Las Vegas-based artist Kiara Musik is a 2016 alum, who recently performed on our Instagram Live series Spotlight Unplugged. Kiara was also a 2019 participant on NBC’s The Voice, making it onto “Team Gwen.” We caught up with her to learn more about her artistic journey as she follows her dream of a career in music. Our virtual stages continue to shine, elevating young voices nationwide and around the globe!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as an artist?
I grew up singing and writing with my family. I started doing musical theater at 10 and then started doing more solo performances in middle school. I then got into piano, guitar, and bass. I now have performed all over America. I write for artists around the world, I mentor, and I do audio/ visual work when I’m not singing on stage.
How did you get your start in the music industry?
My parents signed me up for musical theater and they just kept me involved. I started getting opportunities. I learned how to network and things fell into place. Hard work, having a solid team of supporters, and never giving up is what’s allowed me to get where I am– but I still have so far to go.
How did you get involved with Music Forward?
I was at school and saw a “Bringing Down the House” poster for an opportunity to learn more and perform on the House of Blues stage and decided to get involved. Definitely an amazing decision.
What is one of your favorite Music Forward memories so far?
My second year when my band and I sang “Creep”. Performing that song was so fun!
Music Forward and Bringing Down the House was kind of my first taste of venturing out and doing rock music and diversifying myself as an artist. I had grown up listening to all of these songs, but when they we were brainstorming around our performances and someone mentioned that I could do like Radiohead, I thought I am definitely going to do that!
The opportunity that Bringing Down the House really brought me was it helped me to see the different kinds of people and the various types of artists, which helped me to not limit myself and to open myself up for other opportunities.
Was there ever a time that you doubted yourself and if so, how did you overcome that challenge?
I’ve definitely doubted myself when I would compare myself to others, but I have amazing people in my life who remind me that I’m an individual made to express myself freely and uniquely.
What was your experience participating in The Voice, how did you get that opportunity?
It was very enlightening and beautiful. I learned so much about myself as an artist and as a person. The opportunity was sort of random. I received a phone call during my last semester of college to participate and decided to give it a try. It’s definitely something that I am so grateful that was put in my path.
When I did audition, I was about the last 30 seconds of my performance when the chair turned. First Blake Shelton and then Gwen Stefani. It was surreal.
I do believe Gwen was one of the best coaches, because she’s not really just a vocalist, she’s an artist and I felt that I could really learn from that. I felt that I could learn how to really be authentic in my art, not necessarily be perfect, but to be different and to be myself. She really challenged me. It was an amazing challenge and there was purpose in that. It helped me expand my voice as an artist.
What is your songwriting process?
Conversations with people and movies inspire my songs. I just sit down at my guitar and piano and I explore chord options until something really feels right and I allow the melody to talk to me.
What piece of advice would you give to an artist first entering the music industry?
Stay true to who you are as you evolve and grow. Don’t let the world change you, instead change the world. You don’t have to be one thing, being an artist is pushing the limits. You have a place in this world and you have a purpose in this world. You matter in this world.
What are some of the changes that you’d like to see take place in the music industry?
I’d like to see more authenticity. The mainstream industry seems very plastic at times. I miss how raw music used to be with artists like Carol King, Nina Simone, or even Tracy Chapman.
How does music move you?
Music allows me to express myself freely and openly. Songs are like my diary.