Canadian-born, New York City-based singer/songwriter Kiesza (one of my Ones To Watch) might have only just released her debut album, Sound of a Woman (Lokal Legend/Island Records | iTunes) here in America but the 25 year old lover-of retro club beats has already packed her parachute pants and hopped a plane across the pond. That’s right! While breakout hit “Hideaway” S-L-O-W-L-Y makes it’s way up the Billboard charts here in the States (so far it’s peaked at No. 51 on the Hot 100) over in the UK Kiesza is prepping for the release of her THIRD official single, the INFECTIOUS 90s house throwback (and clear album/live STANDOUT) “No Enemiesz.” The single is due out November 24th (Virgin EMI | iTunes) ahead of the UK release of her album on December 1st. Typically, the music I REALLY like is released in the UK MONTHS…sometimes even YEARS before it sees the light of iTunes in America. I’m pretty happy we got Kiesza first, to be perfectly honest.
It’s pretty clear to me that Kiesza‘s brand of 90s-infused house-pop isn’t nearly as popular here in America as it is in Europe, but the very fact that Kiesza’s U.S. record label—Island Records—is pushing her as aggressively as they have been makes me happy. By the time Kiesza played her FIRST U.S. show (in a small NYC club) she had already played MASSIVE international festival, snapping photos in front of thousands of people! Her style of music just sells better in Europe and that’s OK, although it’s creeping up here in America. I’m still impressed with the amount of relative success that she’s seen over here.
Following it’s U.S. release, Sound of a Woman debuted at No. 42 on the Billboard 200 (not bad) and No. 1 on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart. In addition to cracking the elusive Billboard Hot 100 (after weeks ‘BUBBLING UNDER‘) “Hideaway” slid into Billboard‘s Mainstream Top 40 chart, peaking at No. 17. More expectedly, Kiesza‘s been making waves on the U.S. dance charts, going Top 5 on both Billboard‘s Dance Airplay and Hot Dance Club Songs charts. The song also was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. “Hideaway” also landed Kiesza a spot on Demi Lovato‘s most recent tour as one of her openers, not to mention prominent live TV appearances on Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen Degeneres and more. While Kiesza‘s U.S. success is slow-burning thus far, over in Europe promotional efforts are really starting to heat up.
Following “Hideaway‘s” UK release, the single hit No. 1 the singles chart (also hitting No. 1 in Belgium, and Holland), while follow-up single, “Giant In My Heart” debuted at No. 4. That’s two Top 5 UK singles, ladies and gentlemen. While it appeared for a minute that Kiesza was giving it a good, solid go here in the States—it’s pretty obvious that her main focus is Britain (and wisely so).
I’ve been enjoying Sound of a Woman for weeks now, and the more I listen to it, the more I want to see her live again. I’m hoping that after she finishes her current six date European tour (which wraps November 19th in Manchester) she’ll pop back here for a couple of shows. The album’s shameless ode to the 1990s is what makes it so enjoyable for me. My greatest worry was that Kiesza would leave us with 1-2 neon-dipped 90s house tracks and then throw in some contemporary dubstep garbage, but no. Kiesza herself has spoken out about how people assume she’s strictly a dance music vocalist, but nothing could be farther from the truth. According to Kiesza:
“I think people will be surprised to hear some of the songs on this album. Because of the success of my first two singles, I’m seen perhaps as a House or Dance artist but I’ve been in to grunge, rock, folk groups in the past. All of those experiences and influences have led me to create this album.”
And all of these influences can be heard in her debut album. According to the press release;
“As a multi-faceted musician, Kiesza experiments with sonic structure and genre patterns; Hip Hop, R&B, UKG and Breakbeat all permeate the record, while some of its key moments come in the form of spine-tingling ballads, the perfect backdrop to underline Kiesza’s incredible vocal.”
Sound of a Woman is most definitely one of the year’s most exciting pop records—brilliantly structured, effortlessly sung, flawlessly produced—it’s a shimmering pop masterpiece. I just can’t get enough.
Check out the video for “No Enemiesz” below, directed by Syndrome and filmed in, what appears to be a GORGEOUS loft somewhere in Brooklyn. Kiesza, once again, demonstrates her SICK 90s-inspired hip-hop dance moves, this time with some special effects added in (her video budget’s clearly been upped since “Hideaway“). Kiesza co-wrote the song with Rami Samir Afuni who serves as producer on the entirety of Sound of a Woman, and serves as Kiesza’s boss at Lokal Legend (Afuni’s own label).
“No Enemiesz” is backed by remixes from Syn Cole, Jauz, My Nu Leng and Stefan Ponce. UK fans can download it November 24th, or if you live in America—get it on iTunes.