KELLY KIARA IS BACK WITH 'SEX FACES' TALKING LOCKDOWN, SEXUAL LIBERATION AND THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MUSIC
Interview by Charlie Long
MAY 8TH 2020
Kelly Kiara is back and she’s ready to feed us another bop all over again…oh and of course another killer music video. When will she let us rest?
London-based Kelly Kiara has returned mid pandemic to save us all with her brand new single, ‘Sex Faces’, the third track following the successful predecessors ‘Tornado’ and ‘Set Me Up’. ‘Sex Faces’ is a whimsical, R’n’B meets trap-pop feel good record that shows the more playful and flirtatious side of Kiara, inviting us on a provocative journey of self-exploration, sexual liberation and female empowerment. ‘Touch me, Love me, Baby I want you” Kelly serenades as she declares her own erotic fantasy’s throughout the track, showing off her lethal song writing ability’s whilst also sending a message of women owning their sexuality and being proud of having their own sexual desires and wants.
"'Sex Faces’ is a whimsical, R’n’B meets trap-pop feel good record that shows the more playful and flirtatious side of Kiara, inviting us on a provocative journey of self-exploration, sexual liberation and female empowerment"
The tracks accompanying music video didn’t disappoint either. Kiara opens up in bejewelled negligée with matching gloves all whilst laying in a giant martini glass, only to quick cut into her laying atop of what we can only presume is a sugar daddy whilst stacks of money rain down onto her. Urgh, her mind, right? All this was served in the first 30 seconds and Kelly was nowhere near finished. Serving us cow girl glamour, the songstress throws us into the Wild West whilst riding a bull machine with a diamanté studded rodeo hat only to then take us off into space with a futuristic cartoon inspired glam with all blue skin and neon yellow hair as she dances on the moon with a spaceman. The eccentric video is a visual reminiscent of the likes of Doja Cat, enchanting you in all its fabulously chaotic and off-the-wall prowess. The singer/songwriter’s entrance into the music scene began only 2 years ago, yet she is already proving she is a fierce and determined powerhouse.
It’s also worth noting Kelly has marked herself as one of the UK’s most formidable writing talents, penning for the likes of Mabel – ‘Roses’, ‘One Shot’ and another three songs on the debut album ‘High Expectations’ – as well as the global breakout artist Era Istrefi. Now Kelly’s global takeover continues with her new single, the third off her upcoming studio album where has been working with some of the hottest producers in the UK right now, such as169 and Harry James.
It is safe to say Kelly Kiara is feeling like one of the most disruptive and hopeful of recent times, with serious fire aesthetics, talent and visuals it is time we all begin to keep a closer eye on Kelly as she continues her climb to the top.
How are you dealing both mentally and creatively with lockdown?
At first, I felt very disheartened and some days were good but most were bad and I didn't do anything productive. I didn't beat myself up about it, but I slowly integrated lists for me to do everyday and focused on little small tasks rather than big ones, and the big ones I try dismantle over a few days or weeks so that they appear smaller. Creatively i've started focusing more on drawing, reading and makeup as an outlet rather than just music to break up the monotomy.
If I went on your Spotify ‘On Repeat’ playlist right now, who would I find that has been playing soundtrack for your time in quarantine?
Very suprisingly, I don't listen to music in my spare time unless im creating it. I prefer to listen to podcasts or watch movies, however when I do crave listening to music, my go to artist is always Kehlani, her music makes me happy, sad and empowered all at the same time and is my favourite artist to sing along with.
Firstly, congratulations on ‘Sex Faces’, it is a total MOOD and she's made her way to my 'On Repeat'. It is a song about women embracing their own sexual fantasies and feeling sexually empowered, what was the main inspiration behind wanting to create a record with this message?
Thankyou so much! When I was making it, I really wanted to capture the feeling it gave me which was care-free, fun and playful. The inspiration for the song was to give a green light for the listener to feel sassy and better about themselves. I didn't take myself too seriously with the lyrics and video and that's the feeling I want others enjoy.
The visuals for the video are killer, when you enter a studio do you have an idea of how you want a music video for a song to look or is it that something that comes after?
Yes, I usually 'see' the idea when i'm creating the song, then I start moodboards for the styling, source the models and directors and start bringing it to life with help from everyone involved. When i'm on set, I visualize myself performing to the camera and make sure someone I trust is behind the camera at all times to shout 'Kelly, do that again' or 'Kelly, this can be better'. I'm very present in the editing and love helping with ideas like animation to bring the video to life.
You have worked with and written for the likes of Mabel and Era Istrefi, do you feel female songwriters are still under-represented within the media and the creative industry?
No, I feel we have lots of high profile song-writers who are artists such as Sia, Julia Michaels and Anne-Marie. However, we tend not to see the girls behind the scenes such as song-writers and producers; so there is more to be done in that area. A passion I look to be involved with in the near future is bringing my knowledge to schools and helping create new pathways for young creatives especially outside of London.
On the topic of women in music, which female artists inspire you and your sound the most?
The female artists who inspire me are Madonna, Rihanna, Missy Elliott, Dolly Parton and Christina Aguilera; Their vocals, messages and visuals and business choices have inspired me.
That's a good list. You entered this industry like a ‘Tornado’ (you’re welcome) and have only been getting better, what is the main goal you hope to achieve and is there anyone in the industry you would love to work with one day?
I'm glad you picked up on the Tornado metaphor! My main goal is to continue the breakdown of stigmas and expectations attached to predominantly women, trans, and physically disabled people. My long term goals include restructuring and modernisation of school education and supporting younger aspiring politicians from lower economic backgrounds.
You have a very close relationship with fans, particularly on social media - I always see you responding to your comments and sharing posts, how important is that relationship with them to you?
It's so important to me, I love communicating with others who enjoy my art, you can inspire people but when you're 'present', it makes it tangible and in todays society, that's what I feel people need; to know that what they want is possible.
Finally, looking to the future and trying to stay optimistic right now, what is one piece of advice you’d like to give people on how to cope during lockdown?
Don't place expectations on yourself of what you 'should or shouldn't be doing. Treat everyday individually and write down your goals, but more importantly SHARE them and ASK for help. The most sucessful people in the world build teams around them and keep them enthused, that's what young entrepeneurs should focus on.