Meet the Australian alt soul-pop singer entwining hip-hop, soul and R&B influences.

Australian singer KIAN sweatshirt
Australian singer KIAN sweatshirt

There aren’t a lot of people that can say they started their love affair with music at the tender age of two, but Australian singer KIAN has always been an early bloomer.

Travelling to far-flung rainforests and deserts in the continent with his father – the director of Indigenous Hip Hop Projects – the singer was immersed in the creativity, culture and ingenuity of various communities from a young age, building a personal, deeply-felt connection with performing.

His debut song, “Waiting,” penned when he was 14, already has over 30M streams on Spotify; then only a few years later, the teenager went on to win a nationwide talent competition – beating 11,000 to the punch.

Since then, he’s supported Jorja Smith on the AU leg of her tour, featured on a track with rapper Baker Boy, and he’s just dropped his new track “Childism”…

We chatted to the exciting new artist…

How did you first get into music?
I’ve always been surrounded by music in my life and have always listened to it as a form of therapy when i’m feeling sad, so I guess I just started relying on it to soundtrack my life. It was very natural for me to start putting my feelings into my own music.
You’re from the small city of Castlemaine in Australia – how did this influence your music?
Growing up in Castlemaine surrounded by a rich community of creatives and artists definitely contributed to my love for music and art in general, but also the fact that my home town was reasonably small and quiet meant that it gave me lots of time to think and not be distracted.
Who did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to a lot of different artists, always usually what my parents where playing. My mum was into a lot more rock and experimental music like psychedelic rock, and my dad was into everything but would listen to a lot of hip hop. Both my parent’s music tastes rubbed off on me but I took a huge liking to hip hop and from a young age was introduces to Nas, NWA, Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, and heaps of other artists and groups. I think the first artist I really became obsessed with though was Joey BadA$$ throughout late primary school.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
I just want to be honest and talk about things that relate to me or people who are close to me – nearly all of my songs have a strong message or meaning behind them that has some significance to my life.
Your dad is the director of Indigenous Hip Hop project – how has it influenced the way you view music?
Having been surrounded by all the rappers, dancers and film makers from IHHP has helped me feel comfortable with being creative and being myself, but to be honest the thing that changed my life the most was seeing first hand how powerful and beautiful culture can be, witnessing ceremony and ancient songs passed down from elders through to young people. So song lines, along with feelings of identity and connection to the land and animals – it’s completely inspiring.

Australian singer KIAN crouching
Australian singer KIAN crouching

What has it taught you about the impact of music?
Travelling to remote places has taught me that music is truly universal and that no matter what race religion or gender people will always be able to connect through music. Music plays such a powerful role in bringing people together and it’s has such a powerful part in healing and enriching life.
You’ve coined your own word with your track, “Childism,” what does it mean?
For me, “childism” is the discrimination or lack of acknowledgement towards the young, it’s what creates the feeling of being stuck in the middle, you aren’t a kid and you aren’t an adult. Its important to me because the word describes how I was feeling with all the pressures of the world on my shoulders and not knowing where I was going and what I wanted to be.
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your tracks?
I want people to relate, feel and understand the meanings and messages within my songs and to be able to connect with the music on a personal level.
What’s been the biggest pinch-me moment of your career so far?
Honestly, there’s been so many but something that always gets me is when I hear the people in the crowd singing my songs along with me, its crazy to think that people know every single word to something I’ve created, there’s honestly no other felling like it.
What’s next for you?
I’m excited to keep creating, I can’t wait to explore my sound and experiment. I’m hoping I’ll have my own solo project by next year and to have created an amazing live show.

Australian singer KIAN crouching at Bunbury
Australian singer KIAN crouching at Bunbury

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