While the ’80s music revival has seen no shortage of evangelists (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Daft Punk, Robyn, Haim), the ’90s sound—muddled by every genre from new jack swing to g-funk—is only on the brink of resurrection. Kiesza is one artist set to lead the blitz. “My mom was obsessed with ’90s music,” says the 25-year-old Canadian, who, prior to cutting her singer-songwriter teeth at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, trained as a ballet dancer (and also, incidentally, as a code breaker in the Canadian navy). “It was a lot of those divas like CeCe Peniston and Robin S., whose voices seemed impossible to have.”
As it so happens, Kiesza has one of those voices, and it’s in full effect on her debut EP, Hideaway, a record of neo-soul tracks energized by poppy synths and just the right amount of deep-house La Bouche–style bass. Her hyperinfectious first single, “Hideaway”—which premiered on the BBC Radio 1 show of tastemaker DJ Annie Mac earlier this year, went on to enter the UK Singles Chart at number one, then racked up 65 million (and counting) YouTube views—finds Kiesza in her sweet spot, dynamic vocals energetically fusing with anthemic club beats; and the music video, a single-tracked shot of Kiesza hip-hopping through Brooklyn in her signature eclectic urban street style, is just as fly. But Kiesza’s talents for sonically dialing in to the end of the millennium aren’t limited to the dance floor. She also kills on a pared-down cover of the Haddaway head-bobber “What Is Love” (what’s more ’90s than that?), and hints at even more tempo tinkering on her first full-length album, out later this year. “It fits within a world where dance, ballads, R&B, and breakbeat all mix—but what ties it together is soulfulness. Soulful melody.”
Ducking into Santos Party House on Tuesday (July 22) evening in New York’s vibrant TriBeCa neighborhood, the mood was straight-up Giddy Night Out At The Club Circa 1995, from the rainbow-variety lighting to the fog machine to the deep house cuts the DJ was spinning. Granted, the venue is a nightclub, and said fog machine signaled the entrance on stage of the sweetheart of pop’s ’90s house revival scene: Kiesza.
When the Canadian singer stopped by Idolator for a chat back in March, to the eyes and ears of most, she was simply a girl on a small, independent label with a retro-sounding dance track called “Hideaway” that had a soon-to-be-viral video and a back story involving ballet, the military and a love of all things Michael Jackson.
In just four months, however, “Hideaway” has topped charts across Europe while Kiesza herself has hob-knobbed with Diplo, written music for Rihanna and become the new face of Fendi’s eyewear line. Only one puzzle piece was missing from the diva’s full arrival: her debut show in the United States.
Kieza’s premiere stateside gig was appropriately in New York, the city she now calls home. And while the six-song set was short — to-date, she’s only released an EP, also titled Hideaway — it was packed with, in the flame-haired singer’s own words, “a lot of firsts.”
In case anyone doubted her love of the ’90s, the night got started with Kiesza and her two female dancers voguing (!) their way through energetic fan favorite “No Enemiesz,” a Eurodance gem that has yet to be officially released.
Next up were “Giant In My Heart,” the follow-up single to “Hideaway,” and a stripped-down, ballad version of Haddaway‘s seminal “What Is Love,” which found Kiesza’s small band taking a break as she perched herself at a piano.
The singer introduced her rendition of “Hallelujah” as the first song she ever tackled live. (Adding an old-school hip hop beat to Leonard Cohen? Interesting touch!) Swinging back into dance party mode, Kiesza offered up her very first live performance of “So Deep,” a pulsating house banger off her EP disguised as a lulling, hypnotic slow-jam.
This was later followed by “You’ve Got Me Losing My Mind,” a new hip-house track from her upcoming album. “If you’re in this room, you’re the first ever to hear that song,” Kiesza announced.
The hour-long set was peppered with the singer and her pair of dancers bouncing across the stage in unison, shooting bubbles into the audience and, yes, doing the running man to remixed snippets of party favorites like Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock‘s “It Takes Two” and Bell Biv Devoe‘s “Poison.”
And then, finally, Kiesza ripped into an extended version of “Hideway,” a song that sounds infinitely more fantastic in a club setting than when pouring out of the radio or a laptop. Upon the opening synth note and moody bass thrum of the song, drunk girls sprung to life and twirled, gay dudes lost their shit and the crowd packed into Santos Party House witnessed the winding down of an extremely tight set by one of 2014′s great pop standouts.
If you’ve been anywhere near the radio or internet in the past six months then you’ll be familiar with Kiesza’s break-out hit Hideaway – the bass-driven vocal house ear-worm that hit the top of the UK charts – and its striking viral video, in which Kiesza and a crew of dancers throw shapes all over Williamsburg in one long, fluid shot.
2014 looks set to be the year Kiesza stops writing hits for the likes of Rihanna and Icona Pop and grabs a slice of fame for herself; as Annie Mac said when she premiered Hideaway on Radio 1 back in February, “This is going to be massive; this girl is going to be everyone’s new favourite pop star.” Her debut four-track EP Hideaway dropped earlier this month, and to launch it in Australia Kiesza’s making a fly-by promo visit for one show in Sydney this September.
Source featuring Source with Souce
oic, more from this elusive chanteuse pls.
ONTD, what are your favorite anthems and artists originating from the ’90s? Which timeless classics do you enjoy on the regular to this day?