Kiana Ledé’s journey to international R&B stardom has been anything but easy, and she’ll be the first to tell you. Growing up under the wings of two self-raised, minority parents with little to no money at all, the young Arizona native embraced the struggle early on and let it fuel her music along with the journey to come. With nothing but this dream and desire to make great music fueling her, its no surprise a solo move to Los Angeles to bet on herself and her talent has panned out the way it has. When you come from out the mud there’s only one direction you can go in, and that’s up.
Ledé has certainly come a long way since starring in the TV Series Scream and All About The Washingtons during a brief stint within the film and television side of the entertainment industry as well. In 2012, under her real name Kiana (Ledé) Brown she released “Hey Chica”, which is today at just under 900K streams on Youtube. For a fourteen year old as a presumed freshman in high school, that’s a pretty impressive feat to accomplish while most students are focusing on algebra homework, not vocals they’re laying down on a track.
However, compare that to her biggest hit to date in the single EX, now topping 66 million streams on Spotify (not to mention a exclusive record deal with RCA), and we start to see a clearer vision of the brand Ledé is beginning to build for herself while it’s still extremely early on in her career. It wasn’t a straight shot for Kiana though.
But before we get too far ahead, let's talk about the timeline and execution that took place in between this journey to get to Kiana’s latest single in Mad At Me.
After that unofficial debut in Hey Chica, Kiana released an EP entitled Soulful Sessions in 2015 where she slowed down and remixed some already well known, hit songs in the industry including Post Malone’s White Iverson, Justin Bieber’s Where Are You Now, and Trey Songz Slow Motion showcasing both her talent and amazing range in her voice. However for the time being, we only heard mashups and remixes, a total of 4, plus some Christmas covers.
Not until later in 2017 did Kiana begin to take over the entirety of a part of her own song on a feature with New Orleans artist Pell entitled I Choose You, following it up with an acoustic version. One could consider this, by industry standards, her debut single of sorts. Later on that same year the young phenom released two more singles in Fairplay and One Of Them Days, a duo of upbeat pop type songs with catchy and layered vocals.
In 2018, Kiana blessed us with her first album Selfless, which featured several songs that reached an excess of a million plays, most notably Wicked Games with just under 14 million. This album introduced what we know now as her greatest hit to date in the slow, sad, wave making song EX. Her gift in being able to express her true feelings and raw emotion unapologetically on a track such as this one, a talent that she had been fine tuning for so many years, caught the attention of (at the time) the ‘rising rapper’ turned superstar Lil Baby, who did a remix of his own, as well as industry staple French Montana.
In June of 2019 Kiana released another follow up EP entitled Myself which was a bit more on the pop spectrum of things rather than R&B. This EP, including features from Offset and Jenifer Lewis, touches on tracks like Bouncin’ with the Migos cohort where they go back and forth over a beachy, upbeat style track.
These 2018 and 2019 efforts in the studio lead Ledé to reap the benefits from years of hard work in the form of her first headlining tour of the United States this past September and October, including numerous sell outs along the way. We can only anticipate the festivals all over the globe that she’ll take part in and bless the stages of this Spring and Summer as we enter festival season, our favorite time of the year, worldwide.
Without a doubt our favorite thing about Kiana though? Her true mastery of artistic expression, especially as a woman in the industry. If you haven’t watched any of her visuals before, I recommend you do that maybe before even listening to her music itself. There’s clearly some sort of filmmaking background there, as is evident on music videos like her collaboration with Vevo on Shawty shot entirely in 16mm and Super 8mm film.
The intricacy in the intent behind her visuals, and musical sound alike, is multi-layered and full of meaning that can be interpreted any number of ways. As we always preach, deeper meaning in art will always prevail in our society. And Kiana’s raw, expressionistic take on a wide range of emotion in her art highlights this at a whole other level from most.
As for the future with Kiana, fans just received our first bite of 2020 with her newest single Mad at Me in late January. The song is incredible showcasing a new ability to differentiate flows between her traditional singing and speeding up to almost a fast rap style with lyrics like ”I been on my own shit lately, can’t be mad at me.” Giving us a really good taste of what she has in store, this song already has almost 3 million plays and a Vevo video recently added with some wild visuals. She has plans to do album release parties in early April and teases on her Instagram of a release in the not so distant future. The official debut album KIKI will be here before we know it, and she plans to “go places I’ve (she’s) never been with my music.” We can’t wait to see.
Follow @kianalede for more updates on what’s next for this uber talented voice as well as following us @engmtcent for more featured artists soon!