Best known for her epic youtube covers of hits including Drake’s “Passionfruit” and Rihanna’s “Wild Thoughts,” there is no mistaking the vocal powerhouse that is Kiana Ledé. Kiana became known originally for her role as Zoe Vaughn on MTV’s Scream. Uninhibited by labels and categories, Kiana’s craft transcends mediums and genres. One April afternoon, we spent some time with Kiana at a studio in Brooklyn, and got to know the radiant and energetic persona behind the music.
DRØME: When did music first become a passion for you?
Kiana Ledé: My mom taught me the ABC’s when I was 16 months old and since then I have literally not stopped singing. Music is like a second language to me.
What artists are you currently inspired by?
SZA, Kehlani, Rihanna, and Jhene Aiko. They make music that is just so honest. Also, R&B went missing for a little bit and those artists helped bring it back.
Your song “Fairplay” is an empowering post-break up song. What do you think karma or, as you say “fairplay,” looks like in a break up?
Throughout the entirety of one of my relationships, I just wanted my partner to be happy with me. I wanted him to be my friend. Then when I broke up with him, it flipped around and he started wanting those exact same things that I had wanted all along! By that point, I was happy with someone else who was giving me all of those things I was looking for. Karma in this sense is that it was too late when he finally realized he wanted me the way I had wanted him.
What are the dos and don’ts of writing love songs today?
I am not one to put restrictions on anyone’s art, but the one rule I make for myself is my writing has to be a true experience. Whether it is something I’ve witnessed or something I’ve been through, it has to feel real. I honestly can’t write unless its got a huge amount of personal truth in it.
Like “Fairplay,” it feels like more songs about relationships have a feminist edge to them. What position do you think feminism should hold in music today?
Well for me, feminism is in everything I do, music or otherwise. But specifically in music, I think Women are just more open and honest now. For example, I can relate to SZA when she sings "Supermodel," and I can relate to Rihanna when she sings "Bitch Betta Have My Money" because there is strength in being both vulnerable AND in being a boss. I think that myself and other women in Music are highly motivated to create a greater sense of togetherness.
Will there be an upcoming album we can look forward to?
It's coming sooner than you might think!
In the making of DRØME we hope to showcase a community of doers and nourish an attitude of empathy in a world that teaches us to pass judgment rather than practice kindness. The stories, images, and people shared in this magazine are an amalgamation of perspectives often overlooked or explicitly excluded from art and media worlds. The dearth of diverse identities and viewpoints within the arts is harrowing, especially for a young generation that is fighting its hardest to overcome conservative notions of order ultimately practiced as acts of discrimination against the very people and things we find most inspiring. In DRØME, the featured creators and creations encourage us to never shy away from who we are and what we want. Each artist, in sharing their story, embodies their own definition of agency. Against a mainstream ideology that indoctrinates patriarchal, capitalist, and hateful theories turned into policy, the artists in our first issue represent the ways in which art can take power back from society's denigrating control.