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Talking to Toronto-Based Singer, Songwriter KIIA
1. Can we discuss a few of the instruments you learned growing up?
I grew up learning traditional Persian instruments, Setar followed by Tar from the age of 7. I gravitated more towards the guitar in high school and in University I started learning guitar, jamming, and writing music.
2. For those relatively new to songwriting, can you describe the process you use to make music?
Oh absolutely; the process of songwriting is my favorite thing in the World. I write every single day and it’s how I express myself, my emotions, thoughts, and also how I make sense of my life experiences. The process of songwriting can be very different depending on the song/ concept. Sometimes it’s all an inspiration while I’m writing, sometimes I write to a beat that one of my producers sends me. But most of the time I write songs on the guitar by first laying out a chord progression and jamming to it till I come up with a great melody or hook.
3. You and bandmate Farshid created Empire Eleven, a bilingual Farsi-English band together in 2014. What was it like creating songs like “Fantasy”? How did it feel to receive over 1 million plays worldwide?
My experience with Empire Eleven was great; I mean the whole journey. First of all, Farshid is one of my best friends so to start something from nothing together and building a brand with no money/ connections, was a very rewarding experience. Releasing “Fantasy” was definitely one of the highlights of our journey together as a band. We literally woke up the next day with tons of messages, comments, videos of people singing our song… People we didn’t know! It’s such an adrenaline rush! There’s no better feeling for a musician than seeing people feel & connect with your music, singing your song back, and memorizing every word.
4. Can you tell us a little about your background in fitness? Can you describe the importance of staying active and eating right?
Fitness has always been a big part of my life! I started working out at 15 years old and for me it was a way of expressing myself, getting my aggression out, and taking out my frustrations. Then, life threw me a curveball and I had serious health problems when I was 17 till I was19 years old, in & out of hospitals with 8 surgeries and over 6 months stay in the hospital after the last procedure. So when I finally got out, I went into a complete overdrive mentally, physically, and spiritually! That’s when I found a deeper reason and fitness became an even bigger part of my life cuz I was determined to transform my life. This transformation was so impactful in my life that I decided to give others the same gift & inspire them to turn their pain into power; in essence, turning dreams into reality! I’ve been professionally involved in the fitness industry for over 12 years now and done everything from consulting, training, to managing some of the biggest fitness clubs, owning my own business, competing in fitness shows to winning World championships in fitness modeling and being published in numerous fitness & lifestyle magazines. Nowadays, it serves as an anchor for my thoughts, emotions and gives me the energy & vitality to be a better version of myself and progress daily to better serve my loved ones and community.
5. What can we expect from your latest track “Around The Globe”?
Around the Globe is by far my best song to date. It’s a sexy, upbeat track full of passion & zest for life with that special someone! I absolutely love this song & so excited for people to hear it… cuz if you like my previous music, this will definitely top all of them for you!
Never Let You Go with KIIA ft. Maneli Jamal
Around the Globe with KIIA