As 2020 comes to an end and you think about your goals for next year, we've been thinking about how musicians have worked on moving their careers forward during the time of COVID-19. We reached out to a few different independent bands and artists to find out more about life as a performer during a global pandemic. This week we had the pleasure of chatting with singer/songwriter Kiarrah about her experience and career.
Kiarrah Ireland (Kiki Ireland), proudly representing her hometown of Edmonton, the singer-songwriter first began gaining traction by sharing a variety of emotive and eclectic remixes of popular songs on social media, a creative exercise that helped her both to discover her signature pop-influenced, soulful sound and build an organic following online. In tune with her adventurous and visionary spirit, Kiki soon began splitting her time between her native country and her newfound second home in Los Angeles, further aiding in her predestined career decision to become a recording artist.
Has COVID-19 changed your perspective on making music?
Yes, Covid has changed my perspective on making music with the fact that it’s not as accessible or easy to meet up in person with the people that I usually create with. It’s opened my eyes to finding other ways to vibe out and create through video chats and with the use of new apps, without being physically in person with my team, other artists, and creators.
How have you been connecting with fans during COVID-19?
I have been connecting with fans and my supporters by replying to comments and recording cover requests as much as I can. I hosted a challenge on the Voisey app where I had other artists submit their own verse as a remix to my most recent song called “Catch A Flight” with Kwarteng. We also allowed everyone in the comments to decide who won the remix challenge. We are in the works of recording the official remix with the winner!
If you could go back in time and give any piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to be patient. Everyone’s journey is different and everyone has their own timing. We can’t all “win” at the same time. Don’t be afraid to take chances! It builds character and makes us stronger.
What musicians have inspired you to make music in the style you do?
Some of the many artists who inspire me to make music the way I do are Chris Brown, HER, Jhene Aiko, Beyoncé, Mario, and Rihanna. I’m all about tone, emotion, and clean tasteful runs here and there. These artists kill that!
We see you released a single “Closer” in the end of May, What was it like releasing a single in the midst of a pandemic?
Releasing “Closer” and “Catch A Flight” during the pandemic was different than my previous releases mainly because I wasn’t able to physically attend any events in my city, or set up any shows to help promote them. I plan to create a set in the near future to perform on my “Instagram live” instead. I look forward to that.
What platforms have you used to reach out to fans, have you learned any tricks with streaming, and have you been able to increase engagement? Have you run into stream fatigue?
I’ve been using Instagram, Voisey, and Facebook to reach out to fans and supporters. I’m still working on figuring out how to increase engagement, and learning algorithms but I’m no expert! I plan to utilize going “live” more in 2021 and growing my fan base on Tik Tok. Having consistent growth on as many platforms as possible is the best thing for any artist or entrepreneur. Streaming music and growing a fan base has become such a digital world, so keeping up with it all will be a goal of mine. Being able to reach a wider audience to share my passion with, is always a goal of mine.
Career wise, how are you planning out 2021? What hurdles do you expect and what goals have you set for yourself?
I would love to perform a live set on Tiny Desk in 2021, as well as performances on Colors and VEVO Dscvr. Another goal for this next year is to shoot a 6 song visual album. My team and I have been planning it out and working on the logistics of it all. It’ll be a great accomplishment to have more visuals to go with my amazing new music in 2021!
I am very optimistic about 2021, I believe it will be a great year for us all!