Kiana Corley - 10 Questions Music Interview
Kiana Corley is a Pennsylvania-raised singer-songwriter who uniquely blends folk and soul vibes for an eclectic sound that’s all her own. As an in-demand performing and recording artist, Kiana has collaborated with artists such as hip-hop group JBDK. While still in college, she opened for the pop-rock band Young The Giant and also for the Vulcans, a folk group. Along with working on her own solo projects, Kiana sings, plays guitar, and writes for the Lancaster, PA-based pop/soul band No Bad Days who made their debut during Launch Fest in March of 2019.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I grew up singing in choirs and auditioning for musicals, but never thought I could pursue any type of career in it until I was about 13 and had a specific choir rehearsal that changed my mindset on things. This girl standing next to me, who I admired a lot because of how beautiful I thought her voice was, told me that she thought I sounded really good. That was the first real validation I'd ever gotten because before then, I never sang in front of anyone. As my confidence grew, so did my interest in writing music as well as performing it. A Berklee songwriting camp, that I raised money to attend when I was 18, also really helped me learn how to grow as a songwriter specifically, and not just a performer.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I'm sure there is a crazier instance than this that I'm forgetting, but this was something that happened recently while my band and I were playing outside during a weirdly warm fall day. Since the flowers were dying at that point, the wasps were all over everyone, including us! No one got stung, but since I'm extremely terrified of wasps, it was incredibly hard to concentrate on anything I was doing. I actually had to sit out of a song that I didn't really sing much in anyways, just to give myself a break from the swarm.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Probably getting to go to Nashville to write songs with a successful music producer! I really learned a lot during that whole experience.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Honestly it's never the same! A lot of my songs have come as a result of random melody blurbs that I sing into my voice memos on my phone, and then when I get home I write music underneath and the lyrics come last. However, this process does not always happen for all songs. All elements of a song have come to me first at different times.
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?
Whenever we tend to find ways to break out into a larger audience, such as through playlisting or youtube channels, bigger companies and labels tend to get control of those systems to the point where independent artists can no longer promote themselves through those ways anymore. When a new way of promotion is discovered, you basically have to jump on it right then and there, or else it becomes not nearly as useful.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
H.E.R., because she's basically everything I want to be as an artist. She plays several different instruments and sings flawlessly, like it's nothing. I would love to be able to bounce around from instrument to instrument like she does. Maybe if we played live together, some of her talent would rub off on me.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
If it's with my band, I create any new charts to send to them several weeks beforehand, then practice them on my own time. I usually meet with my band only once or twice before a show, because we all like to do prep work on our own time. If it's acoustic, then all that was said before still applies, just without sending any charts anywhere! I also really like to practice what I say too, because I will absolutely stumble over my words if I don't. I also always drink a lot of water and tea the day of the show!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I think I have to pick my song "Butterflies" because of how many different lyrics that melody line went through. Nothing seemed to fit the music I'd written for it. I changed that song around and re-"solidified" it at least four different times before it became what it is today.
What's coming up in the future?
Lots and lots of writing and recording! I'm hoping to focus on completing an album in 2020. Also tons of shows on the east coast.
Tell us where fans can access your music?