Photo: Laura-Mary Carter

LA-based singer-songwriter Queen Kwong shares the wistfully strong “Without You, Whatever”, prepares new album

We barely got to hear this song. The closest LA-based artist Queen Kwong (aka Carré Kwong Callaway), has come to, at least what she considers, “pop”, “Without You, Whatever” was initially recorded as something of a joke.

She explains, “When I recorded it, I was just trying to entertain Joe (Cardamone) [her upcoming album’s producer] by singing in falsetto and trying to imitate Bowie.

Yet, those around her saw it differently, she expands, “When I sent the folder of tracks to Tchad Blake (who’s worked with the likes of Fiona Apple and Elvis Costello) I said, ‘oh, don’t bother mixing Without You, Whatever because I’m not going to release it,’ and Tchad basically said, ‘WTF? That’s your single!’ So he mixed it and I added it to the record at the last minute. It’s nearly impossible for me to sing because it’s so high and out of my range, but I like that it’s extremely different from anything I’ve ever released.”

It’s lucky for us, because for anyone who’s experienced missing someone they deep down know they’re better off without, well, “Without You, Whatever” is something of an anthem.

Beneath the gloss and fun of the song, however, is an intense reservoir of emotion: her upcoming album, Couples Only, was recorded in the wake of a grave diagnosis. Several years ago, Kwong was told she suffers from cystic fibrosis and that she may only have ten years to live. Due to her condition, at times, her lungs fill with blood, and she is essentially drowning. To add (to put it lightly) insult to injury, her husband left her following the news.

Hence, her Couples Only could be described as the most severe of break up records, but it’s intended as much more than that: it’s a means for survival. Kwong reflects, “I don’t play music because it’s fun. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s for survival. I have to keep playing music because it’s my way of allowing myself to feel.

Suffice to say, the album is sure to be an experience. Look out for it come July 12th (pre-save), and check out “Without You, Whatever” below.

You can find Queen Kwong on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.