Interviews

Q&A: Kianja

London-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kianja recently shared her new EP “In A Different Light”. A collection of deeply personal tracks combining her influences of soul, jazz, gospel and pop, the EP showcased Kianja’s incredible vocal talent. Providing blissful escapism while also comforting its listener, the tracks display vulnerability at its most tender. We had a chat with Kianja to find out more about the release.

Hey Kianja, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us.You released your EP “In A Different Light” back in December, how have you been since its release?

I’ve been alright, continuing to write and grow and juggling whatever life throws at me. I’m happy with the way the project’s been received. Now I’m on to the next chapter.

The EP itself is quite simply breath-taking. What was your creative process behind putting the EP together?

Ah thank you, I’m glad it touched you. My mission with this EP was to write songs that could stand alone stripped down. I wanted to hone in my songwriting craft, spend less time in Logic Pro X and more time at the piano and guitar writing chords, melodies and lyrics that go straight for the gut.

There’s elements of vulnerability throughout the EP, how do you use music as an outlet to express what’s going on around you?

Songwriting is a therapeutic process for me, especially when I write alone, it helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings. That being said, it’s important for me to allow the listener to attach their own truth to the song. I like to capture the feeling of what’s going on in the world and around me, then relate it to my own experience, still giving space for interpretation. I know conversational, busy writing is in fashion now and I might give that a go if I feel like it. Artists like Bill Withers, Sting, Stevie Wonder mastered how to say more with less words.

Between your previous body of work and this one, how do you think you’ve changed as an artist?

I learned a lot in the process of both projects. I definitely feel that my songwriting has improved since the first EP, ‘Glory’. As much as I enjoyed writing poetry and being clever with wordplay on that project, I prefer the clarity and directness of the writing on IADL. I miss collaborating with other writers, I look forward to that. As an I’m artist I feel I’ve become more honest.

Title-track “In A Different Light” is a quintessential love song. What’s your favourite love song of all time?

Oophh that’s a hard one, there are so many amazing love songs. I’ll go for ‘I Want You – Marvin Gaye’.

How are you combating the pandemic’s impact on the music industry?

For artists, I think it’s a great time to practice, write and reflect. I think that live streaming is a great way to connect to people around the world, I look forward to trying it out soon. Although, nothing compares to the real thing. Great music is healing and can change lives. I want to be a part of upping the standard and giving people art that’s worth buying and going to see live. It’s going to be a hard climb to revive the music industry. That’s why I don’t like to feed into the disposable culture too much. The arts needs to be valued, and I hope that people appreciate it more now.

What’s the one thing you’re hoping to do after this is all over?

I can’t wait to play gigs again!

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Q&A: Kianja
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