Get to know the multi-cultural singer/songwriter/actress Kiana Lede! She recently released her debut EP, Selfless (Republic Records) and the eight-song set illuminates her penchant for slick, sharp, smart, and soulful R&B music. Her latest focus track is titled “Ex” and it had 5 million streams in the first 3 weeks it was out across the platforms.
Learn more about Kiana Lede in the following All Access interview here-
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now?
In a van, somewhere between Philly and DC…it all sorta blends together. But I love every second of it.
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
When the year started I wanted to book at TV show and release an EP. Amazingly, both of these things have happened. “All About the Washingtons” went to Netflix and my EP “Self-Less” was released as well. I also remember wanting 1 million streams per song on the EP…. did that too! And the EP is growing every day. I am beyond grateful.
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I don’t really have any memories that pre-date music. It’s always been there for me, inside me and part of me. Being a musician wasn’t really a choice. Music chose me.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Honestly I am constantly surprised that people like my shit. I really only make music because it feels like I need it to live. It’s my therapy. All I can do is hope that it helps someone else get through a similar situation. I keep other people at the fringes of my spirit when creating, but the truth is, I’m just being me, singing, writing and telling my story no differently now than I did when I was 4 or 7 or 12. It’s pretty crazy that people listen and enjoy my music. Every new play and every new listener is a surprise I never get tired of.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
Phoenix, where I grew up, was pretty sparse. There’s not much to do there so I had a lot of time to kill at the piano. If I wasn’t writing my own songs, I was teaching myself ballads and soulful songs, by ear, on the piano. Most of my songs are about my relationships with people in my life and that definitely came from spending so much time at that piano. LA influences me now because I’m pretty much a hippy with A.D.D. I love the beach, the ocean but when I get bored with that I can go to the mountains and the forest, or back to the desert. I need the sun, the air and the trees. Being able to be outside 12 months out of the year, with lots of options for my environment, absolutely shapes a lot of my creativity.
What did it feel like finally releasing your debut EP, “Selfless” via Republic Records? How did you celebrate the release? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting it together?
It was a big release for me. I was signed for a couple of years, just trying to find myself, trying to overcome the insecurities that had been PILED on me from my previous record deal and I had to learn that my choices, successes and failures were ALL mine to make, have and deal with. The biggest surprise, I think, is that people actually listen to my music. That just blows me away.
While it’s difficult, can you pick a few of your favorite tracks off this EP and talk about how they were written and got to be on this collection?
Wicked Games and Take it All are favs I think. Mostly because Wicked Games really sums up how I was feeling about an old relationship at the time and how that cycle was really killing me. That was super cathartic. Take it all just feels good and it’s the exact opposite of wicked games. We’re taking people to Church, especially when I sing it live. My boys Rice N Peas produced both of those. Those are my brothers, which makes it even more special.
How do you think being an actor helps you be a better musician? Do you think the two roles work well together? Do you ever find that you go through periods of time where you enjoy doing one over the other?
This is actually a very deep question and something that requires a huge conversation , but I’ll try to keep it short. Actually, I think being an actor can slow down the musical process somewhat. You can get so used to becoming OTHER people, speaking someone elses words that when it becomes time for you to speak your own truth, you are left wondering….umm… what do I wanna talk about. That really took some adjustment for me. Its not an easy switch up. As an artist what you write is ACTUALLY who you are. As an actor what you read is sometimes not at ALL what you actually are. So yeah, that’s my theory of the moment anyway. Lets talk about that again another time lol!
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
I am super ambiguous about Social Media. I understand that it is important and I do like talking to fans and people who support me, but sometimes I like to be in my own secret space and not feel like I have to share everything. Just enjoying the moment and what’s in front of me for what it is and not feeling like I HAVE to share it.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
John Mayer, Sara Bareilles, Rihanna, J Cole, Chance. That’s just a few haha. I want to work with artists that inspire me and that also find inspiration in what I do. Chasing another artist for their fame or their power isn’t my style. I want them to like me as much as I like them. Then its a TRUE artistic collaboration.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I would take a guitar.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
Dear White People or Insecure!
How will you be spending your fall and winter?
Touring and then writing songs for my debut album!
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
I want people to hear the honesty and find reflection for themselves in that honesty. I want people, and women especially, to feel powerful when they experience my music. I want it to be OUR music. A shared experience. I want that experience to make our lives better and make US better. That is the legacy I want to leave behind. That I somehow made things a little, tiny bit better for someone.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music?
I am thankful to be here with you:)