We had the good fortune of connecting with Remi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Remi, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
I have always looked for the positive in any given situation. It comes as second nature to me. I guess you could call it a habit, one I developed early on in my childhood along with the help of an extremely vivid imagination. Growing up in Minneapolis, I spent the endless cold winters, yearning and dreaming, going deep into my alternate reality inspired and mesmerized by pictures of Disneyland. I’d daydream about flying on the Dumbo ride, or whirling around in giant teacups. Pure escapism. I even thought the Flintstones lived in California because that’s where palm trees grew and Fred and the gang were always running around barefoot in a virtual warm and sunny forever land cartoonscape. This was the climate I craved. Wherever California was, that’s where I wanted to be. It was my daydreaming and desire that got me to California. When it came time to choose a college, I knew academics were not for me. If I was going to pay for my education, I wanted it to be something I was passionate about. I envisioned a place where I could study music, dance, art – all things creative. I had no idea if a place like that even existed but another habit I developed early on is a strong mindset, that “keep searching until you find what you’re looking for” persistence. I decided I’d make a day at the local library and research music schools, pre internet, and sure enough, I found “California Institute of the Arts”. No math, no science requirements and it just happened to be in sunny southern California, a school started by Walt Disney himself – what are the chances! It’s that same mindset that got me a major label recording contract. I sat down one day and wrote on a piece of paper my goal of having a record deal in two years. I taped it up on the wall in the hallway where I’d pass by and see it everyday and within two years, there I was at Warner Brothers, signing a record deal with Morris Day and Warner Reprise as keyboard player and vocalist for the band “The Day-Z’s”, a funky female version of the “The Time”. This same “habit” is how I met my husband. There was a knowingness, like a feeling of having a big smile in my heart that without a doubt, it would be just a matter of time that we’d find each other. Also buying a house seemed far beyond the realm of possibilities, a huge dream of mine for a long long time but again, the visualization and positivity of “I believe before I see” worked. I didn’t need to know “the how”, I just needed the belief that it would happen and voila – my husband and I bought a house. What’s so impressive is that we did it without a down payment and when we moved out of our apartment I’ll never forget seeing the yellowed marks on the wall in the hallway left behind from the tape where I had hung the piece of paper with my hand written goal of a record deal on it. I could fill up a book with experience after experience of visualizing, dreaming, setting an intention and how it has so beautifully unfolded into the reality of my life. Persistence too – never giving up. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding what I truly want next…to be continued!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As an artist, songwriter, producer I seek to uplift and inspire. Positive change is a common thread in my work. At my creative center is the desire to express and support unity through diversity. I embrace unexpected textural elements to bring a global flavor to my production. You might hear tabla, ukulele and banjo in one song or hear a triplet feel against 4 adding a rhythmic playfulness in my arrangements to reflect diversity unified into music and song. Escapism is another theme in some of my work. I love transporting the listener to different spaces and places!
Former Reprise recording artist Remi® has gone indie! As keyboard player and vocalist for “The Day-Z’s”, a Funk-Pop female version of The Time produced by Morris Day, Minneapolis native, Remi® fulfilled a dream early on in her career to work with artists that she admired from her hometown. Remi® (aka Kelli Gurman) has been writing, recording and producing her very own soulful mix of sensuality and groove with a Pop of exotic flavor, drawing inspiration from her world music and dance ensemble performances at California Institute of the Arts. Her move to Los Angeles has nurtured publishing deals, film and television appearances and US and European tours with Teena Marie, Karyn White, David Cassidy and Christopher Cross. “Ever since I can remember, at the very core of my creativity there’s been the desire to uplift and to inspire unity through love and music.” www.therealremi.com
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
All places retro and tiki and any place that includes water – I must have been a mermaid in another life! Any and all museums and if it was during the month of May, I’d fill the weekend with the fabulous music and dance performances held by the students and faculty of the World Music Program at California Institute of the Arts.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shout out to my mom for always standing up and showing me what a true fighter is. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and given 6 months to live, she beat all odds, extending her life to 16 years. My dad for bringing home a piano from a church that was being torn down when I was just 3 years old along with his positive “keep on the sunny side of life” attitude. My grandfather, a talented song and dance man who always took the time and undivided attention to listen while I’d play my songs for him and giving me the gift of dance and piano lessons. My uncle for teaching me violin and sharing his wisdom and faith along with each lesson. K.A. Parker for teaching me the art and craft of lyric writing in her supportive and beautifully designed workshops. All of my teachers at Cal Arts who helped expand my music and dance knowledge and introducing me to the art and diversity of our global communities. Brian Reeves for his awesome mixes, always going the extra mile and beyond. My talented husband and best friend, Mat Gurman, for his unwavering love, support, and wisdom and for always speaking the truth.
Other: Join my tribe on Spotify! https://open.spotify.com/artist/0RZUk5fXiZPnBCjl1UMNzZ?si=hVOfxDXKSZavePhmoM_aRw