KAINA redefines home at ‘It Was A Home’ tour at Metro

By Kimberly Kapela, Staff Reporter

Indie-R&B artist and native Chicagoan Kaina Castillo, known as KAINA, and her opening acts, Semiratruth and Silas Short, created an enchanting, dream-like atmosphere that had the entire audience swaying along for the entire show as part of the “It Was a Home” tour.

“It Was a Home” was the first show of the songstress’ headlining tour, as well as the first live show she played since the start of the pandemic. The first stop took place on Saturday, March 5 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.

KAINA introduced her show using a vintage projector on stage in the style of a scripted video from a children’s show that displays colorful, psychedelic aesthetics and ’70s-inspired fashion. On screen, she greets her bandmates who inquired about her playing a show at the Metro.

The “It Was a Home” album conveys that self-observation and child-like imagination in poetic terms.

KAINA has been experimental with her music, fusing R&B, indie, folk and rock influences into her soundscapes. In 2019, she released her debut full-length album, “Next to The Sun.” Her newest record, released on March 4, is vulnerable and comes from an open heart. KAINA invites listeners into her imagination where fans can be transported to her world. The record features artists Sleater Kinney, Sen Morimoto and Helado Negro.

KAINA was bubbling with excitement as she danced her way into her entrance, singing the soulful ballad “Anybody Can Be in Love.” She said the song is about accepting love when it comes to any sort of relationship.

Donning an electrifying blue eyeshadow look, KAINA dressed in a mustard yellow babydoll dress with flounce sleeves and red leather heels. She set a vase of red roses on stage and threw them into the audience throughout her set, thanking fans for coming out to support her and the record.

The songstress continued to give soulful performances of many songs from her albums including, “Good Feeling,” “Casita” and “Could Be a Curse.” These tracks give a sense of nostalgia and cultural pride. The songs are indebted to Latin music while remaining bound to Chicago’s soul and blues realms. “Casita” is a nod to salsa music and Latin-inspired soundscapes. KAINA fluently switches singing from English to Spanish throughout the track.

Between her set breaks, KAINA gave spotlight solos to her four-piece band and shoutouts to the opening acts.

“I’ve seen some of my favorite Chicago people and mentors play this stage [Metro], and I’ve been able to open for them, and I can’t believe it’s my turn,” KAINA said. “I am honored that Semiratruth and Silas Short opened up.”

At one point, KAINA walked off stage with her band as fans erupted in cheers and screamed her name at the top of their lungs for encore. She came back to perform “Next to The Sun” where she unfolds all her fears and hopes about identity and cultural heritage – an ode to her debut album.

Angie Westerfield, long-time KAINA fan and concertgoer, has been listening to the songstress for five years and fell in love with her sound the minute she discovered her. Her favorite song off “It Was a Home” is “Come Back as a Flower.”

“I actually got a tattoo that’s reminiscent of that song,” Westerfield said.

Westerfield wasn’t planning on attending the concert until the day prior to the event, so she was thrilled she was able to see KAINA perform.

“It was just like a rush of excitement,” Westerfield said. “I love her so much, and she’s such an inspiration.”

KAINA’s angelic vocals echo her inspiration behind “It Was a Home.” She exposes herself to the process of self-exploration, growing pains and celebrating her identity. With her Chicago audience, she created an experience that radiated childlike warmth and beauty.

For upcoming shows, fans can visit KAINA’s official website and can follow the singer on Instagram for updates on tours, new music and more. Fans can also listen to her music on Spotify.