Performing Saturday, October 12, 2019 | PRIDE Festival | 10:15pm
(Downtown Las Vegas Events Center)
It takes a special kind of artist to come back stronger after they’ve nearly lost everything. Kiesza is that kind of artist.
In the two years following the release of her 2014 breakthrough album Sound Of A Woman and the single “Hideaway,” the Calgary-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and dancer was seemingly everywhere. With Top 20 chart placements and significant radio and video play across North America and Europe, she quickly amassed a trove of accolades, including three JUNO Awards in 2015. At the same time, she was touring internationally as a headliner, collaborating with the likes of Skrillex, Diplo and Duran Duran, and making inroads into the fashion world. But fate, as it often does, had other plans. While riding in an Uber in Toronto one day in 2017, Kiesza’s car was struck by a taxi, leaving her with serious injuries. Focus immediately shifted to her recovery, and when Kiesza regained the strength to resume her music career, it was with a renewed vigor to have complete control over every aspect of it. Since severing ties with her record label, she is well on her way to being a fully independent artist, with a team of trusted advisors committed to getting her there. Kiesza marks a major milestone on that journey with the release of the single “Sweet Love,” the first of a series of singles to be spread out throughout the summer and fall of 2019. Combining elements of pop, deep house and piano balladry, “Sweet Love” is a showcase of Kiesza’s powerful voice and cinematic songwriting chops, given an assist by Montreal opera singer Philippe Sly. It leaves little doubt that Kiesza now feels free to follow her muse wherever it may lead her.
“The past year has been very liberating,” she says. “It’s been a lot of work, as I’m still trying to get back to a place where I can physically put on the kind of show I want to do, but creatively it’s been wonderful. I’ve been recording new material constantly with a number of collaborators in different parts of the world, while working closely with my new team on the business side of things. I got to experience a lot of both the good and bad aspects to being on a major label, and I’m using those lessons now to put myself in a better position, and I’ll be starting my own label to help some up-and-coming artists as well.”
On top of that experience, there is a sense of coming full circle, back to the late ‘00s when she was playing solo acoustic sets around her hometown. Fans in a handful of North American cities got to see that side of her following the release of “Sweet Love,” with more such performances to come until the expected full-length album arrives. “It’s very exciting to be able to perform these stripped down shows,” she says. “I think that like many pop artists of my generation, there’s been so much emphasis on image that we were never given enough credit for our actual musical abilities. That’s obviously been changing as pop music has evolved, and reconnecting with my own roots as a singer/songwriter has been great for me as an artist. I do miss not being able to dance like I know I’m capable of doing, but that’s something I know I’ll return to once my body is back to full strength.”
Those who know Kiesza at all shouldn’t be surprised to hear her speak with such confidence and determination. That’s been her attitude since her early teens, when a passion for sailing led her to work as a crew member on vintage tall ships, and even consider a career in the Canadian armed forces. However, one particularly dangerous night on the ocean convinced her that music was probably a safer path. After spending several years honing her musical skills, she landed in New York City where the nightlife quickly ignited her love of dance. Combining this with her songwriting and studio experimentation suddenly seemed natural. It all came together on “Hideaway,” which— complemented by a brilliantly choreographed, single-shot video—immediately caught the attention of Annie Mac at BBC Radio 1, Rolling Stone and other major international outlets that helped push it to Gold status in the U.S., Platinum status in the U.K., and Double Platinum in Canada.
Her first studio album “Sound Of A Woman” confirmed the arrival of an important new voice on the global music stage, one that—five years later—is back better than ever, and ready to make up for lost time.