Interview with Kiesa Keller

20 year old student Kiesa has a mega voice and a wealth of knowledge to share

1. Give an introduction to yourself, how you got into music, where you are today and where you'd like to be

My name is Kiesa Keller. I am 20 years old, and I am from Salt Lake City, Utah. My name, Kiesa, is Swedish. In its Swedish origin, it is spelled Kajsa, but my parents changed the spelling to fit an English pronunciation. I have been into music ever since I was a little girl. I had the privilege of having a mom who pushed all of her children to learn music at a young age. I feel absolutely grateful to be a part of such an artistic family who is insistent on learning the language of music.

My older sister is an amazing pianist, and my brother is the lead guitarist and singer of his band, the Fired Pilots. I learned how to play the piano when I was five and later learned how to play the violin when I was nine. I did not take professional singing lessons until I was 16, but I started singing before I could talk (thank you, ABBA).

Needless to say, I have always been into music - it is who I am. Right now, I am juggling quite a few things in my life (aren’t we all?). Music is a full time job, but because I am focused on graduating from university, I am unable to commit all of my time to it. I work to handle music, school, my various jobs, and my social life as best I can each week. Once I am done with my education, I would really like to pursue music more seriously.

I love music, and I love what it brings to those around me. Music often communicates to us in a way that other languages can not. It practices empathy, and I think that is something we all need to hold onto right now. Ultimately, I want to make a living off of my music so that I can keep doing what I love.

2. Tell us about your latest release, what's it about?

My latest release is called How Love’s Supposed To Be. This song is my baby. After I wrote it, I knew that writing music was something I could not let go of, and I have chased that feeling ever since. It’s hard to explain what this song is about, because if I am being honest, the meaning has changed so much since it was written three years ago. The lyrics come from a place of despair, and at the time, I felt that love was hopeless. Love was not like the movies - love was loud and scary and limited. I posted the story behind this song on all of my social media platforms. I will also attach the story below for those of you that are interested.

3. How did you record it?

I recorded it at High Vibe Recordings with my producer, Stetson Whitworth. He is a genius.

4. How did you distribute it?

I distribute my music through Distrokid. I think Distrokid is a great way to get your music widespread and out there quickly. I don’t have the time or resources to personally distribute my music onto every streaming platform.

5. How did you promote it?

I promote my music several different ways! I normally go through Facebook and Instagram advertising because I am able to specifically target my audiences. I also work to get my songs on Spotify playlists through organic Spotify curators (with real followers, not bots). This will get you a bigger following and will help get you into the shuffle of the notorious Spotify algorithm. Lastly, I post on my social media feed as often as I can. If I have friends, family, and fans that care about my vision, I want to make sure that I give them something to look forward to!

6. The music industry is in a state of flux right now, where do you see it heading?

I am not sure to be honest. I bet artists in the 90’s didn’t know that in 30 years, everything needed to record, master, and distribute music would be at the tips of our fingers. As musicians, I think we all have to prepare for constant change and adaptation. If you aren’t good with change, then you may want to consider a different field. This year, the music industry has completely crumbled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I am hoping that, when it is safe to do so, live performances will be a normality again. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like live music!

8. What's the most important thing missing from Songwhip?

I would recommend that Songwhip prioritises advertising and marketing in order to grow a bigger following. They have a great company, so working to share it with the millions of musicians who need their resources will ultimately help Songwhip’s vision. I love the links that they provide for my music--it makes my music easily accessible for my fans! I will continue to use them for my releases.

9. Which artist do you look up to the most and why?

Oh, too many to count! I love Dave Grohl because he has stayed true to himself and clearly loves what he does. Christina Aguilera has an enormous voice and a rich tone that I am head over heels for. Ryan Tedder is a brilliant songwriter and someone that I want to take a music lesson from someday. Nicki Minaj has a flow like no other and has ultimately changed the rap game for women. Lady Gaga has an amazing voice and is a creative, confident performer--I could learn from that. I have pulled a lot of my style and power from Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato. I love them. John Williams and Hanz Zimmer give me chills every time I hear their movie scores. Lastly, before she died, my dream was to perform with Christina Grimmie. Rest in peace angel.

10. What artist tools/services (Songwhip aside) can't you live without?

Honestly, I just need my piano. Without it, I rarely feel inspired. I went backpacking through Eastern Europe last year, and by the second week of my trip, I was having some serious piano playing withdrawals. I. Love. My. Piano.

11. What is your advice to other indie artists to help fund their work?

Work hard and save your money. Pick up a job or two, find a way to get the money you need, and then go and spend it all on your music. Starbucks coffee can wait … you have a song to fund baby!

12. Anything else you'd like to plug?