Dear Sunflower, Love Kora: An Interview with Dear Kora

Avery Robitaille’s musical influences differ from her bandmates Kevin Holm and Sean Baker. Baker's dad was a guitar player and influenced him through classic rock icons such as Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Holm generally plays a lot of jazz and has started to learn more classical pieces. As for Avery, she said that she had the following four CDs – no radio – in her household: U2, Evanescence, Casting Crows and Linkin Park. 

The difference in Robitaille's background had to do with the fact that she actually grew up in Indonesia and moved to America to attend university. After meeting Baker and Holm at an open mic night in California, a few jam sessions later and Dear Kora emerged. “I think – for me, it makes sense in my head when I listen to where all our backgrounds come from,” Baker said. “What we all really find solace in is that we all like emotions in music. We like when people are expressing emotion and we all tend to go towards more of the sad side of it. Avery writes really sad lyrics and then when she writes the lyrics we try to just recreate those sonically.”

Dear Kora comes from the name of a tribal group in Indonesia that Robitaille holds very close to her heart. She knew that something in her future would be named after the tribe, whether it be a pet or a daughter… or an alternative band. She uses the name as an homage to her homeland and projects that homage by creating music that not only she values but that her bandmates value.

“What made me fall in love with them as band members was that I have a lot of stuff that goes on in my head and can’t really get into words but we all seem to be on the same brain wave length where they know what I’m thinking,” Robitaille said. “They read me really well so they translate what I want easily into music.”

We’re all in the same mind set,” Baker adds. “We may not like the same kind of music but the music that we’re playing is what we all appreciate.”

Dear Kora’s debut single, “Sunflower”, was a song Robitaille played acoustically for years before taking the opportunity to rework it with the band’s sound. The song was written right after she moved to America and is meant to be a song of new beginnings. Expanding upon the original song was a long time in the making but was really the push they needed to continue making music and prepare for their first release.

Although this is just the beginning for Dear Kora, this trio already has a sense of what they want to accomplish together. They are preparing to release more material that better shares their story and belongs to the listener as much as it belongs to them. “With the music I write, I want to give it to people,” Robitaille said. “When I sing to people, I feed off of their energy. I do this thing where writing music is my way of feeling and figuring out how I feel about things. It’s like writing a letter to someone about your feelings.”