It’s always exciting to discover a new, young talent. There’s simply something vitalizing about it. And when you come across a find like powerhouse vocalist-songwriter Kiana Marie (www.kianamarie.biz), 26, it’s nothing short of absolutely amazing.
It’s hard to nail down a genre for Kiana because she effortlessly moves from pop to R&B to soul to smooth jazz and is great at each one. In that regard, she brings to mind traces of iconic immortal Laura Nyro, a sterling talent with surprising range and depth. Richly emotive with cast iron chops, she delivers a song like nobody’s business.
She said in Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder:
“The support and teachings that have come from my family are my foundation. Music and performance [have] always been … part of my household. I’m so grateful because I have never wanted to do anything else with my life. To learn from them and have that under my belt…is a blessing.” Shedding a little light on how someone so young can sounds so good is the fact that her mentor is Twin Cities R&B and soul great Kathleen Johnson (Druscilla Abernathy & The BKS Vine, Soul Tight Committee). She’s working on a debut album but in the meanwhile, you can catch her on the recently released, Black by Centrifuge Emotion (Kiana Marie, Proper-T and Montrell Moore).
At present, the fledgling pro has the workload of a veteran, including stints at venerated St. Paul venue Arnelia’s and the Minnesota Music Café, wrapping the month up at new hotspot Scratch Bar & Grill in downtown Minneapolis. Getting ready for a full plate of gigs in February (check her website for dates, times), she took a moment to briefly chat by email, reflecting on how things are going so far.
How’s your career going?
It is a blessing. It’s going great! Moving forward and building my brand. I am learning so much on my journey. Getting busier and busier which is just how I like it! So many great opportunities are coming my way. It’s all about finding your way and figuring out your path. It’s not easy but that’s where i am now. Putting your eggs in all different baskets. It’s so humbling to be recognized for something you are working so hard for.
When can we expect a solo release?
My single “Lay It Down” will be out very soon. Springtime. The whole project I’m shooting for the end of summer. It’s a long process to get it right. Being the perfectionist that I am it has to be right. It’s clearly a representation of me and my craft. Showing the world me and why I do this. I’m excited to show the people me. I think people having been waiting for me to bust out and show them what I’ve got! I’ve been compared to artist such as Beyoncé, Aaliyah, Sade, and a young Etta James, all huge influences of mine, but I want people to see me in this project and I think they will. I want to do for people what theses artist have done for me. Inspire.
What’s next on your agenda after February?
Well, of course, continuing work on the solo project. I also have a huge love for the theater so i plan on getting back into that. It’s in the works for me to become the house band for this beautiful new minority owned business downtown Minneapolis called Scratch Bar and Grill.
Then, of course you can see me all around town with Kathleen Johnson in “BKS” and “Universoul”, and also “The Solflower Collective” which is a great place for an artist to come and hone your craft in a very healthy environment. Led by my good friend Proper-T. I plan on staying very very busy this year!
How does it feel to be so in demand?
Again, it’s a blessing. It means i am doing this for the right reasons. To know that people see something in me makes me work even harder. It means I must be doing something right. This is only the beginning and I want to leave my mark. God blessed my with this gift and it’s my responsibility to share it.