KIIARA Interview on ‘lil kiiwi’
Kiiara released her highly anticipated debut album, lil kiiwi. She spoke about her new record, life in quarantine, and what’s next in this exclusive interview.
Congrats on your album! The album artwork is stunning, were you involved in the concept?
Thank you so much !! Dennis Lupold shot the album cover art. He is such an incredible photographer. His eye is incomparable !! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him. He’s a legend. I was involved in the concept, but it was a collaborative effort not only between him and I, but with makeup/hair/styling as well. Dennis captured the shot and had the brilliant idea to create a sort of iridescent glow effect which I love !! 🙂
There are songs spanning your career thus far, listening to it as a whole do you see an evolution or change in your sound and artistry?
When listening to my debut album, lil kiiwi, I do see an evolution / change in sound from when I first began creating up until now. A majority of the songs on the album were recorded very early in my career. When I recorded songs such as “numb” / “bad one” / “empty” / “whippin” / “Gold” / “feels” .. I only had a few vocal lessons under my belt. I wasn’t a trained singer. I don’t know if fans can hear the difference, but compared to “Accidental” / “Don’t Get Confused” / “brightside” / “never let you” / “two thumbs” / “I still do” .. I sound much more naïve. I used my voice more freely back then whereas now I am more aware and have more control vocally.
How did you go about sequencing the record?
It was very important to me to end this album with “bad one” because it’s where i’m at now. I wanted to bring my fans through the world of “lil kiiwi” up to my current self. And right now there’s no better way to say it other than yeah “i’m still in love with the bad one” and idk what’s gonna happen next. Authenticity and integrity is very important to me. I don’t plan projects/albums, I go into the studio and create based on my mood in that given moment. Nothing is premeditated. The sequence of this album was very thought out and purposeful. There’s a bigger picture to it. Every song leads into the next. And “bad one” is where I left off.
You have four incredible collaborations with artists on this record, how did they come about?
I am grateful to have been able to work with such incredibly talented artists on this album. blackbear, DeathbyRomy, PVRIS and Felix Snow are all very inspiring creatives. I’ve learned so much from each of them. Each collaboration happened seamlessly. Nothing was forced or planned. It sort of all just fell into place. Bear and I dated way back when and thru it all we remained friends. We both knew fans had been wanting a song from us, but it needed to happen organically. As for DeathbyRomy and PVRIS, I’ve been a fan of them both for years. My best friend introduced me to PVRIS’s music when we were on tour 3 or 4 years ago. And Felix Snow was one of the first producers to really give me a chance. He jumpstarted my career and introduced me to Lil Aaron who’s now one of my closest friends. Life is wild.
Was there any song that didn’t make the cut that you would have liked to see make it?
[Laughs] yeah there are a lot of songs that didn’t make the cut that I would’ve liked to see on the album. There’s this one called “Coma” that I know fans have been waiting years to be released. I apologize for that. I’m really trying on that one. I’ll see what I can do. There’s also this one called “Lean” and another one called “warming up” that I’d love to share with the world. It’s out of my control tho. All we can really do is wait and see.
With quarantine and the pandemic, what have you done to pass the time aside from music?
During this pandemic / quarantine, I’ve been gaming, writing, reading, meal prepping, running, and spending as much time as I can with my family.
Do you think being stuck at home hurt or helped you creatively?
Being stuck at home didn’t really help or hurt me creatively. Pandemic or not, I don’t really leave the house unless I absolutely need to. I’ll go to the grocery store once a month and the only other place I really tend to go to is the studio. Initially when studios were closed, I had to quickly learn how to engineer my own sessions / record my own vocals, so that definitely helped me become more independent as a creative. It’s one of those things you don’t really take the time to learn unless ur put in a situation where ur forced to ya kno. You really have to train urself to look at the bright side of every circumstance.
What do you see for the future of the music industry?
Despite what is happening in the world right now. I think there’s a lot to offer in the future of music. Virtual live shows/performances are becoming more routine. If anything when in person shows come back it’ll be a much healthier environment for not only artists, but fans as well, which is great !! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been severely sick on tour to the point where IV’s, b12 / dexamethasone injections, acupuncture, and adrenaline barely made a difference. I truly believe that there’s a greater good in all that’s happening. We just need to be patient.