By: Shayna Andrus
While blasting Spotify’s “Feminist Friday” or Apple Music’s “Breaking Pop” you’ve definitely come across Cali Rodi’s first single, Party Favor. Openly addressing the expectations and pressure often put upon women to go home with guys at the end of the night, this song is a real feminist treat.
I first heard of Cali while watching a livestream of the Taylor Swift Tribute concert that took place in Nashville, TN. With her high energy and welcoming stage presence, Cali completely KILLS her live performances. When Cali agreed to do this interview with us I may have fangirled, just a little bit. We had the pleasure of chatting with her about her inspirations, writing process and a sneak peek into what the future may hold.
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What sparked your passion for music?
Cali: I always loved music. My mom kept a baby book throughout my childhood and one of the questions was “what is your favorite song,” and I said, “the ones I make up.” Not much has really changed! I grew up forcing my parents to watch me put on “shows” where I’d tie up my shirts like Britney Spears and dance to her albums top to bottom. My grandma lived with us when I was in elementary school, and when I’d come home she’d sit at the piano and play Aladdin songs while I’d sing with her for hours. When I was twelve, I picked up the guitar and that’s when everything clicked. I’d lock myself in my room and just jam for hours.
You’ve said before that you credit some of your inspiration to both Katy Perry and Hayley Williams, what is it about these artists that inspire you? How do you feel they’ve influenced your creative decisions?
Totally! There’s three artists that I believe really shaped the artist that I am today. Katy Perry is a huge influence for me because I love her blend of sugar pop, empowering messages, and outrageous humor. Hayley Williams is the reason I sing. I grew up playing in bands, and the Paramore catalog is one I know by heart. She’s like the energizer bunny on stage, and she’s without a doubt my favorite female vocalist. Another big inspiration is Taylor Swift. Her ability to write about what she’s going through is unmatched, and studying the way she writes songs definitely played a large role in how I write my own songs.
“Party Favor” is such a relevant song. I feel like I’ve lived the story it describes all too often. Accompanied by a totally dance worthy beat, the lyrics in the song put my feelings into words so eloquently. How did this song come to be? Can you describe a bit of the creation process?
I had the title “Party Favor” for a long time, but I never knew quite what to do with it. Then I saw how a guy was treating one of my friends at a party and it just pissed me off. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. The next day I was in the studio and threw the concept out there to my co-writers and we just ran with it. It’s crazy because we wrote the song before the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements, but by the time it was time to decide which song to release first off my project, I knew “Party Favor” had to have a life RIGHT NOW.
From your success on Radio Disney to your recent publishing deal with Keith Urban, your hard work is clearly paying off. Leading up your recent successes, was there ever a “wow” moment when you noticed that things were on the rise? If so, what did this look like for you?
All I’ve ever wanted to do was play music. I’ve been hibernating in studios for two years now writing every day figuring out what I want to say and how I want to say it. With that being said, finally being able to release my first song was unreal. And the love and support that came with that was overwhelming. I’ve always been a massive Disney fan, so being in their office and hearing them say they wanted to put “Party Favor” in rotation was a big moment for me. As an independent artist, it’s so surreal to hear my song being playing in between Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Halsey songs.
In all creative endeavours there is bound to be obstacles and roadblocks. What keeps you motivated to push past these boundaries?
I’ve been told no a million times. No one turned around for me when I auditioned for “The Voice.” I would get bullied and people would mock my songs in middle and high school. But I think all that fuelled my fire and deep down I always believed in myself and my potential even when nobody else did.
Top 3 songs you’re listening to right now?
Beautiful Trauma by P!nk, Girls On Their Phones by DALES, and Hymn by Kesha!
What can we expect to see from you in 2018? Can you give us a sneak peek into what your new publishing venture will bring?
I just finished shooting a music video for “Party Favor” and I am SO excited for you to see it! I’m also releasing another single in February and a really special duet soon to follow. This is our year. xo Cali