Calma Carmona walks in unassuming. She captivates with her small stature and raven head of endless coiled locs, an aesthetic as majestic as her voice: velvet-smoky on one hand, jagged-soulful on the other.
She makes her way to a conference table, places one hand atop the other and, with her sweet demeanor, begins to break down — so dreamy, it’s almost a hum — the concept behind her newly-arrived EP, Presentiment.
“This is a little more experimental than the last one. It has more urban trapped beats, mixed with very soulful baselines and twangy guitars,” explained Calma, who combines her Afro-Latino roots and seamless Spanish to English crooning without sounding trite. “The vocals are very minimal. It’s more about creating a feeling and just hitting play and going towards that space.”
Calma first enraptured audiences back in 2007 in her native San Juan, Puerto Rico with her powerful sway. No longer a newcomer to the industry (her debut EP There’s No Other Girl dropped in 2013), the Boricua songbird is carving out a lane of her own, from which she gets to creatively control her music, brand and overall message. “I want to sign to a label, but it has to be a fair deal. It has to be the right home,” she added.
After opening for Beyoncé on la isla del encanto and performing around the world as an indie (a natural impulse, considering she’s an army brat), Calma returns with a succinct compilation of brand new music. She comes full circle, ending in the way she began, with an exploration of time and space.
“Trapped in Time”
“Trapped in Time” is sort of like wordplay with trapped and time. Sometimes you feel you’re stuck in a moment, whether it’s an old relationship or limbo, letting time pass you by. It’s more melancholy. All of the EP centers around space and time.
I think it’s my favorite. Sin Final is in Spanish and it means “without ending.” And it’s really about women empowerment. It plays with words, so it sounds a little sexy and sensual – se mueve sin final – but it’s about her making her moves, getting through this life and nobody stopping her.
“Who Knows” is that feeling when you’re in that deep, deep, deep love, which feels great, but at the same time, is killing you. It’s about that really intense passion, but within a space of uncertainty.
“Can’t Keep Ft. Sean Riggins”
Sean Riggins went to high school with me in Germany. We reconnected when I did the first EP — when you’re a military brat, you lose touch with a lot of people. When we reconnected, he let me know that he’s a producer and engineers for Rick Ross and wanted to collaborate. He created the beat and co-wrote it with me. It’s a very special track for us, because it’s essentially what brought us back together. Our high school is really small, so everybody is super excited about the song. [Laughs]
This is about that battle you have with time. But ultimately, the message is that whether it’s this 24 hours or the next, you just have to keep going after whatever it is you’re passionate about. No matter what.