Kiesza: "I had the desire to let the world know who I was"

Interview Kiesza: “I had the desire to let the world know who I was”

As Kiesza gears up to release her debut album, she’s ready to put herself on the line.

Kiesza is no stranger to excelling in her field. After all, the singer – full name Kiesa Rae Ellestad – went from being a classically-trained ballerina to joining the Royal Canadian Navy, then from being approached to become a sniper to penning tracks for the likes of Rihanna, Kylie and Icona Pop. Now, after her debut single ‘Hideaway’ went stratospheric earlier this year, the multi-instrumentalist is stepping out into the limelight on her own, her first album in tow.

“It was like a door opening,” Kiesza begins, on the first single that was to become the catalyst for her career. “It kinda forced itself into the world: it was one of the quickest songs I’ve ever written and then it just went! Once it was complete, it created its own path. From the first person that sang to it, people just wanted to share it right away.”

Not only did ‘Hideaway’ blaze a trail across the internet, it became a permanent fixture on radio, before topping the UK charts with over 100,000 copies sold. “It really opened up a door and allowed for a lot of the things that I create to have a pathway into the world. It’s amazing that it gave me an audience that are really looking forward to the music that I make and that’s the best thing you could ever hope for as a musician.”

"We wanted to make an album that tells a story, that has ups and has downs, has fast and has slow."

— Kiesza

For those expecting her debut to be thirteen tracks of the same, they’re going to be in for a surprise. Not only does Kiesza dwell in 90s club vibes, she’s unafraid to dip into groove-infused R&B and soulful beats. “I’m a songwriter and to just work within one category would just leave me without anywhere to go,” she says of the album’s diversity, “and it would give me nowhere to explore.

“After we [along with collaborator Rami Samir Afuni] wrote ‘Hideaway’ together, we realised that we both had a very strong vision of how we wanted the album to unravel. We really wanted to pay homage to that 90s era while coming from a modern place, while also just sort of exploring sounds which we’re both passionate about, that we both really love. That sort of urban production, R&B, the Chicago House sound. It was just about mixing and matching our passions into one project. We both have very much of a similar taste in music.

“We weren’t giving ourselves any solid direction though. It was all inspired by ‘Hideaway’; that gave us an overall vision of what type of album we wanted to create. We both really liked the idea of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones doing an album together, so we wanted to do this album together and really make it not just an album full of singles. To make an album that tells a story, that has ups and has downs, has fast and has slow. It’s a real body of work.”

"‘Sound of a Woman’ is me finding myself as musician."

— Kiesza

As for the album’s bold title, ‘Sound of a Woman’, it’s what Kiesza feels is really encapsulated on this record; her finally finding the strength to be herself through music. “I think I was able to write about my life because this was the first time I felt like I heard myself as an artist. I had been writing and always wrote with the idea that I was a songwriter for other people, but there was something about ‘Hideaway’ that I just couldn’t give away. I couldn’t imagine anyone else singing it. When I wrote that song, I started opening myself up as an artist and I had the desire to let the world know who I was, whereas I hadn’t really had that desire before in the same way. It just tapped into something in me and opened things up.

“The title’s kinda about somebody finally finding the strength to speak their mind, and as a title for the album, it encompasses all of the emotions that I was revealing throughout the album. It’s me finding myself as musician, a writer and an artist and I felt like the title was a really strong representation of the whole body of work.”

Taken from the November issue of DIY, out now. Kiesza’s debut album ‘Sound Of A Woman’ will be released on 1st December via Lokal Legend / Virgin EMI.

Tags: Kiesza, From The Magazine, Features, Interviews

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