Artist Spotlight: Cain Lofton


Cain Lofton (she/they) is an artist, songwriter, and producer from the South Side of Chicago, currently living in Baltimore. Although genreless by nature, Cain describes their music as stemming from the "Soul Imaginary," incorporating sounds and influences from their experience growing up deeply entrenched in the Chicago church music scene. Their debut EP9,” coming early 2022, is a project aimed at creating an honest space for Cain’s audience to take a breath and return to themselves. The project (produced almost in its entirety by Cain) delivers jazzy interpretations of pop and R&B sounds with self-reflective intimate writing that peaks into how Cain processes emotions--even the less approachable ones.


We got a chance to chop it up with Cain and talk about how location brings inspiration to their music, the process of writing a debut project, their recent single "Stuck" off their debut EP, and advice to young musicians trying to break through into the industry.

Introduce yourself, who is Cain Lofton?


Cain Lofton is the artistic expression of the things Kayla Cain has trouble talking about. That is who I become when I need to vent, or when the right words are hard to find. They’re an artist that hates genres and will make whatever they please so long as it has depth and truth.

You're originally from Chicago, but are now currently based out of Baltimore. Both cities have very different, yet identifiable cultures in multiple mediums of entertainment. How have these two locations impacted your music recently?


Having Chicago as a home has really made me someone who experiments often. Almost all the musicians I knew were church players who dipped into other genres fluidly, and many of the singers were the same. So, that taught me to have an authentic sound profile while using it in different ways every time. Baltimore, on the other hand, has many artists that are very sure of their musical fingerprints. I’ve seen people stick to their guns sonically, and bringing your raw self seems to be the best way here. So, even though Chicago has made me flexible with these last few releases, Baltimore has taught me to harden my spine a bit and do what I do best in spite of what may be expected of me.


Who are some of your biggest influences musically? Your music is very boundless and it would be a disservice to categorize you under a single genre.


I always start with Brandy when I talk about my influences. The harmonies in her music just make me melt. I also grew up loving Coldplay for their odd songwriting choices in their earlier music. Throw in some Richard Smallwood and Donald Lawrence for their emotional arrangements, and that puts you somewhere in my neighborhood!

Your debut EP, "9" is set to release early next year. Walk me through the process of creating your first project?


I read somewhere that since my life path number is 9, my life’s work would come back to letting go of heavy things for my own good. Whether it’s accurate numerology or not, that started my writing process for the title track, “9”, and then the songs just kept coming. I spent close to 2 years writing every time my emotions were high, or when I was sad, and I ended up with way more songs than I expected. About 5 of them stuck out to me, and I returned to them until I felt they were fleshed out. After those 2 years, I ended up with 4 songs that encompassed the heartaches and fears I faced and then left; that’s “9”.


What are some of the biggest things you have learned while making this current project, both in yourself as well as your music?


I’ve learned that I’m far more emotional than I ever gave myself credit for. And I learned that it feels really good to express that fully! Songwriting opened me up to being vulnerable as a general practice without being afraid of the things that come up from my emotions. Along with that, I also learned to trust my production ear just by sitting with it more. I always thought I should look to someone else to produce who might know technical aspects better than I do, but really I just needed to take my time and let myself learn by doing. It’s been fun😊


Where do you get most of your motivation and drive to pursue music from?


Not to be cliché, but music has really saved my life. The comfort I find there, and how honest I get to be keeps me going. Plus, music is what I feel I’m meant to be doing. It feels like home! That makes it so much easier to be committed to my creativity in the long term.

Your most recent single "Stuck!" was released on December 13th and already sounds like one of the standout tracks from the upcoming EP. Explain what the song is really about/ what it means to you.


“Stuck!” is a story of being so enchanted by someone that you’re transfixed. It’s about being so drawn to a person, not because they tick all the boxes of your expectations, but because they’re even better than what you were looking for. I’ve felt that before in less than healthy ways (more like infatuation), but when I wrote this song, I was finally feeling that enchantment in a satisfying, loving way.


What advice would you give to a new artist or advice you got when you were starting out that has been really helpful in your career?


Everyone’s experiences in music vary, so you should keep tips in mind, but tailor your experience to your strong suits and goals. Not everything that’s advised by those in the music business will be for you. The technical skills of music-making may apply, and the mechanics of crediting and rights and such, but the path through those things is your decision.


Look out for Cain's debut EP, 9, set to release in early 2022.

TAP IN TO CAIN LOFTON:


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