It is said eyes are windows to the soul. But the windows to Kaisha Lee’s soul are her powerful voice, introspective lyrics and harmonious melodies.
From playing piano since age six to hearing her dad sing tunes from their native Jamaica, music was always in Kaisha’s life. It might have been destined then that, at 15, Kaisha (also known as Kaysha) began to nurture her voice through participation in gospel choirs. Eventually, she toured Canada, the U.S. and France with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, received a Gemini award as part of the Sharon Riley and Faith Chorale and performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration. Kaisha also worked as a vocal and piano theory teacher. She credits these experiences with helping her to embark, in summer 2009, on a solo career.
With a fusion of mid to up-tempo reggae and soul-influenced R&B, Kaisha’s song topics range from life’s ups and downs to love and inspirational messages. After releasing a mixtape demo called Undefined in 2010, which produced local Caribbean radio mainstays such as Heart of a NinJah, Kaisha went on to focus on single releases. Among these were the positive dancehall tracks Clean Heart Order and Rise Above It.
Mostly recently, however, Kaisha returned to the full-album format with the December 2014 release of I Heart Reggae. The project was launched through two events, aptly titled I Heart Reggae Montreal and I Heart Reggae Toronto, which showcased local reggae in each city. Thus far, the project has produced the single Speak to You. The second single, Be Mine, released February 1 2015 is a lovers rock groove.
With plans to promote the album worldwide throughout 2015, Kaisha began the year by making her solo TV debut on Global News when, in January, she performed Speak to You and spoke about her album. The appearance was followed with a successful party for Speak To You at downtown Montreal’s chic Time Supper Club.
While the solo TV appearance may have been her first, Kaisha is no stranger to live performances. As a mesmerizing entertainer Kaisha has performed at Toronto outlets such as Afrofest, Trane Studio jazz lounge and Follow Your Instinct’s talent showcase; New York City’s most well known open mic night at the Village Underground; Montreal’s Le Piano Rouge Lounge (where she was an in-house performer in 2012 and 2013), Club Soda (opening for top Jamaican artist I-Octane), Belmont (opening for veteran reggae artist Luciano), Devi and Club Balattou. She was also the opening act for reggae star Etana at the 2014 Montreal International Reggae Festival.
Kaisha has even taken her act across the pond to England where, in 2010, she staged a successful showcase. During the trip, she also conducted media interviews and collaborated with British artists. Her musical travels have also landed Kaisha in Jamaica, where she embedded herself in the recording process and music scene — performing at Suzie’s Bakery in Kingston, opening for controversial poet Mutabaruka and celebrating Haile Selassie I’s visit to Jamaica by singing at Tuff Gong Studios.
An ever-growing fan base has seen Kaisha expand her musical ventures into the I Heart Reggae clothing line. The items, made of all-natural fibres such as hemp and bamboo, are available via iheartreggae.ca.
Kaisha’s music, meanwhile, is available through iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets. It can also be found on mediums such as SoundCloud and YouTube.