EXCLUSIVE: Kiiara Talks Debut Album “lil kiiwi” and More

After exploding onto the scene over five years ago, Atlantic Records recording artist Kiiara has released her highly-anticipated debut album lil kiiwi.

The incredible project is highlighted by the princess of chop pop’s collaboration with superstar rapper blackbear,“So Sick” as well as six brand-new tracks, recently released singles “I Still Do,” “Never Let You” and “Numb (feat. DeathbyRomy and PVRIS),” and past hits “Gold,” Whippin (Feat. Felix Snow)”and “Feels.”

lil kiiwi finds Kiiara bringing a new level of self-possession to her music, fully embracing her instincts in every step of the process and capturing the strange complexities of love. This is exemplified in the track “So Sick (feat. blackbear),” a bold but brightly textured tale of a toxic romance. “As soon as I cut the vocals on that song I could hear him on it,” Kiiara recalls. “We hadn’t spoken in a long time but he hit me right back and said he’d love to do it. It ended up being a playful, dramatic song.”

ECHO chatted with Kiiara about her debut album and much more!

Talk about because I kind of know how you like found the name, but like what kind of made you think like that was the perfect name for your album? 

Well it’s actually a nickname that my really good friends. Like gave me like one of my friends gave me the nickname when I was going into the booth. They’re like, “All right let’s go little Kiwi.” And I was like, “It’s little Kiki.” He’s like, “Nah lil Kiwi.” And I was like “okay” and then just our friend group just ran with it and now that’s what everyone like will call me either Kiwi or Kiki. Kiwi for this album is to represent like not necessarily an alter ego, but like a side of me that I feel like people never really understood it was like me early in my career. I was you know not transparent back then and I didn’t do a lot of interviews and let people in really because I was still like learning myself.  So, now this album it’s like kind of bringing people into my world like completely and like explaining you know not explaining, but like all right like I’m letting everyone in like let’s go. Like let’s start this like journey officially you know. 

So, like what’s it like finally going to release your album for like people to hear after being in the industry for a while now? 

It’s exciting it’s like a little nerve-wracking. I never understood like I’ve seen other artists be like, “Oh I’m nervous to put out my album. I was just like, “Why are you nervous? I’d be excited like what are you talking about?” But now I get it, it’s like okay like you have all these songs to choose from for years. And it’s like did I pick the right ones like I don’t know. There’s so many like what ifs you can create in your own head, but it’s like you know with low kiwi album like I have to like take a step back I’m like I’m actually like really you know excited. It’s like each song on there, serves a purpose. I’m really excited just like I hope I can help people. That’s like why I love music is because like even the artists I look up to it’s like if I’m feeling a certain way, I’ll put on their music or if I’m going for a run and it’s like it helps me. So, I want my music to be able to do that for other people and that’s like my main focus. 

What would you say is kind of like the overall kind of like yeah, I guess theme in a way to this album? 

The overall theme would be um just that like bringing people into my world. Theme wise it’s just kind of I was really reckless and like unpredictable back then and you know there were like relationships I really messed up on accident like not realizing, but looking back I’m like, “Wow I would have done that way differently.” But it’s like you know it just shows like my perspective you know back then. 

Talk about like creating that song “I Still Do” because that was kind of like a big song for you this year. 

Yes. It was awesome like Jason Edison and Ali Trumpose and Justin Tranter are incredible to work with or with the song on or worked on the song with. I can’t even talk right. But yeah, I mean like it’s just about looking back and really like wondering you know why do I still have so much love for someone like despite the situation and all that. It’s like realizing like okay that’s just the type of person I am. I’ve just come to learn that about myself over the years. So, it’s kind of a reflective but like in the past and that’s why the pink hair we brought back for the video. Looking back like how did I ever love you, so I’m kind of narrating it in a way and then it’s like yeah. 

Talk about the song “Numb” and collaborating with DeathbyRomy and PVRIS on the song, how did you guys get connected and what about their voices in a way like made you think they would add something special to the song? 

So, we got connected through so my team you know and I’ve been a fan of both Paris and Rami. So, when I heard that they were down to be on the song I was like, “Oh my gosh like that’s incredible.” I was like, “I can’t wait to hear.” So, when they sent over um their verses, I just had it on repeat. I was just like thinking, “How did all of our voices fit together?” I would have never like thought we could make this happen and then when I heard it just made so much sense. And it’s like girl power, emo anthem. It’s like got that dark vibe and it just all kind of happened naturally. We didn’t force it at all. The song had been already just sitting for like years and then it kind of just made its way to what it is now.  

Three years ago, I never would have imagined like you know, but it’s just like so beautiful how the art can like change and form into like there’s so many different versions you know. 

Then speaking of which you collaborated with a lot of artists like Linkin Park and Cheat Codes and Tye Dollar Sign which is really cool but random like not your type of music. Who kind of would you like love to collaborate with in like the future? 

There’s like a few. I have like a little list. I would love to work with Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Halsey, Eminem… who else? There’s more. Bring me the Horizon I would love to work with them. I can keep going.  

Definitely. I mean I know you can’t really like say a whole lot because the album is not yet out. Do you have a song that maybe you could just say the letters to that connects with you the most? 

Yes, I can see the title. I’ve been saying that. The song, “Accidental” is my favorite of the album. It’s just like I have a hard time listening to it because every time I do like I’ll cry because it’s like a very personal record. Yeah like that’s probably my favorite one. I don’t want to give away like what it’s about. I’ve shared a snippet of it before like on my social media. So, like some people are like, “Is that Accidental?” “Is that-that one?” I’m like I don’t know. Yeah, I feel like when people hear it, they’ll be like, “Oh my god.” 

If you could set up a fan in a setting for them to listen to your new album what setting would that be? 

That’s a tough one. You know my mind’s going to like change like today it’ll be this setting, tomorrow it’s going to be like. I’d say in a car like, but like you know where you sit in the back and just like chilling. I don’t know. Like you’re in just this big like suburban by yourself, just in the back chilling looking like out the window like kind of just like wow like a reflection. You’re driving through like just like scenic like at night and all the lights. I picture here like in LA like you see the hill, like the light on the hill. 

What’s one quote you’ve heard in life that you’d want to echo out to the world? 

I’d say one this is like something Chester told me. I feel like you can I don’t know use it towards different circumstances. So, I asked him, “When does this get easier?” Honestly like life in general anything and he like turned around, he’s like when you go out there and you like quit giving a fuck. “When you go out there and you’re like this is me, this is who I am like this is what I do and you just go out there and you know have that confidence.” I’d say that quote like has definitely- I remember that quote like all the time.

Listen to “So Sick” by Kiiara featuring blackbear now!

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