Nashville-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Kristen Castro is an independent artist known for using music to transcend boundaries. Since the age of ten, she’s been creating songs that challenge genre divisions, combining elements of folk, pop, electronica, hard rock, country, Americana, and punk into a distinctive style all her own.
While Castro’s favored instrument might always be the electric guitar, her solo songs incorporate a wide and often surprising range of electronic, digital, and analog sounds, from mandolin to bass, piano to synth, banjo to computer keyboard percussion. Her newest single “Bloom,” explores a mix of natural and domestic imagery, blending the idea of the internal and external in lines that flow easily over a backdrop of cascading electronic melodies: It’s dark out the window / Gotta let go / Wildflowers bloom inside your head / Bloom inside your head. With a dark sensibility and a cool sweetness reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins, Castro’s new music showcases her ability to transform abstract sensation into tangible, relatable music that feels both effortless and complex at the same time. Her breezy vocals ride the electric guitar lines like cars, giving the songs a cruising quality: relaxed, never hurried, but backed by power. It’s as if the melodies could steal you away at any moment.
Originally from Simi Valley California, Castro’s earliest musical experiences playing in metal bands taught her showmanship and a deep appreciation for rhythm and power that still informs her music today. In 2012 she was a featured guitarist and songwriter on VEVO’s web series “You Play Like a Girl.” As a founding member of the popular indie-folk/country/Americana trio Maybe April from 2012-2018, Castro toured the U.S., appearing in major music publications like Billboard, Paste Magazine, CMT, and Audiotree, performing alongside music icons Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, Gavin DeGraw, and Valerie Simpson during GRAMMY Week in 2014, and opening for Sarah Jarosz and Brandy Clark in 2016. For the past decade, Castro has maintained partnerships with Taylor Guitars, Elixir Strings and Timber Tones guitar picks. Castro was first introduced to country music when she performed as a guest guitarist with Keith Urban at the 2010 GRAMMY Foundation “Starry Night” benefit concert in Los Angeles. Her current home base in Nashville continues to influence her songwriting, as her appreciation for more traditional country instruments and the legacy of Southern storytelling grows through her immersion in Music City culture.
Castro’s songwriting reveals an acute awareness of the visual world, evident in lyrics like My eyes are on my mind (from her song “Rainbow”), as well as a keen understanding of what makes human experience both blissful and occasionally grim. She credits her dexterity with production and much of her instrumental skill to mentors Matt Bissonette (bassist for Elton John, David Lee Roth) and Sergio Gonzalez (drummer to such artists as Jennifer Lopez and Gavin DeGraw).
Castro was chosen to attend the Recording Academy’s highly selective GRAMMY Camp three years in a row: as a guitarist in 2010 in Los Angeles, and as a singer-songwriter in 2011in New York and 2012 in Nashville. It was during this experience that Castro realized how the existence of musical genres can (but shouldn’t) limit an artist’s work. “I had these mentors that said ‘learn everything, then throw it all away…and you’re left with yourself.’ That’s what this music is— learning. Myself.”
Singer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist Kristen Castro Debuts Single and Music Video “Bloom” (7/26/19)