Filipino native Kiana V dropped her debut single "Circles" five years ago. She followed up with the R&B and Pop crossover "Did She Know," a song dedicated to lost lovers.
Now, 20 million streams later, Kiana V is back with her second EP "Dazed." It seems as if the singer is spreading her wings and showing fans what it's like to be reborn. YR Media’s Xion Abiodun checked in with her to talk about the project, collaborating with friends, what it's like being an indie artist and the art of being vulnerable.
YR Media: How did “Dazed” come together?
Kiana V: I think with "Dazed" it came together in a way that was unexpected because all of these songs I had forgotten about and they were all in my notebook from like 2019, and I was going through writer's block, you know, we were all stuck at home last year. I was so uninspired, and I was not in the mood to make any music. I was trying to get through life. I was cleaning up my bedroom one day, and I came across this notebook, and I just kind of left it on the side of like, oh, I forgot about that. I watched a documentary about Amy Winehouse — that woke something up in me where I was like, wait a minute, what am I doing? Like, why am I treating this thing as a job? Like, it's something that I'm passionate about clearly. It used to be my escape. Why am I trying to escape from it?
YR:What’s your favorite song from “Dazed”?
KV: My favorite song would have to be “How Do I.” I wrote that one in less than an hour. It was like thoughts on paper, like writing in a journal. I guess that goes to show what I was going through at the moment and what I was feeling. It’s a period of my life where I wasn't so afraid to open up about.
YR: Who and what inspires your music?
KV: I think it does depend on who I'm listening to at the moment, but they're mostly genres. So I'm hugely influenced by Jazz and R&B from the mid-90s and early 2000s. My dad is a huge inspiration, he always pushes me to do my best and make sure that I don't send anything that I'm not 100% proud of. I love Janae (Monae), she's so good at being vulnerable. And that's something that I'm still working on. When it comes to flow, I love Kehlani and Mahalia. When it comes to vocal arrangement and cadence, I like Snoh (Aalegra), even Billie Eilish, Jacob Collier, Sabrina Claudio.
YR: How did you feel when you reached 1 million streams?
KV: At first, I didn't understand because I guess the number game when I first started my career didn't make sense to me. It was just a way for me to escape real life. After a while, I'll say, wait a minute — a million streams means it's been played a million times. A lot of people like the song, and that's when it hit; I must be doing something right. And if I'm having fun doing it, then I guess I don't need to stop.
YR: What do you want fans to take away from the EP?
KV: That there is beauty in vulnerability. It took me a long time to figure that out. I feel like I'm just scratching the surface. A lot is going on in the world and a lot is going on in ourselves as well that we need to dive into. Nobody's going to be able to do that without vulnerability and compassion.
YR: What can we look forward to next from you?
KV: I am working right now on a remix edition of the EP and a lot of my DJ friends from the Philippines are making their versions of the songs. So I'm excited to see how they interpret my songwriting. I'm also working on building a show right now.
“Dazed” is available now.