Los Angeles-based artist Cali Rodi released her new single “God Save The Queen” on Aug. 8 — a song of hope for assaulted women. The track was produced by Lindgren (who has worked with Dua Lipa and BTS) and Emily Wright (who has worked with Britney Spears and Katy Perry).
Rodi grew up in Cave Creek, Arizona writing songs in her bedroom and performing in small, smoky bars until she moved to Nashville after graduating high school.
“I was discovered there by guitar god Keith Urban, signed to his publishing company and recently made the big move to the City of Angels,” Rodi said. “The soundtrack of my youth was Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Paramore, and I think those influences shine through in my music.”
Growing up, Rodi’s grandma would sit at the piano, and the young singer would beg her to play Britney Spears songs so she could sing along while dancing around with her shirt tied up, copying the style from the “Baby One More Time” music video.
“Performing has always been an extension of me. On my 9th birthday, I got my first electric guitar. From that day forward, I locked myself in my room every day after school, learning new chords on the internet until my fingers were literally bleeding,” Rodi said. “Every day, I wake up stoked to create something new musically. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that passion.”
Every day is a new adventure for the artist. She’s either in a songwriting session, jumping between creative meetings or recording vocals in the studio with her vocal producer, Emily Wright. “In my downtime, I love to hike or go to pilates class before the pandemic struck. There’s a lot of sushi consumption in there too,” she said.
The songwriting process for Rodi begins with a concept. She tends to lean into ideas that can potentially have a double meaning or twist to make it interesting. From there, the singer either writes chords on guitar and comes up with melodies or brings her concept to a songwriting session with another songwriter or producer to bring it to life.
“Collaborating with other writers is so rewarding because you get to bounce ideas off of one another,” Rodi said.
(Photo: Cali Rodi)
The idea for the artist’s song “God Save The Queen” emerged when she was assaulted on the streets of Los Angeles on her way to a writing session. “I wasn’t physically hurt, but emotionally it shook me. No one came to help when I screamed. This is my ‘can a lady get some help around here?’ anthem.”
The current generation will hopefully get a taste of nostalgia in “God Save The Queen” from the very first note. Rodi said she wanted the track to have a “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson vibe in the intro, but with fresh sounds and 808’s added in as the song progresses. “I think our generation will relate to the feeling of yelling into the abyss for help.”
In the next five years, Rodi hopes her music reaches as many people as humanly possible. Hearing her song on KISS FM was a huge goal for her, but at this moment, she is laser-focused on constantly releasing new songs.
“With social distancing taking over this entire year, it’s such a bummer to not be able to play these new songs live,” she said.
Rodi’s most unforgettable gig was when she performed at the Tin Pan South Songwriters’ Festival in Nashville. “Keith Urban crashed my set and joined in on the round. That was definitely surreal! Also, a fun fact about me is that I turned down being in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra after college.”
The singer revealed that she had been told “no” many times. Even when she thought she was “ready to break,” she realized that when she looked back, she wasn’t even close.
“I’ve been working at being a Top 40 artist, and I just am starting to feel like I’m coming into my own,” Rodi said. “My advice to other aspiring singers is to be equally patient and impatient, and that the right team of people will find you at the right time. Always stick to what makes you stand out!”
Contact Ron Rocky Coloma at rcoloma ‘at’ stanford.edu.