KIANA | 5 Minutes With

Toronto R&B artist KIANA recently unveiled the sensually soulful new “split decisions”, delving into the pain of saying goodbye to someone who you love and care for deeply. Known for her evocative, soul-stirring, and enchanting soundscapes, KIANA’s music often reflects personal recollections of her own heartbreak, capturing the essence and importance of growth amidst pain.

“split Decisions” navigates the uncomfortable yet selfless act of letting go of someone who would be better off without you. KIANA reminiscences over past memories, exposing her vulnerability in the wake of this difficult decision. Unafraid to speak her truth, she candidly reveals that even after parting ways, thoughts of what could have been continue to haunt her.

Hailing from a Persian and Dutch heritage, KIANA seeks inspiration from the rich and colourful tapestry of cultures that have shaped her, injecting her sound with individuality. The result is something that dances delicately between femininity and dominance and overall showcases her willingness to lay her emotions bare for all to witness. Noctis Magazine spoke with KIANA about the new single, her upbringing and future plans. 

Firstly, congratulations on the release of your latest single “split decisions.” The track is all about making the difficult decision to let go of someone. Was there a personal experience that inspired you to write this song?

This song is almost like a push and pull experience. Letting go of someone because you’re not in a place to love them the way they deserve, but still missing them and thinking about what could’ve been. There are elements of this song that are inspired by personal experiences. Like missing and craving someone you know you can’t have and having to let go because things we’re simply just not meant to be. Sometimes it’s the right person, wrong time & other times it’s simply incompatibility. You can’t try to fit a square into a circle is the best way i would explain it.

But honestly, in this song, I was tapping into an alter ego/character version of me – she’s more of the heartbreaker rather than the one being heartbroken. I felt that the majority of my songs were coming from a place of being heartbroken and being the victim, so I wanted to flip the script a little.

Your music often touches on deeply personal and vulnerable moments. How do you find the courage to put your emotions on display for the world to see?

The stories in my songs are universal experiences, I’m just someone who publicly shares my own without regret. A lot of times during the writing process, I stop myself and think if I’m sharing too much. But if you’re someone that’s close to me, you’d know that I’m a very emotional person and I feel deeply. It’s who I am as a person and my music speaks to that. Knowing that someone will be able to listen back to my music and relate is what drives me to continue to be vulnerable. My song “close to me” was by far my most vulnerable record, and I sat on that record for a while because I didn’t know if I wanted to tell that story. Fast track to years later, that song still gets streamed daily and people from different parts of the world have reached out to let me know how much that song means to them and how they’ve shared a similar experience. I’m happy I didn’t turn my back on that song, cause it definitely helped someone through their healing process.

As artists, you sign up to be publicly vulnerable so that you can share your raw emotions with other people who may be experiencing the same thing. Music is more than a source of entertainment, it’s a form of healing and comfort that people turn to.

You have a unique Persian and Dutch upbringing. Do you think this has had an influence on your music style at all?

I find a lot of inspiration from the environments that raised me. My siblings continued to play European music in the house even when we moved to Canada, and I grew a deep love for it. I was really drawn to Dutch and French artists – especially in R&B and Afrobeats. One of my favourite Dutch artists, Yade Lauren, sings with so much depth and confidence – it’s very badass, and I’ll play her before I start a session to get me in that mindset.

My Persian culture and the traditions that my parents raised me on are what make me confident and daring. It gives reason as to why I’m able to be so publicly vulnerable. My mom always preaches to my sister and I that if we make the decision to do something, to give it 100% or not give it anything at all. I’ve been able to push the boundary when it comes to my music and visuals because of this mentality and remind myself that the sky’s the limit.

You’ve previously explained how the title of your latest single “split decisions” is a nod to the term used in sports. Can you tell us more about how this term relates to the song?

A split decision in sports is based on a majority verdict rather than a unanimous one. If two out of three judges pick the same fighter, then that fighter wins. I think with love, a lot of the decisions we make aren’t always aligned with logic. Our actions don’t always align with our gut. We’ll know deep down something doesn’t feel right, but we try to look the other way. We’ll know it’s time to leave, but we continue to stay. But this song is about being selfless and not thinking with emotions for the first time. She decides to let go of a love that wasn’t good for either of them and finally, her actions aligned with her gut. The majority of her (heart, gut and actions) ruled.

Based in Toronto, are there any local artists that you think we should check out?

Terrell Morris, Kennedy Rd, Yarro, Tay Jireh, Seago and Raahiim!

You’ve performed at several significant Canadian festivals. Is there a performance or festival that stands out as particularly memorable for you and is there a wishlist venue or festival you’d love to perform at?

I really enjoyed performing at the Thompson Hotel in Toronto in 2020. That show was intimate and beautiful. There was a visual artist capturing the emotions of the performance on a canvas while I was singing, which was something I hadn’t seen before.

What is your go-to song when you need a pick-me-up or are in a good mood?

Honestly, if I need something to make me feel good, I’d put on any song by Rema.

What’s next for KIANA? What can fans expect from you in 2023?

I’m really excited about the few projects I’m currently working on and I can’t wait to share them with the world. I’m finalizing my second EP right now which will be different from anything I’ve currently put out. It’s a whole new sound, but also a collection of various sounds and genres. If all goes well, that’ll be out this year.

I also just wrapped up shooting an official music video for my single “wait on me” featuring Montreal artist Lou Celestino, directed by Sina Dolati. Preparing and getting the idea right for this shoot took 6 months but I’m confident in the fact that we created a visual masterpiece with such a beautiful story. I don’t have a confirmed date just yet, but it’s looking like a summer release.

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Photographer: Shayla Anderson

Words: Alexander Williams