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Meet Kia Knoester

Today we’d like to introduce you to KIA.

Kia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was always drawn to music. I grew up with music all around me, my dad had his own band with his brothers when he was younger and he always played guitar when I was a kid. My mom played the accordion when she was young and when my brother and I joined a fanfare orchestra, she started playing soprano saxophone and my dad started playing tenor saxophone. I wanted to play trumpet back then, but because I was such a little girl of six years old, with no big lung capacity, this was almost impossible for me to do. So I ended up playing the French horn for about six years. I already had a feeling I needed to challenge myself back then so I did classical guitar on the side also for six years. After this, I had a few piano lessons, but I didn’t start experimenting with my voice until I was about 17 years old.

It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to do in life. It always crossed my mind to study at a Conservatory, but I was afraid that if I would be busy with music every day, I would lose my interest in it. I just wasn’t ready back then.

I tried different universities, which didn’t satisfy me and something always drew me back to what I loved most: Music. So I ended up doing a Performing Arts School in Arnhem, The Netherlands. I started writing a lot of music, experimented with different genres, gained a lot of performance experience and finished up a degree in Vocal Performance. I started my solo project not too long after that with some great musicians in Arnhem.

I auditioned for ArtEZ Conservatory Jazz & Pop for my Bachelor in Music and graduated four years later with honors on my own organized open-air music festival (Paradigm Shift Festival) in the centre of Arnhem, The Netherlands.

During my Bachelors, I did an Academic Songwriting Semester in Los Angeles, USA and that just opened up a whole other world for me. I found a place that felt like ‘my home’. The way of living here inspired me, the beautiful people and their crafts, the environment, the weather lol. I wrote a lot of songs during that semester and my main goal when I got back to The Netherlands, was to do everything in my power to get right back to LA.

I auditioned at Cal State LA for my Masters in Music, got accepted and am now halfway through. I’m very fortunate to have met a lot of talented musicians here, so I set up a band for live shows and have been playing in and around the greater Los Angeles area.

Apart from that, I’m a writer and recording artist. I write for my own project but also for other artists and companies. I have to keep the creative mind flowing in order to keep developing myself as a artist/ person.

Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t believe smooth roads exist. What would a path be without any challenges? Plus it creates great art! Some challenges may be bigger than others and I believe my road certainly has experienced some big bumps.

First of all, moving to the other side of the world. That was the biggest step of my life, mentally, physically and definitely financially. I felt like it was the right time in my life to think big, so I decided to do bigger. Doesn’t mean that everything came easy for me. I left everything and everyone behind to go to LA (which is definitely not a cheap city) and money was not growing on trees no.

I applied for tons of scholarships in The Netherlands and in the USA. I’ve experienced rejection after rejection, but luckily there were also scholars/ funding and people that did believe in what I stood for, what I was doing and what I wanted to achieve. If it weren’t for those companies/ people, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I will never take any of that for granted.

Second, but a smaller bump in the road I guess, was the growth on my vocal cords during my Conservatory years. Not convenient, but surely at the right spot/time to fix it.

Then the music business is such a weird world. A lot of weight comes on your shoulders as a female independent artist. I’ve surely experienced some bumps there, but try to keep my backbone as strong as it can be and won’t be pushed over by nobody.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with your work– tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I am a vocalist/ songwriter. I guess throughout the years with a lot of hard work and practice, I’ve developed a specific sound. Just like my mixed heritage, my music reflects a mixture of different genres; Pop, Soul and R&B. I write music because it’s the greatest free therapy there is, it keeps me grounded. It gives me total freedom and on top of that, I’m allowed to share this with the rest of the world online but also on stage.

I just released my latest single ‘Secrets’ that has been produced by Jason Lindner (New York, USA) and which is part of my upcoming debut EP Tomorrow’s Mind. This six-track album is to be released around the end of the fall. I’m working together with my close friend Lars Hempel (Hamburg, Germany) who is producing the rest of the album.

I already started writing new music for a second album so follow me on Instagram: @kiaknoester – to stay updated about my music and upcoming live shows.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Environment is such an important factor for me in life. I didn’t grow up in a country with nice beaches, skyscrapers, palm trees and good weather (not hating on The Netherlands though, it’s just different). So to have all of this with just a step out of my house inspires me so much every day and gives me a smile.

This city is filled with creative minds and it’s so easy to connect with everybody.

One thing I don’t like for sure is the traffic, but who does right? And I guess there are some people that can be two-faced. In the end, everybody’s looking out for themselves here which is understandable, but that means that you will have to do too in some situations.

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Image Credit:
Kai Davis Visuals
Ronnie van Schenkhof
Mathias Fau

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