Glasses XANDER ZHOU, trench JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, dress MULBERRY, black leather coat worn underneath stylist’s own
Kiah Victoria has been making a buzz for quite a while now. With her effortless style and bewitching songwriting, her 2016 EP “Everybody” saw her being tipped for greatness and she’s proving it now.
Crafting her dreamy R&B sound, the LA-via-New-York songstress possesses a talent few hold and is guaranteed to take her throne as one of the leading voices of a generation. Latest track “Betsy Ross” is even more proof of this, as Kiah tackles difficult issues in her aim to speak out against the injustices in this world.
A thought-provoking and insightful artist, we sat down with her to discuss how it all began.
When did you first fall in love with music?
I don’t remember the exact moment. Music has always been inside of me. But I do remember this one night when we were living in Bridgeport, Connecticut- my parents were having friends over for dinner and I took it upon myself to be the entertainment for the evening. I think I was about six or seven and I danced for hours and hours and hours. Non stop, I was twirling around the apartment in a leotard and tights having the time of my life! I remember my dad playing Grace Jones’ Slave to the Rhythm and as the night went on we were deep into this Celtic river-dance music that kind of possessed me. I remember feeling so full of zeal and passion. It was getting late and my parents friends started leaving, but I was still dancing and twirling. The music had me going off. I was drunk on it. Finally my mother made me stop and I cried myself to sleep.
Who did you listen to growing up?
Mariah Carey, Spice Girls, Micheal Jackson, Lauren Hill, Bob Marley, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, N.E.R.D, Bobby McFerrin, Britney Spears, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, Dashboard Confessional, Regina Spektor, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye Wes, Keane, Chris Brown, Coldplay, Destiny’s Child… Definitely a hodgepodge of things.
How would you describe your musical style?
I’d like to think it’s intimate, soulful, reflective and bumping.
(LEFT) Coat and knit JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, jeans ARIES, boots GUISEPPE ZANOTTI, gloves stylist’s own
(RIGHT) Sleeveless coat and leather trousers JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, blazer LANVIN, crop top CHARLI COHEN, fishnet tights LA PERLA, shoes MANOLO BLAHNIK, gloves stylist’s own
You’re about to release your new song “Betsy Ross”. What’s the meaning behind the track?
This song is a cry for help when no one is listening. It is about the murdering of innocent black and brown bodies and the apathy that accompanies horror. “Betsy Ross” is a plea for empathy and love in a scary world.
Why did you decide to write about this subject? Was it difficult?
I wrote this [with Micheal Tighe] in the summer of 2015, two months after the murder of Freddie Gray. Violence was on my mind. It was in the air. So this song was not difficult for me to write. It was also the summer after the grand jury chose not to indite Micheal Brown’s murderer. It felt natural and necessary to go into a dark musical space/subject matter.
Do you think it’s important for musicians and artists to address these topics?
I do. There are too many harsh realities to ignore in my experience. I feel like artists in any medium have the power/burden/blessing to speak on a mass scale about injustice and actually be heard. If it feels honest and is within your means, why not meet that challenge in some way? I certainly don’t want to preach or be preached at by other artists but I do want to stay awake.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on music videos for my latest body of work “Memo” – a collection of 7 tracks that I’m super proud of and incredibly anxious to share with the world.
What would be the one thing that you want people to know about you as an artist?
I have so much love to give.
What does the rest of the year have in store for you?