‘I Wasn’t Overthinking It’ – How Kiesza Made One Of The Biggest Tunes Of The Year

Kiesza, who used to be in the navy is now a musician and she's sailing into the UK charts...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Kiesza is a 25-year-old Canadian musician who you’ll recognise from just about every single radio station right now. With her piercingly high voice (we say that in the best way), her debut track Hideaway is a euphoric pop-infused house music with near-operatic vocals. Sounding a lot like Gorgon City, Route 94, Duke Dumont The Hot Natured, and that sort of happy-clappy vocal house that’s been dominating the top end of the charts for the past 18 months, it harks back to some of those pioneering moments of dance music as we know it. We caught up with her to find out what she thinks of house music right now, the UK dance scene and how she’s so incredibly happy.

The Debrief: You’re only 25 but you’ve managed to be in the navy and now foster a musical career - do you ever have time to relax?

Kiesza: My relaxation doesn't sound like relaxation - it's doing martial arts, it centres my mind and takes me out of my everyday rituals of writing.

DB: You can reach high notes that the old school house divas could only get through by distortion. Are you proud of your range?

K: I have a strong high vocal range and my voice naturally sits higher so to a lot of people those notes would be hard to reach but for me that’s where my voice sits naturally.

DB: If you do karaoke would you do a Mariah Carey song?!

K: Definitely. I can sing a lot of low songs as well it’s a totally different texture, though, like Lana Del Rey.

DB: You started off making folk music. How did this change?

K: I started writing music with a classical guitar. That was naturally where my music started, the guitar lent itself to a folky type of writing. But then I started trying out, and got more skilled in playing other instruments.

DB: It is refreshing that you don’t have to go to the underground to get dance music in Britain?

K: It’s nice that it’s playing everywhere, but I also really love exploring and finding new stuff. I’ve not been out much in London, though. My plan was to explore the whole underground scene but as soon as I came the song blew up.

DB: Other electronic musicians coming out of Canada like Grimes, Blood Diamonds, Austra, they all have a certain moodiness. You seem to be coming from a more pop sensibility, with a more overt sense of happiness coming through it, though.

K: I think it’s just my personality coming through the music, as I’m very naturally happy, quirky and positive. I love to have fun! My whole album explores many different emotions. I love positive feel good records. It wasn’t over-thinking it, the whole song was done in an hour and a half.

DB: Are you influenced by Haddaway and CeCe Peniston – those old 90’s house songs?

K:* Show Me Love* didn’t exactly influence it but I loved the vibe of it. Gypsy Woman, too. And Michael Jackson is a big influence on my life. We weren’t referencing anything directly, though. We’re 90’s babies it is built into us.

DB: There is something great that house music used to be written for people who didn’t speak English, so the lyrics are so simple and powerful for that.

K: Getting a song across internationally, people resonate the most with melodies. Having simpler lyrics makes it easier for other people to sing along. I’ve learned that simplicity is something we all strive for, less is more.

Hideaway is out now, you can download it on iTunes using this handy link

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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