Kaci Battaglia :: bring it on (fame, that is)
In music today it seems that for an emerging female artist, the tried-and-true method of getting the attention of radio programmers is to sprinkle a little sex appeal in with the water. To build your fan base simply learn how to attract the "bad girl" in all of us. Without a doubt it made Lady Gaga an instant sensation when she put on her poker face and encouraged us to "Just Dance." Katy Perry dusted off her daisy dukes and unleashed our wildest Teenage Dreams, and Ke$ha dirtied things up and partied like a rock star, racing the clock with "Tik Tok."
So how will the latest new pop-princess score in her efforts to engrave herself into our musical consciousness? Kaci Battaglia is gonna set up a series of "Body Shots" and dare us to drink her under the table... or follow her onto the dance floor.
That’s the name of her sky-rocketing #1 single. "Body Shots," which features guest vocals from hip-hop hit man Ludacris. The song recently went to the top of Billboard’s Dance/Club Chart. This latest party track is not her first hit either. Battaglia knows her way around Billboard. She had a similar success with her previous hit "Crazy Possessive" -- which admittedly sparks many similarities to the Britney Spears’ hit "Womanizer."
The sun-kissed and unabashedly gorgeous Kaci Battaglia smiles widely at the comparison and quickly seeks to defend herself. "Britney’s track came out literally a week after I had written ’Crazy Possessive’!" Yes -- Battaglia writes her own music. (Score 1 for her!) "My production team and I were like -- Are you serious?!"
Garland an idol
It’s not uncommon in the world of pop-music, but when you listen to Kaci’s song, although also about a trifling man and his various indiscretions, there’s one major discernible difference between the two. In Battaglia’s version, that girl -- that’s the girl you should be afraid of! "Touch my man again -- and I will beat you up!" She laughs, "I’m not an aggressive person, but when it comes to things that are important to me... I’ve learned to lay down the law."
This also extends to how she’s approached her career as a performer, poised to make her own distinct impression on the pop charts. "I’m in a business where people are going to try to manipulate you," she candidly admits, already displaying the business know-how and confidence of an artist with twice her career. "I’ve had to learn what my boundaries are and walk the line of what is the correct thing to do. It’s like a chess game." And Battaglia knows when to choose her moves.
You can’t help but imagine in this post-MTV era had Kaci Battaglia been around only a decade or so ago, she’d be giving those other pop-upstarts Britney and XTina a run for their money, and most likely been on the testosterone radar of teen-boy band *NSYNC -- well certainly on at least 4 out of 5 of the guys -- that we can confirm.
The Florida native and seasoned professional has been at this game from a very young age. Battaglia was practically performing from out of the womb. If it hadn’t been cancelled, she could have easily emerged a product of the Mickey Mouse Club that produced her predecessors. "My family and I would always shuttle back and forth," from her hometown in St. Petersburg, "to Orlando for gigs." Although very much supported by her family to pursue her innate musical talent and drive to perform, at first they tried to dissuade her from her thirst for stardom. "Everybody was so busy and I basically took my mom out of her life to travel with me." As soon as she had proven her musical chops, "I think it’s in you -- you don’t necessarily have to be from a musical family," Kaci was off and running on the road to pop-stardom. She toured Europe and opened for the likes of Jessica Simpson and the Backstreet Boys, with modest success. Battaglia’s future was sealed. There was no turning back. "Good luck -- cause I don’t see this changing. It’s important to stay true to who you are."
Kaci would seem right at home among the talented cast of Glee, but even at this stage you can recognize that the ambitious over-achiever has her sights set on something just over the rainbow. "It started with Judy Garland... I was obsessed with that woman. I had all her musicals... Meet Me in St. Louis," Kaci admits. She’d fancy a career similar to the icon, yet without the eventual pitfalls that claimed Garland all too soon. "You just have to go for it!" There’s also an all-too high-voltage persona Battaglia has got in the works that would make those Glee-kids heads spin and blow off!
A whimsical candor
With her catchy lyrics and a full-on mastery of the pop-hooks that are necessary to make a track stick out against most of the other noise on the radio, Kaci Battaglia has successfully infused the songs on Bring It On with a whimsical candor and abandon that you’d expect from a vivacious young woman coming into her own. She writes from her own experiences. Bring It On has all the ingredients of an impressive pop-debut, from it’s opening track "Bionic-Atomic" with it’s built-in, club-friendly vibe, to the lyrically acrobatic "Tool" (another song about a trifling man), but Battaglia proves her most profound exploration on the ballad "Seeing You Tonight" which has all the heartache and emotion of young love.
Not afraid to also play up her kittenish, bombshell image, the video for her current hit "Body Shot" has managed to raise the necessary eyebrows, as well as downloads on YouTube. "I wanted to do something that explored the sexuality of [the song] and would open people up to that aspect of it. But it’s a song about a girls night out -- and I wanted it to show that." The video does keep to the spirit of an exuberant romp at the club partying like a rock-star. It’s what you’d expect of today’s video vixens -- and even sports a little girl-on-girl action. It is a song about doing body shots after all, but the often-conservative Battaglia admits that even she was uncomfortable with some of the video’s more editorialized imagery, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way. "Sometimes I like to be a little uncomfortable, because it means that I’m saying something. I would always prefer to do something that’s artistic and chic."
Image is certainly something that Kaci is very conscious of and exploring that image as part of her art is all part of her plan. "Everybody today wants to push the envelope, and granted sexuality is a part of the musical experience -- there’s a tinge of sexuality in everything. It’s fun for me -- it’s like playing dress up."
Teeming with the gorgeous sex appeal that other current pop-goddesses were unfortunately denied -- let’s face it Lady Gaga is way too existential, Ke$ha just leaves you short changed with her white-trash chic, and except for California Gurl Katy Perry, I’d still wanna wake up in Vegas with the siren sweet Kaci Battaglia any day. She understands as well the value in courting her gay fans, but doesn’t want that adoration if it’s not well earned and deserved.
"I love the gays!" she excitedly exclaims. "It’s great to have songs on the dance charts, but I’m still learning so much about where I’m going and who’s going to be listening to my music." The gay audience can be as respectful as we are fickle about the icons we adopt into our lexicon. Battaglia is savvy enough to understand the marriage between artist and adoring fans. She says: "It’s got to be organic. I’ve got to be me and real -- I love my fans and can’t wait to get to know them better."
And as she prepares to continue to promote her club-charting singles and her new album, Kaci Battaglia is fixated on her next project and getting back into the studio. "Performing is like a drug... but a good drug," Battaglia is quick to denote. "It’s addictive -- it’s inspiring and it keeps me going." All we have to say is bring it on Battaglia!
Kaci Battaglia’s album Bring It On is available as a digital download on most online stores including iTunes and Amazon.
To learn more about Kaci Battaglia, visit her website.
Watch the video of "Body Shots":
Watch the video of "Cray Possessive":