, KHA released her debut album "Retrospective Love" and it’s a soulful masterpiece about the one who (thankfully) got away. Her thoughtful lyrics and compelling melodies match perfectly with the brilliant musical arrangements of each song. And KHA’s powerhouse vocals bring all the elements of this incredible record together, making it a truly unforgettable production.
This reflective and empowering album begins with "The Hurting Kind" – a dynamic opening song that showcases the retro soul and powerful pop tone that defines KHA. With lyrics about realizing the truth behind a fairytale relationship, KHA sets the tone for her fiercely solid album with this first song. As she perfectly transitions into the next track, KHA delivers a sassy performance with "Lose My Number" – the ultimate ‘know your worth girl power’ song! The hook is simple and direct – ‘just lose my number, no don't you call me anymore, hang up the phone, leave me alone, we've been through all this before’ – and it very clearly paints a picture of a woman who is no longer interested in a man’s emotional back-and-forth. This song will no doubt be relatable and relevant to anyone and everyone who has ever been in a seemingly never-ending on-and-off again relationship, and the addictive melody and next-level musical arrangement will certainly grab every listener’s attention.
From sassiness to tenderness, KHA’s third track "Let You Down Easy" is a soulful tune about the heartache of being on the giving end of unrequited love, which is a surprisingly sweet contrast to the general tone of her album. This song is a fitting segue to track number four titled "Brand New Day" where KHA boldly combines old-school vibes, harmonies, and instrumentation with new-school melodies, beats, and spirit. This song is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" mixed with Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass", but with a flare and tone unique to KHA and her own personal brand of pop soul music.
The album’s midway point is an instrumental interlude titled "Lover's Lament" – an immediately attention grabbing 30-seconds that induces images of speakeasy lounges filled with red satin, candle lights, and cigar smoke. All of which leaves you wanting more until you happily realize that the interlude serves as a transition and introduction to the next track. "Trouble" is an up-tempo hit song, and a definite leading single on this album. In this song, KHA delivers a powerful performance as she sings about the vexing circumstances of being played for a fool by a heartless con-man in love. But as the story in the song unfolds, it’s clear that KHA goes from emotional victim to victor by not giving into bitterness and self-pity. Instead, she bounces right back in a badass and rebellious way as she refuses to let heartbreak taint her soul, thus proving once again the importance of having a strong sense of self-worth. In the opening lines of the hook – 'you're nothing but trouble, like a thief in the night, yeah you cut me deep, but I took back the knife' – it’s obvious that KHA doesn’t want or need anyone or anything negative in her life despite how much she must have loved this man. "Trouble" superbly captures the message of her “Retrospective Love” viewpoint, and it highlights the emancipating soulful force of KHA’s entire album.
The final three songs on KHA’s album are far from anticlimactic, and in "Love Me Or Leave Me" she gives a hard-hitting bluesy performance. It’s evident from the lyrics of this song – ‘you keep pulling me in, you keep messing around, got me running in circles, you keep letting me down, I don't know what it is babe, we keep playing these games, and I want to get out’ – that KHA doesn’t have time for heart-rending games. Nor should she! But as much as “Love Me Or Leave Me” is defined by KHA’s directness and confidence, it’s the exposed emotion of the next track that makes it another standout hit on this album. "Waiting Game" is a riveting track from beginning to end, and it’s not difficult to become immediately captivated by the intro of this song. As the piano’s hopelessly love-sick tone eases together seamlessly with the vibrant sound of the horns section, you feel compelled to hum along with the catchy tune. But then the music recedes into simplicity and is accompanied by a beautifully sweet melody as KHA sings ‘I know you know I loved you all these years, you let me chase your heart, you let me cry these tears.’ In “Waiting Game” KHA breaks down the barriers between her strength and her vulnerability, revealing a surprisingly hopeless romantic side of her heart. This song prominently showcases KHA’s sincerity, passion, and authenticity as a singer and as a songwriter. It’s a standout classic with an unforgettable melody, which also rings true for the closing song on this album.
"No Good For Me" is the final track on “Retrospective Love” and its strategic placement is genius! If this album is meant read as a reflective journey through the pages of KHA’s heartbreak book, then this last song is the perfect ending chapter! ‘You're just no good for me, I know you’re just no good for me’ is the single phrase that repeats throughout the hook, and KHA skillfully belts out these lyrics as she demonstrates the full range of her incredible voice. But it’s the haunting tone of her emotions as KHA sings the second verse – ‘I hate you babe, cause you know my heart a thousand ways, I hate you babe, cause you know the things I truly crave’ – that blends powerfully with the grittiness of the guitar, horns, and piano in this section. This hit song will most certainly be a fan favorite, and it’s a defining piece on this album that will no doubt become KHA’s signature sound.
By the end of this album, you realize that KHA took us on her own personal journey from heartbreak to empowerment. And it’s the raw lyricism, compelling vocals, captivating tunes, and relatable messages that combine together masterfully to make “Retrospective Love” an exceptional debut album that everyone will most definitely enjoy.
Click HERE to listen to "Retrospective Love" and check out our interview with KHA below!
