Kiara Jones was the winner of our "iMusician Listener's Choice" league back in December 2021. You chose her, and we asked her a few questions.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started writing music?
Resolutely audio-visual, my project is placed in a musical universe that blends neo-soul and electro-pop, flirts with jazz, and can also qualify as alternative RnB.
My project as well as my background are relatively atypical. I grew up in a rather rich artistic universe, with many artists, musicians, painters, filmmakers, and stylists around me. Very early on I was introduced to writing and cultivating my thoughts and tastes in these fields, however, I am completely self-taught. Of a relatively introverted nature, I developed a special relationship with singing at a very young age, which has become my means of expression and communication. Today the voice has a central place in my songs. It is the first "instrument" that I had at my disposal, which is why vocal harmonies have a predominant place in my compositions.
In September 2019, I decided to release my first track "Black Garden" in a decidedly neo-soul style. I composed it in my room on guitar and made the decision during the studio recording to leave it almost as is. I wanted a track that represented me completely. It was followed by two more percussive singles, "Sober" in January 2020 and "And I Feel The Same" in July 2020, the second incorporating more jazz and alternative pop tones. Driven by the positive feedback from the press, the public, and my entourage, I decided to release my first EP in November 2020, followed by the release of my latest two singles in 2021, "Never" and "All The Lights", which are more pop-electro than my previous releases.
You were recently awarded the Pernod Ricard Live prize. Can you tell us about this experience and what it meant to you?
With more than 1500 candidates, and after deliberations of the Jury and more than 26,000 votes from the public, I had the honor to be among the 10 winners of the 2021 prize, one of the first support systems for emerging French artists. This springboard differs from other musical competitions because it gives all participants the chance to be discovered by its artistic teams. Thanks to all of this, I had the chance to shoot a video clip with Rod Maurice, record a live stream at the Gaîté Lyrique, perform in a DJ set at Hôtel Radio Paris, and widen my professional network (visibility actions, contacts with the music industry) in order to develop my career. For me, it was a beautiful human and professional experience.
Since Black Garden in 2020, you have released several singles. What can we expect from Kiara Jones in 2022?
Since the release of my first EP "Black Garden", I had the opportunity to produce new singles and two new videos for "Never" and "All The Lights", which have been building momentum for the release of my second EP "Tada" which will be released on Friday, March 4, 2022. On release day, you will also discover a new music video!
This second EP is a return to the neo-soul sources as I explore other styles such as contemporary jazz and international pop with a French touch, emblematic of the 2000s style of Daft Punk and electro urban pop. "Tada" is a little bit sunnier, perfect for chilling and dancing!
Your brand image is powerful and consistent. How did you build it and what is your advice for an artist who is looking to clarify their visual universe?
Thank you, I appreciate it. The visual side of my project is very important to me as it allows me to propose an immersive and sonic experience and to go further in to what I want to express. I find it interesting to make the link between music and all the imagery it can generate. A bit like artists like Tyler The Creator, FKA Twigs, Childish Gambino, or Kendrick Lamar visually, I have a dreamlike universe that allows me to have a lot of creative freedom. Above all, I like to explore and discover.
Cultivate your own identity, have a very clear vision of what you want and identify your expectations in order to establish a precise action plan to achieve your goals. Patience and hard work are key.
Independent does not mean alone. Can you describe your professional environment?
True! Some artists will need to be very surrounded by a manager, DA, PR, booker... others will be more autonomous, depending on their skills and financial budget. It is sometimes necessary to know how to delegate certain tasks to gain efficiency! As for me, I am the head of my project and very involved in every field. In music, I will have the chance to work with talented artists, engineers, and musicians with whom I have an artistic and relational affinity. I decided to collaborate with people whose work I liked, some of them have worked with (Ed Sheeran, Rudimental, Nao, Dua Lipa, James Blake, Disclosure, and many others).
In the making of my videos, I have always been very present in pre and post-production. For "Black Garden", "Sober", "And I Feel The Same", "Never", and "All The Lights", I was lucky to work with great graphic designers, directors and production companies. Having a very clear idea of what I wanted, I decided to co-direct my latest video "Tada"! Tell me what you think!
What is the role you give to social networks?
It is very important! They allow you to build a real community, and to establish a link with others. I'm very active on Instagram, for example, those who follow me know that I share everything, all my experiences, backstage of my live shows, touring, shooting, what inspires me, "mood of the day", and I re-post the people who re-share me to thank them for their support! In short, don't hesitate to check out Kiara Jones on Facebook, I'm a little more serious, I keep my followers up to date with my musical news, and I give important dates for concerts, latest releases, and everything I don't want my fans to miss!
We love your Spotify playlists. Can you tell us about your most important musical influences?
Ahah thank you! I share my favorites of the moment, the artists I want to discover, the sounds I listen to on a loop!
I like Kaytranada a lot, his tracks are part of my classics. For me, he's an essential artist of the neo-soul, electro, hip-hop scene. He knew how to bring a new musical current to the forefront. Just like Sango and DKVPZ, their rhythm and their irresistible groove make me dance and always cheer me up. Sampha has a unique vocal signature, intoxicating melodies and harmonies, and a voice that allows him to convey a lot of emotions in his songs. He participates, like Jorja Smith, Raveena, IAMDDB, Cleo Sol, in the revival of the RnB scene, and there is also Chloe x Halle, two artists who have avant-garde looks, always a very accomplished staging, and fascinating harmonies.
Speaking of Spotify, how do you feel about streaming platforms as an independent artist?
Today, we know that having one of your songs on a Spotify playlist is one of the best ways to be discovered. However, unless you have good contacts within the editorial team, the chances of being included in these playlists are rather slim. As an independent artist, I know that it is more difficult to be put forward by the platform. 70,000 songs are published every day, but 25% of the tracks are never listened to! We have to succeed in getting people to engage with us!
How has your experience been using iMusician to distribute your music?
Compared to other music distributors, I find iMusician to be one of the fairest in terms of quality and price. It offers fair access, with services designed to evolve with the career and objectives of artists and labels. It highlights the artists who trust it and constantly develops new services to help them in their career. iMusician evolves a little more every day and it's great! Keep going guys, you rock!
What have you found to be the biggest misconceptions about the music industry?
- That you can only succeed if you are signed to a major label
- That today you have to do Rap to succeed!
- That singing is not music (It is a musical practice that seems easy because it is accessible to all, but the voice is also a real instrument, which can be worked on and which offers very rich and complex possibilities of expression).
If you could change anything in the industry, what would it be?
I would like to see more diversity and media space for artists, especially independent artists. A greater deontological honesty because unfortunately the media and streaming platforms, today remain very opaque. I deplore that the talent of some is not recognized at their fair value, and it's a pity that the work and talent do not always guarantee success. In short, an industry that would be based more on merit.
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