The Calgary-born-and-bred pop singer known as Kiesza has a colourful résumé that includes a ballet-training as a teenager, a stint with the Royal Canadian Navy in high school and a degree from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Her calling card though is last year’s thumping dance hit Hideaway (from her album Sound of a Woman) and its exuberant dance-around-the block video. In advance of her performance at Sunday’s Juno Awards in Hamilton – she’s up for four trophies – we spoke to her from New Zealand.
There’s a line in your hit song Hideaway: ‘Not even I can find a way to stop the storm / Oh, baby, it's out of my control, what's going on?’ Given the incredible success of the song and the video, is that how things felt when it broke so big last year?
When things first started picking up, my creativity went from 100 to zero. It was like drinking water from a fire hose. It was so quick and so intense. I went from living moment to moment to having my whole life scheduled a year in advance.
Looking back at it now, what do you feel you did right with the Hideaway song and video?
All the people in the video are just friends of mine or the choreographer. There was practically no budget; my brother filmed it. We didn’t have a permit to shoot it, and everybody was doing it because they wanted to be there. I was just being myself, and that’s why people connected with it. The song is a throwback to the early nineties. I feel it has a lot of nostalgia to it for people over 35. But for teenagers, it’s a completely new sound. So, it captures different audiences. I even notice babies can sing the “ooh-ah” part.
You’ll perform at this weekend’s Juno broadcast, but I’m wondering if you’re already looking forward to next year’s Juno Awards, which will be held in your hometown of Calgary.
Next year in Calgary? Really, I didn’t know that. I’ll have to be there as well.
Well, you’ll need some new music. What are you working on now?
I’m between albums at the moment. I’ll start writing at the beginning of the summer and start the process for the second album. I’m doing a few collaborations now.
Right, with hip-hop artist Joey Badass. And you’re on the single Take Ü There from Jack Ü, Skrillex and Diplo’s side project. But I want to talk about your work with Duran Duran. How did that happen?
The lead singer Simon Le Bon was in a gym and I guess he was running when my song came on the video screen. He really liked it, and reached out to me, letting me know that he had a song that he wanted me to sing on. Later we all met up in the studio. I went to one of their shows, and I believe I’m going to be on their next album.
Seems like you’ve fallen into a groove, after the initial rush of the Hideaway explosion.
It’s been difficult keeping up to the song, because it’s still moving so quickly around the world. But once you adapt to this lifestyle, you do have the control to say yes and say no. Over the last two months or so, I’ve been regaining the creativity I felt I was losing to all the stress and travel. There’s a lot to be inspired by. And that never goes away.
The 2015 Juno Awards take place March 15, 7 p.m., $39 to $149, FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, 1-855-872-5000 or ticketmaster.ca.