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Kitten’s Chaidez claws her way onto the rock stage

Los Angeles-bred singer pursued music after excelling in gymnastics world

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Chloe Chaidez was going to be a gymnast. She chose to be a rock star instead.

Gymnastics were “pretty much my life until I was 13 or 14,” says Chaidez, a former state champion in California. Her shot was at the London games in 2012, but she dropped out of the sport and chose music as her pursuit. It wasn’t an easy decision. “It was extremely tough. There was a lot of crying. It was a family drama,” she says.

Gymnastics’ loss, music’s gain. Chaidez began fronting the Los Angeles new wave indie rock outfit Kitten in 2009, electrifying audiences with her magnetic stage presence. The band performs Thursday night at the Shelter in Detroit.

While she’s no longer tackling the uneven bars, gymnastics are still in Chaidez’ blood. She might work in a cartwheel on stage, or twist herself into any number of bendy positions on the band’s touring van, planking on the floor between the seats or rising into a handstand position with a foot placed on either side of the vehicle.

“I’ve curated my own van workout, after years of not knowing what to do with my body when I’m in here for hours on end,” says Chaidez, 21, on the phone earlier this week while traveling between Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio.

The exercise between shows has perhaps resulted in a less manic Chaidez on stage. In earlier tours — including stints opening for Paramore, Charli XCX and Courtney Love — she’s been a whirlwind of energy, whipping around stage like the Tasmanian devil and climbing onto anything that presents itself. Now her movements are “more intentional and deliberate, a little bit more controlled,” she says. “This tour I feel like I’ve grown a lot.”

Kitten is beginning to work on its second full-length album, which follows 2014’s self-titled debut album and this year’s five-song EP, “Heaven or Somewhere in Between.”

“We have a ton of songs, but in my head I have 10 that I’m attached to that I think are the best,” says Chaidez, who began playing bass guitar at age 10. The songs evoke an “Every Breath You Take,” Bryan Ferry’s “Slave to Love” kind of feel, she says. “It kind of reminds me of the soundtrack to your first kiss,” she says. “It’s very nostalgic. It feels like summer camp.”

When Chaidez began pursuing music as a career, her initial goal was to perform in a show at the American Girl store at the Grove in Los Angeles. She tried out for the role, didn’t get it, and was crushed.

She pressed on and has since lived out bigger dreams. “When I lay my head on the pillow, I’m grateful for those moments,” she says. “We just had a really great New York show, and I was pretty on the moon about that.” She pauses. “Over the moon? I don’t know. Whatever they say about the moon.”

She’s living out the life that led her away from gymnastics, which still drives her going forward.

“I just wanted to be a rock star,” says Chaidez, plain as day. “I still just want to be a rock star.”

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

Twitter: @grahamorama

Kitten

with Sizzy Rocket and Clean Spill

6 p.m. Thur.

The Shelter,

431 E. Congress, Detroit

Tickets: $15

LiveNation.com or

(313) 961-6358