Since Kiiara broke out with her 2015 hit “Gold,” she’s collaborated with Linkin Park, toured around the world, and released more than 15 tracks. Kiiara released her debut full length album on Oct 11; she recently released the first single titled “Open My Mouth” in June. Overall, all her singles have more than 1.1 billion streams globally. Her first single “Gold” was top 5 at US Pop Radio and certified 2x platinum w/675+ million streams. That was followed by her 2018 Billboard Music Award nominated song “Heavy” with Linkin Park. It has over 500 million streams and video views landing top 20 on Billboard’s Top 40 chart. She’s really taken the time to hone in on the sound for the whole record and she’s ready to get it out there in the world. She wants to be able to project.
JB: Growing up in a small town in Illinois, what led to your breakout success with your hit single “Gold?” What was it within you that really drove you to create that?
Kiiara: I was writing a lot. I would write for eight hours a day. I wouldn’t leave my room unless I had to get something to eat. It was just something I loved. It was something to do growing up in the cornfields.
JB: So during that time, did you have a vision that you were going to become a breakout success or was it more just doing it because it was a passion?
K: No, it was just something I loved, I would write twenty ideas a day. Write them down, and put them away. I still have all the spiral notebooks, it’s crazy. When I was doing that, that’s when I wrote “Gold.”
JB: So since “Gold,” how have you grown as an artist and why?
K: Since all that and up until this day, from working with the different artists I’ve worked with over the years, I’ve grown that way by the advice that I’ve been given in certain moments. I’ve really reflected on it and been able to implement it in my life and learn from it. That’s how I learn, the people I work with, such as Linkin Park, we did a song called “Heavy,” they featured me on their last album “One More Light.”
JB: That must have been interesting to work with them?
K: Yeah, they’re incredible people, so kind, I learned so much from them. You know how they say never meet your heroes because you don’t want to be disappointed? They didn’t disappoint at all. What I learned from them is to go out there and have fun, don’t take it too seriously, and if you make a mistake, if you hit a wrong note, it doesn’t matter. People love that. They want to experience something and share a moment that no one else can. The audience, when you perform, they want to be there with you, and that’s what I learned from them. A lot in terms of performance. I hadn’t done a lot of shows when I started working with them and it was all very new to me, and I was nervous. Especially singing alongside Chester, and the importance of family.
JB: What do you like more, being in the studio, being on stage?
K: I like both in moderation. I love being in the studio, but if you’re in the studio everyday that can get old. The same with performing, but I love it so much. I can be onstage for two hours and I’m wishing we could extend it. It could be after a month of touring and I want to keep doing more shows. I don’t want it to end. So it’s equal, each has it’ sown flow.
JB: I’ve always thought that performing on stage, the way that you, or Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds to Mars, etc. do it, it must be one of the most powerful things in your life that you could experience.
K: It’s incredible, there’s nothing like it. That feeling, that energy, there’s nothing that lives up to that. Ever.
JB: That moment, when you get onstage, and you walk out, and these thousands of people are there, captivated by you, what is coursing through you?
K: You can’t even describe it. It’s incredible. Each time is a special moment. That moment when I walk out, I’m not thinking about anything, I just take it all in.The show will be over and I think “oh my goodness, I want it to restart!” It’s addicting, I want it to start over, or let’s do another hour. It’s wild.” Then another performance was on my last tour performing in LA, it was incredible. I had so much fun. I remember getting off the stage and I was just drenched. Your adrenaline is so high, I jumped off the stage, and next I was wondering why my legs hurt thinking “what did I do?!” Because you don’t even notice it in the moment, I jumped off a six foot stage, I didn’t even notice it, I just kept running. It’s wild. That’s what people want to be there for.
JB: So do you want to be on tour as much as possible or keep it short and specified?
K: If it were up to me, I’d be on tour everyday. I love performing, it’s just so much fun!
JB: Who are the next artists that you would want to work with?
K: Eminem, the storytelling. A dream. Jared Leto, he’s incredible. I was in a vocal lesson and my coach asked me “what song do you want to sing?” And I said “Rescue Me.” So powerful. I want to be able to project.