Hailing from a small town in Illinois, Kiiara is taking the world by storm. Her debut album, Lil Kiiwi, is here and it’s drenched in electropop goodness.
LOCK’s Lucy Carroll spoke with the American singer-songwriter to find out more about her debut record, overcoming obstacles and how she is navigating her way through the music industry.
Hey Kiiara, congratulations on the release of your album. You must be so excited to finally have it out?
I am so excited and grateful for my debut album Lil Kiiwi to be finally out there in the world! It’s my heart and soul. I really hope this project helps people the way my favourite artist’s music has helped me. That’s my main purpose.
Lil Kiiwi has been in the making for a while, why did you feel now was the right time to release it?
Now felt like the right time to release my debut album lil kiiwi because everything just fell into place unexpectedly. That and I’ve spent the past 5 years creating it.
Explain to us why Lil Kiiwi is so poignant to where you are in life right now?
I am in a much different / better place now than I was a few years ago during the Lil Kiiwi era. The purpose of my debut album is to bring my fans into the world of Lil Kiiwi. I never really let my fans or anyone, other than my team at the time, get to know me earlier in my career because I barely even knew myself. I couldn’t even look in the mirror because it felt like the person staring back at me was a complete stranger. Back then, It wouldn’t have been right for me to be like ‘hi this is who i am’ because it would’ve been a lie.
Your music is uniquely stylised featuring a lot of spacey vocal laying which sounds both edgy and sensual, what inspired you to experiment with vocals in this way?
I like to push music as far left as I can and I think the more effects the better. sometimes I’ll be like, to my engineer, can you make the vocal a little toasty and and gritty yet angelic and prominent ahaha. I know it’s not proper terminology, but my team and I are on the same wave, so they understand what i’m saying even when it doesn’t make sense to most people.
You have a whole plethora of songs how did you pick what made the cut for the album?
This album went through so many different versions. I had such a difficult time picking the songs for this one. My team and I were swapping songs out constantly. All of a sudden it just started to make sense. It was sort of like a puzzle. I’m not sure what exactly happened or when but one day I was like ‘wow yes this is it’, let’s mix and master’.
Have you got any personal favourites from the album?
My personal favourite on the album is ‘Accidental’.
There is a lot of important conversations going on surrounding mental health right now, you’re so open and honest in your music do you feel music has given you that outlet to channel your feelings?
Music has definitely been an outlet for me to channel my feelings/emotions. As most of my fans already know, I have way too many and way too much ahaha. Writing and singing allows me to process memories/experiences/circumstances whether they’re present, past, or future. Once I write about what’s bothering me subconsciously or what is always at the forefront of my mind I feel so relieved and refreshed. It’s a coping mechanism I use constantly that helps clear my mind.
We can imagine life in the limelight isn’t always easy, what’s your best tips for staying grounded?
My best tips for staying grounded is having a couple really good friends who understand what you’re going through and can relate. It’s so important to have people in your life whom you can call anytime of day. Whether it’s at 3am, 7am, 7pm, 1pm, that’s crucial.
How did you break into the industry and is there any advice you would give to any up and coming young female musicians?
Everything happened so suddenly. I wasn’t trying to break into the industry, it happened naturally. I was just writing and singing for hours everyday because it really helped lower my anxiety and stress levels. I am so grateful it led to where I’m at now. I still can’t believe this is my life.
And finally, for those of us that just can’t get enough is there any plans for a deluxe album?
I really hope there’s a Lil Kiiwi deluxe album. I’m not sure if there will be but maybe! I’ve been working on quite a few features during quarantine that I’m really excited for you all to hear.
Listen to Lil Kiiwi below:
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Featured image by Dennis Leupold