Hi KHA! Care to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello! I’m thrilled to be here and am so excited to have Buzz Music bring my debut album “Retrospective Love” to a whole new audience. This project was truly a labor of love, and it was a year long journey of fun and hard work. Prior to officially kicking off production, I had spent a few years bouncing lyrics and melodies around in my head, but it wasn’t until I met Johnny Black that my ideas became a reality. Johnny is an incredibly talented producer and songwriter, and together we brought my songs to life for this album. I really enjoyed all of our writing sessions, which made all of the trips back and forth to Nashville (where I actually recorded the album) extremely worthwhile. It was a wonderful experience getting to work with a Grammy nominated producer like Johnny, who not only produced all of the tracks on my album but he also did all of the instrumentation and arrangements for each song as well. I’m also very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with my friend and long-time vocal producer, Chris Rafetto, who is an amazingly talented sound-engineer too. And when Chris was done with all the mixes, we sent my album to 7-time Grammy nominated Vlado Meller for final mastering who made everything sound perfect! Hopefully your readers will agree once they listen to the whole album. I can’t wait to hear what they think!
Such a unique name! How did you come up with it?
Well, I have my parents to thank! Kha is actually my real name, but I just type it in all caps as KHA to differentiate it for anything related to my music. I figured it’s a unique enough name, so I didn’t see the need to come up with a different stage name. Woohoo!
When did you begin singing? How long have you've been making music?
I started singing and performing at a very young age, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to pursue a career in music. I started off by covering popular songs that I loved from the 60s through today, and I did this as a way to introduce my voice to fans around the world. Of course my main goal was always to write my own music. And once I felt like I had a sizeable enough following, I started working on “Retrospective Love” over a year ago.
Besides singing, do you play any instruments? If so which?
Yes, I play the piano, but it doesn’t come as easily or naturally to me as singing does. I started playing classical piano when I was 5, and I stopped playing the piano when I left for college. I can still pick up sheet music for Chopin or Beethoven and play it reasonably well, but I’m not naturally gifted at piano the way a true musician would be.
Can you personally relate to any of the songs from "Retrospective Love" that you wrote? Why or why not?
Yes, definitely! Every song on my album is autobiographical in some way. Of course, they’re all embellished a bit for the sake of artistry (LOL), but they’re all about a relationship or experience that I had in the past. My closest friends have been able to guess who each song is about, but I doubt any of the four guys who “inspired” my album would have a clue. I’m sure they would all think that the entire album is about them, but it’s not. I named the album “Retrospective Love” because it’s a collection of moments from multiple heartaches that I wanted to reflect on again. But thankfully they’re all moments and heartaches that I don’t feel anymore.
What encouraged you to put this album together?
As I mentioned above, I wrote this album as a way to reflect on my past relationships. And while I don’t feel the heartache and emotions that I felt during each of those moments, I did feel compelled to write this album as my final take on how and why everything ended with each guy. If you listen to the whole album, you’ll know that there’s only one song on there where I was the heartbreaker and not the heartbreakee like the rest of my songs. But what all of my songs have in common is the fact that despite the heartache and pain, I came away from each relationship understanding what not to accept and tolerate. Ultimately, this album is about emotional empowerment.
"Retrospective Love" seems to carry strong and substantial lyrics on heartbreak, which song was the most challenging for you to execute?
“No Good For Me” was the most challenging song by far, both vocally and execution wise. I remember getting choked up a little during not only the writing sessions but also during the recording session. And when I heard the first rough of the song (before it was mixed), I started crying. This song makes me emotional for a number of reasons. Partly because the words and the melody had been rumbling around in my mind for years before I started working on it officially, so hearing it out loud was overwhelming in a good way. But the main reason this song makes me emotional is because I still somewhat harbor the sentiments in this song.
Do you have any personal favorites on the album? Why?
Goodness. This is a really tough question. I feel like I birthed every song on this album, and how can you be expected to choose a favorite child?! LOL. If I have to pick, however, I’d say “No Good For Me” for reasons I mentioned above, and “Trouble” because I love how that song plays with different tempos and tones. It’s such a great “I’m not gonna take your nonsense” kind of song!
How did you determine where you wanted to chronologically place the songs on the album?
I have Johnny Black to thank for that. He basically locked himself in his studio for hours and listened to every song repeatedly until he came up with the perfect song order! We debated the final three songs a bit, but ultimately his original recommendation felt right. I definitely agreed with him about the importance of sound and vibe progression playing the main factor in choosing the song order. Story-telling was important too, but it took a back seat to which songs sounded best next to each other. The song order was less about chronology of events, and more about mood. We wanted the listener to feel a certain way from beginning to end.
From your artist perspective, what was the main message of the album you wanted to promote?
That it’s always important to learn from your past hardships, regardless of it was your fault or someone else’s fault. And that it’s ultimately a valuable lesson, and nothing more. I know it feels hopeless and dreary when you’re in the thick of your heartbreak, but it’s really true what they say – time heals all wounds – and emotional scars should serve as helpful reminders of what you should not be willing to endure in present or future relationships.
Are you planning on releasing any music videos alongside any of these tracks!?
Definitely! I’ve already released one music video for “Brand New Day” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBm530tW-0I), and I will for sure be doing more music videos in 2019 for a handful of other songs from the album. I have a bunch of concepts in mind, but I just need to sit down and figure out production schedule and timing. Stay tuned!
How excited are you for the upcoming year of 2019?
VERY EXCITED! I have a number of things lined up for next year like doing more music videos and live performances, revamping my web site and social media, putting out KHA branded merchandise for my fans worldwide, and so on. But most of all, I’m excited to see how far “Retrospective Love” goes next year. It’s my hope that my album reaches many different audiences both here and abroad, and not for commercial reasons, but because I just want to bring really good music to everyone. In creating this album, it was important to me that my songs were not only authentic and relatable in meaning, but that they had thoughtful lyrics and great melodies as well! I’m really pleased with how everything turned out, and I am so excited to share this project with the world!
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