Music Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How KIANA Is Helping to Change Our World

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The main thing is to remember that this movement isn’t a “trend” or just a moment in time. It’s easy to support something when it’s amplified in the media, but when that noise dies down, our voices become the only support that they have. Social media is a powerful tool and it can be used to continue amplifying the movement. The second and third things would be to research and learn. Understand how this movement really impacts all women globally.

As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing KIANA.

KIANA, Toronto Singer/Songwriter, is known for her melodic soundscapes and moody lyrics, effortlessly weaving emotions into her music. With a unique ability to capture the essence of raw feelings, KIANA’s songs resonate deeply, inviting listeners into her introspective world. Her artistry unfolds as a poignant reflection of personal experiences, drawing inspiration from the eclectic cityscape of her hometown.

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?

It’s kind of a funny story because I’ve had several bumps in the road that redirected me away and back to music throughout my journey. I’ve always had a deep desire for a career in music because in all honestly, it was the only thing that I felt I was exceptional at. I really enjoyed harmonizing with any song that would come on the radio, or imagining different chorus alternatives when I would get really attached to a song. Since I was little, music has always been the one thing to keep my creative brain and curiosity going. I had a small moment when I was 17 when I thought a career in music wasn’t sustainable and wouldn’t make my Middle Eastern parents happy, so I decided to focus all my efforts on going to university and finding something else that I’m good at. During that time I discovered a passion for marketing and branding, which is what I would take a lot of courses in. Funny enough, it was those courses that opened up a world of possibilities for me when it came to my music. Studying and learning from other brands and businesses and how entrepreneurs put their passion and art at the forefront of their ventures was what gave me hope. During my second year of university, I started writing music again and made a promise to myself that I’d release my first single in the new year and really make this happen for myself. There were a lot of lessons learned during the process of it all, but the main one for me was the importance of doing what makes you happy. A lot of people will have opinions on what they think is the best choice for you, but no one knows you better than you and your heart.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think one of the funniest mistakes I made starting out was being overly confident in knowing my lyrics when I would perform live, which led to zero rehearsal time. I remember a show I did in 2019, my bestfriend had to mouth out the lyrics to me because I completely blanked (I was also very nervous). Looking back now, me and her laugh so hard thinking about this because how is it that she knew my lyrics better than me?

But the lesson out of it is that there is no such thing as being over prepared! It’s your craft and you are the sole representation of your artistry. Give it all you got and give the best performance of your life each time. This includes rehearsing for those moments, even if they’re intimate shows.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

I would advise any young aspiring artist to stay true to themselves and their unique vision. Embrace your individuality and create the art that speaks to you, regardless of expectations. Momentum and dedication are key. Hone your craft, keep learning, and never shy away from hard work. On the other hand, be nice to people and learn to make friends. Not every person you will meet will be a connection or someone that will lead you to an opportunity. There is so much beauty in building a circle of people that you can be inspired by, relate to and learn from.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I think the person who made a profound impact on my life is my producer/bestfriend, Arham. We met in 2019 when he dmed me on Instagram and asked if it was okay to remix one of my songs. At the time, I wasn’t really comfortable with remixes, but I took a chance on it and I ended up liking it more than the original! After that, we continued to work on a lot of original music, and I felt that Arham really understood which sound I was drawn to. I would text him with a few sentences describing the sort of production I wanted, and he’d send me back an idea that was identical to what I had in my mind. I swear we have a telepathic connection because he turns my exact ideas and words into sounds.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?

As an Iranian woman, it’s really important for me to bring awareness to the Women Life Freedom movement going on with every opportunity that I get. Iranians do not have the ability to self-express through any form of art, and this not only goes for women too, but it adds to the list of several different rights that have been stripped from them. Knowing that I’m in a place where I can freely make music, is a blessing but it wouldn’t be fair to call this a privilege. Expression is for everyone and I perceive this to be a right. I hope that with more awareness around this, more people will begin to acknowledge and care about how people are being treated in Iran and the everyday limitations they’re living with.

Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Women Life Freedom supports the countless brave and resilient women who have stood up against oppression and fought for their rights in Iran. Their courage and determination while being in a challenging environment have fueled my commitment to amplifying their voices. Being deeply moved by the women that look like me and talk like me, but also are my family, is why I’m dedicated to advocating for their rights everyday and essentially promoting the fundamental right to live authentically and pursue their aspirations. The fight for women in Iran is a crucial battle for equality and justice, and I am honored to stand in solidarity with these incredible women.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

There isn’t one particular person that was impacted the most, but I’ve received a lot of love and recognition from the women in my family that live back home in Iran. It makes me feel immensely fulfilled that I can be their voice.

Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

The main thing is to remember that this movement isn’t a “trend” or just a moment in time. It’s easy to support something when it’s amplified in the media, but when that noise dies down, our voices become the only support that they have. Social media is a powerful tool and it can be used to continue amplifying the movement. The second and third things would be to research and learn. Understand how this movement really impacts all women globally.

Why do you think music in particular has the power to create social change and create a positive impact on humanity?

Music is the only universal language and it has this incredible power to bridge gaps between people from all walks of life. It’s like this binding force that doesn’t care about borders or backgrounds. When we listen to music, we’re sharing and relating to emotions that words can’t capture. It brings deep feelings up to the surface and sometimes, those feelings are the fuel that spark change. Musicians are just modern-day storytellers, using melodies and lyrics to shine a light on what’s around us. And the beautiful thing is, we listen. We listen and we resonate. Those songs become anthems, and they have the power to push a movement forward. I think the best example of this was Shervin Hajpour’s song “Baraye”. This Iranian artist wrote and filmed an original song dedicated to the current situations in Iran, and shortly after was forced to remove the song off all platforms and was sentenced to prison. Because of how strongly this song resonated with people, it was everyway on social media and became inescapable. It even became the anthem of “Women’s Life Freedom”. The way this song moved people is the reason why he was released from prison. In essence, music is a powerful storyteller for society. It has this magic that makes us feel connected, nudging us to act, to care, and to be a part of something greater.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”?

  • Do not compare your accomplishments to other people. Everyone is on their own independent journey and the timing of your life is not accidental. Just trust the process and focus on you!
  • You are the sum of the 5 people around you. Surround yourself with like-minded people who inspire you and keep your energy flowing in the right direction.
  • Be your most authentic version of yourself. If people don’t like it, they’re not meant to be a part of your journey.
  • Mentality & attitude is everything. Discipline yourself to stay positive through any challenges and hopeful. Your reality is a reflection of your inner thoughts.
  • Create what you want to create. Not what’s going to sell, or what you think the public might like. It’s okay to keep these things in mind, but the music should always follow where your heart is.

You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

If I were to initiate a movement it would be around empathy. I feel that there is a lot of dark energy in our world and we can often get caught up in our own stories and lives and think that this world revolves around us. I would call the movement “Empathy Amplified”, and it would revolve around fostering empathy on a global scale. It would encourage people to understand and connect with the experiences, emotions, and perspectives of others. The world needs more empathy to bridge gaps and reduce conflicts, and overall I think we could all use more compassion.

The movement would advocate for educational reforms to include empathy training in curricula, emphasizing the importance of understanding diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. We could develop interactive apps and platforms that facilitate virtual experiences, allowing individuals to step into someone else’s shoes and gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives. By sparking a collective shift towards empathy, we can work towards a world where kindness, understanding, and compassion prevail.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

In a world of melodies and rhythms, knowledge of music theory and technique will forever be the foundation. But imagination and creativity give birth to groundbreaking sounds. Imagination allows me to blend influences, genres, and experiences into a unique musical landscape, offering something new and captivating to listeners. My music is an exploration of the limitless possibilities that imagination affords. It’s about pushing the boundaries, envisioning sounds that haven’t been heard before, and evolving as an artist.

Bottom of Form

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

A dream lunch would be with either Alicia Keys or Mindy Kaling. I think there is so much to learn from both of them, but they also both just seem like a good time.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Music Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How KIANA Is Helping to Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.