Kalina & Kiana
Kalina & Kiana are a sensational LA-based pop duo that deliver infectious harmony drivens tunes. The two discovered their compatibility together while harmonizing in their car seats and have since traveled the world writing music together. Their unique brand of “Poetic Pop” powered through their high energy will have you singing along with their music by the time the second chorus comes around. With influences from The Beatles to Broods, their sound is easy on the ears. Be sure to check out their most recent single, “It Had To Be You.”
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Our Dad is an amazing songwriter and we started out playing his songs in an all-girl band that we started when we were 11 and 13 years old. We were primarily singers and musicians, then our Dad helped us become songwriters too. Kiana wrote her first song for our band called “Good Day.” It was the perfect 11-year-old song about having a good day. Then Kalina actually wrote her first song for a middle school choir project called “Soft Rain” where the chorus said, “the tears are falling like soft rain.” So…we definitely had diversity in song topics…which ultimately makes us good partners.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
It’s very hard for us to pick one crazy thing, but we don’t have time to get into our whole story. So, here’s a good one. About 10 years ago (we were probably 12 and 14) there weren’t very many avenues to break a new band. Our management created a TV show about our band, and that was going to be used as the platform to launch our music. We filmed a pilot that was directed at our main target - Disney. We described our show as “The Monkees meets Flight of the Conchords.” Disney loved it! They told us to sit tight, as they were developing a show for The Jonas Brothers, and as soon as they got the the JB show underway, they would start filming ours. And we thought, “Sweet! We are going to be the next Hannah Montana!” A few weeks later, Disney had a press release, describing the new Jonas Brothers’ show as “The Monkees meets Flight of the Conchords.” We were heartbroken. The story definitely continues, but the point is - one of the craziest things that ever happened to us is that Disney (and loves of our lives at the time - A.K.A the Jonas Brothers) stole our show idea. However, this means it was a great idea. And we’re proud of that.
What has been the high point of your music path?
We’ve definitely had a lot of highs. Filming the pilot for Disney, and meeting with the heads of all of the major record labels about our band when we were barely in high school were definitely some of our high points! Then, after things didn’t work out with Disney and our all-girl band broke up, the two of us got an offer to star in a different TV show in Italy about the two of us, fashion, and music. The Italian TV project took a while to get going and when they finally came around to start filming, we felt that we were in a different place in our career and wanted to be known first and foremost for our music. The good news is, we are currently writing music for the show, now titled “Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends,” and we had a blast making a guest appearance! As of recently, we’ve had so many cool opportunities to open for artists like The Bangles and Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness. It has really been amazing. With this new single that we’re releasing, and then with the new EP to come, we feel like we are just getting started.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
It is always different. Sometimes Kalina will come in with an idea, or sometimes Kiana will come in with an idea. Sometimes one of us has a melody we think is cool and we build a song around it, or maybe one of us has a half-baked song and we finish it together. Sometimes we are writing for a specific project, like when we write for “Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends.” The process either starts with “we need to write a song for this project,” or just “Hey! I have an idea for a song that I want to work on.” We find both ways super fun, creative, and challenging. Whatever way the writing process starts, we will sit down for a few hours and try to knock it out. And if we aren’t able to do it in one session, then we come back to it as soon as we can.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Like we mentioned earlier - over 10 years ago it became more difficult to break an artist. iTunes was huge and the record industry started to crumble. Over the years, it just keeps getting harder and harder to break a band. It is so hard to break through all the noise. With YouTube, anyone can be a “singer” just by posting a video, and with 2 million artists on Spotify, how do you get discovered? There needs to be a better way for the true artists to shine through. To be totally honest - the only real way to “make it” is by having a lot of money, powerful connections...or both. Most indie artists don’t have those luxuries. So it seems nearly impossible to get your music heard and get your big break - but that doesn’t mean we will stop trying!
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
That is a tough question. Well, the first answer that pops into our minds is Paul McCartney - obviously. He’s basically our hero. However, if we are talking bands that are similar to us, we have to say Broods or Aly & AJ. We are HUGE Aly & AJ fans and their new EP is amazing. Plus…that would be a “sisters show”, and how fun is that?
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Our rehearsals are honestly different every time. It depends on what kind of show we are preparing for. If it’s an acoustic show, like the one we just at back in December with Andrew McMahon, we just rehearse with our drummer. If it’s a full band show, like we have coming up, we usually take big chunks of time around 2 - 4 hours, rent studio space, and rehearse. If we are rehearsing songs that we already have recorded, we spend time dissecting them to make sure everyone is playing what’s on the recording. However, if it’s a song we just wrote, we take time and arrange it, and decide what kind of sounds we want on the live version of the song.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Actually, our single “It Had To Be You” was probably our greatest challenge! We originally wrote it about 5 years ago. We loved the chorus, and then thought the verses were just “okay.” Then we forgot about it for a while - because we just didn’t think it was a great song. At a sound check for a show about two years ago, Kiana started playing the chorus randomly, and we thought, “Oh wait. That was a good hook!” So we rewrote the verses and we were pretty satisfied with them. We took the song to a producer friend to get his opinion. After his advice, he rewrote the verses again! Then we ended up rewriting them one more time after that. And now we feel great about the song. It’s finally recorded and we’re releasing it, so there will not be any more changes happening to this one!
Take a break and check out their music video for the song!!
What's coming up in the future?
Hopefully some ice cream. But also, we plan on playing a ton of live shows and building some momentum behind our EP! We are so excited for the future and what’s to come! Stay tuned on our website and social media for updates on new releases and shows! kalinaandkiana.com/
Tell us where fans can access your music.