INTERVIEW: Kiiara talks inspirations and old personality behind debut album “lil kiiwi”

The 25-year-old pop artist, who first landed on the scene in 2015 with smash hit “Gold,” gets personal about struggles with self-medicating and self-discovery on lil kiiwi.

The album is a 13-track look into Kiiara’s early career journey. The listener starts to see the world through the eyes of Lil Kiiwi, a character meant to represent that early career chapter of her life.

“It’s not an alter ego,” Kiiara said about Lil Kiiwi, “it’s a side of me that will always be there, even though I’m much better at handling my emotions now. I’ve learned a lot the hard way, and now I want to bring people into my world so they can understand it a little better.”

“So Sick,” the first track on the album stands out with a feature from alternative artist blackbear and recounts Kiiara’s relationship with him.

“As soon as I cut the vocals on that song I could hear him on it,” Kiiara said. “We hadn’t spoken in a long time but he hit me right back and said he’d love to do it. It ended up being a playful, dramatic song.”

Check out the rest of COLLiDE’s interview with Kiiara below:

Was there a lesson that you talk about on lil kiiwi that you had to learn the hard way?

Early on in my career I was really unpredictable and reckless. I had confidence, but like, not the good kind. It was more of the “I’m going to do what I want, say whatever I want, I don’t really care how it affects everyone around me.” I was so ignorant to everything. It really is bliss in a way.

Sometimes I wish I had that back but at the same time, I’m glad now that I’m more aware. I’m definitely more careful with how I handle certain situations and everything. When it comes to studio traveling, even in my personal life, my work life, I’ve learned a lot.

I had so much regret from just not being mentally present and just the way I acted. Throughout this whole album process, that’s what I was learning and that’s what I wanted to bring people into—the world of Lil Kiiwi.

Can you talk more about who Lil Kiiwi is? She seems like a character that represents a past version of you. You’ve described her as being a version of you from early on in your career, but can you expand on that?

She didn’t care at all but would take it to the next extreme. Like, there were times where I wouldn’t sleep for three days at a time, just because I couldn’t sleep. I had that restless energy.

Especially when you travel, that would definitely affect my mood. I would be all over the place and people wouldn’t know what to expect. I’ve definitely almost gotten kicked off a plane before. Whatever I was going through, there was a lot I was dealing with that people didn’t know about.

I had a mouth, and I wouldn’t even remember what I said, I had no recollection of it. That’s Lil Kiiwi for you, just chaos. I’m glad I’m not in that state of mind anymore. I’m way different now than I was then.

Which tracks stands out the most to you and why?

“Accidental” for sure. It’s about how I was pretty much just the absolute worst to this guy, and he showed nothing but love. He was patient, caring, literally the best guy ever. I just pushed away anyone who treated me well.

I pushed away the love right in front of me and he didn’t deserve to be treated that way. If I could go back and take it all back, I would.

What’s something you hope listeners walk away with when they listen to lil kiiwi?

I want them to know, I say this all the time, but I want people to know they’re not alone. Hopefully this album can help people the way that Linkin Park’s music has helped me, along with Taylor Swift’s and blackbear’s and other artists I go to. I want this album to be an escape for people or be a coping mechanism in a way.

If they feel something, odds are someone else feels the same thing. It makes it easier to deal with.

Stream lil kiiwi now:




Photo by: Dennis Leupold