Julie Beun had the chance to talk with Canada’s superstar-in-the-making, Kiesza, ahead of her headlining performance at Glowfair. They talked about her style, musical and fashion collaborations, and her drive to work hard and keep on creating.
Julie: You have a very distinct style in your videos and my girlfriend Erica Wark has styled you. What’s your fashion view?
Kiesza: It’s very much evolving. I have a clear direction about my hair, but fashion wise, I like to experiment from urban street style to classic Hollywood. I love to dress up, be funky. I like to wear different hats in that sense. I tend to have a little bit of a look, a classic funky. But I mean that’s not everyday. Today I’m wearing a white shirt to my ankles…like Lucille Ball from the ’50s.
J: But it goes deeper than that right?
K: I really love to play around with fashion. I just designed a whole line for a Bad Bunch NYC, a men’s sports fashion line. I designed all the prints as well, so it tapped into the painting side of me, and photography. Hopefully I’ll be wearing some of the pieces at Governors Ball; we’re introducing it this month.
I’m sort of looking at my own fashion line. It’s all about the time.
J: I love Joey Bada$$ and love the hook in Teach Me. What’s the story there?
K: With Joey I really liked his music, and my producer and I, we both tried to reach out to him and we never got a response. I even sent a personal email but he missed it. Then he was a fan of me and trying to reach out to meet through Twitter and I missed that and he missed mine. And we were like, what? Two days before I was to turn my album in, and I said, come tomorrow and we wrote Bad Thing and Teach Me.
J: Cute. So did you teach Joey to dance?
K: Actually he came to me with some suggestions; where you should do a slide. He’s such a sweetheart, a really nice guy; very open-minded and he was like, this year I want to learn to dance. I hope we’ll perform it with choreography. I’ve performed it at Coachella with him, and a few other pop-up things.
J: So fashion, music, painting, photography, sailing, ballet. Is there anything you can’t do?
K: There are things that I can’t do because I haven’t tried them. My only limitation with math is I’m slightly dyslexic; that was a struggle in high school. I would mix up the numbers, but once I pay attention, I really like math.
I can’t skateboard very well, but I haven’t put any effort into it. And I don’t have the time. I’m very ambidextrous and I write with both hands, did everything with both sides of my body very early. But if I have to do sports like boxing, or snowboarding, or tennis, I struggle with things like that because my brain wants to learn things equally. I have to learn on both sides of my body or I feel unbalanced.
J: You’ve been on a huge trajectory.
K: You have to have the desire to work hard or you won’t get what you want. So I’m passionate about creativity, music; it’s hard for me to stop working. I can’t take time off. I don’t realize I’m doing it. I’m always doing something and then I panic when I have nothing to do. I’ll stay up ’til 4 or 5. I’m on an insane schedule, sleeping for four hours, working, sleeping for four hours. It’s all flights and performance; meetings are earlier. Einstein swore by this schedule.
J: Sound of a woman has that big voice that you talk about hearing when you were a kid listening to your mother’s music.
K: I wasn’t thinking I want to sound like anyone in particular but I am very influenced by those artists. It comes out in my music, it’s a woman who is finally finding strength to speak her mind freely. If you look at a lot of songs, like the great singers, a lot of them deal with pockets of finding inner strength or they’re just a really fun dance song that lent itself naturally to that type of voice. I have been there myself. I think a lot of women, first time in love, you might find yourself in a situation where your gut tells you something isn’t right and you’re afraid to speak your mind. Maybe they’re afraid of society and the way things have developed; they’re afraid of losing someone. It’s so important for people to be honest and speak their mind or you feel trapped in your own body. When I sing this song live, it’s very interesting- the women are eyeing me down, ‘I’ve been there’, the men are ‘yeah I love this song’ but the women are feeling it. They’re identifying with that exact emotion.
J: You’re so busy. I have to wonder, for someone as genuine as you, is there anything you miss about your life pre-celebrity?
K: I tell you what I miss the most is simply having the flexible time on my hands. There’s something about being able to create without any schedule ahead of you; you don’t know when something will stick. Now I have to find time for creativity so hopefully you can come up with something for me. My whole life was devoted to trying to get something to catch but there was so much freedom in that. Now I have to find time in my schedule. So I’ll do that this summer, where I’ll go off and get up as early or late as I want and let my mind be free. That’s the one thing that changed the most; every little crack in my life is being filled with something. I’m really grateful but I’m simply trying to schedule things in. I like it. I love interviews. It’s not that I resent everything but it’s a matter of finding time for everything, but you realize that you only have so much time in a day and that’s very obvious.
It like to put myself in an environment that’s really simple- an empty room with a bed ad blank walls. I’m not looking to my environment for my stimulation. That’s where I find creativity; I love to get on a sailboat, or find personal time to live. In finding time to sort of sit back and let yourself live.
At some point, everything is important and you have to say now. Living your live and letting yourself be is more important than anything else. You get better and better and it never gets any easier. And that’s a judgement call.
J: You have talked about the divas and their influence in your lie through your mom. Who will you be playing to your kids on a Sunday morning in the living room?
K: Being a song writer and artists, I tend to listen to so much. Big voices…I’m definitely going to play them Bjork. I love her as an overall human being, her uniqueness. But I draw a lot of inspiration from her and how outside of the box she thinks and it reminds me you don’t have to follow the road; you can create your own path. I would show my kids her music.
Kiesza will headline at Glowfair on June 20. For more information visit glowfair.ca.
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