Words: Conor Glackin
Kaia Vieira is an up-and-coming artist from Bournemouth currently studying at BIMM London on the songwriting course. Vieira has a wide range of musical tastes including everything from modern soul and jazz to drum and bass and she uses these influences along with her exceptional songwriting and experience as a busker to create a fresh and captivating sound. This year she released her EP ‘Vikāra’ which features the track ‘Where Did You Go?’. Recently the Bladerunner remix surpassed 40,000 streams on Spotify, a feat any new artist should be immensely proud of. She talks to LDN about lockdown, finding “green spaces” and self-mercy.
From an artist’s perspective, how would you describe 2020 as a whole?
Unstable. Confusing. Pretty volatile. Yeah it has just been very hard to plan and how to set your ideas at the moment, but I find it’s quite sad as well how many of my musician friends are thinking of leaving it altogether. It’s a real shame but I think there is also a certain amount of faith that we’ll get through the other side and be able to resume another life, even if it’s a new life.
Do you think studying at BIMM has prepared you well for breaking into the music industry? Would you recommend studying here to anyone with an interest or passion for music?
I think the biggest thing for me are the contacts I’ve made. All these teachers are industry professionals and I wanted to treat it like that since day one, just show up and present myself as I would with any professional and I think that’s enabled me to find Paul [Ablett], my manager, and one of my songwriting teachers, Ian Sillett, who became my mentor as well. I think there is so much that you can learn but at the end of the day you must propel your own learning. The more you can incorporate that into your own career and your own journey it becomes much easier to do it and stay motivated.
Did you notice any major differences in your creative process of making music during lockdown? Was it hard to find inspiration at times or did it come naturally?
It was a real rollercoaster. There were times when the solitude was quite great in some ways to be creative. I often tried to get into nature and green spaces. I would also have real low points in lockdown like so many people have had. I think that’s just been the nature of it. I would suggest practicing a lot of self-mercy and self-forgiveness during this strange time. You’re not going to get back to where you want to be without giving yourself some forgiveness and space first.
The Bladerunner remix of ‘Where Did You Go?’ has reached 40,000 streams on Spotify. How did this come about and did you expect it to do so well in such a short amount of time?
BIMM have this thing called Amplify where you get opportunities to work with other song writers, performers, and journalists. They can all get together and basically create business teams. I did that and I found it great and that was when I got the idea to do a remix to include in the EP. I’ve always loved drum and bass music which I’ve listened to since I was a teenager. I brought the idea to Paul who had a contact with Aphrodite, a drum and bass legend who was big in the 90s. He’s the head of an agency and through him I got in contact with Bladerunner. I really loved his work, so we got in touch with him. The track itself has done so well and the thing is it’s absolutely banging, I love it!
“Some of my friends are thinking of leaving music altogether. It’s real shame but I there is also a certain amount of faith that we’ll get through the other side.”
Your manager, Paul, is an industry veteran having worked in multiple areas from performer to manager. How would you describe your working relationship?
He’s been in the game a while working as a manager and a journalist, and I can tell how much experience he has. I like to try and educate myself on the business side of things, especially since I moved to London, and as much as you need to be proactive yourself it’s really comforting to have a team that has your back. When I’ve had bad days or I’ve been struggling creatively or with my direction, my team will pull me forward. Paul’s been amazing, he’s great at planting seeds. He’ll suggest some music or an idea. It’s a collaboration and you’re working together and the network they have can be so beneficial to you (as an artist) in ways you can’t imagine. For any managers out there, I think it’s really important to have an eclectic music taste to influence them and guide them with your input on the music as well.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to break into the industry?
Right now, we have great opportunities, such as going to BIMM. Keep working on your craft and get and be ready to network. It is really confusing now and it’s hard to know what the music landscape will look like in the spring or the summer. I think the most important thing is to build a catalogue of material and start to build up your contacts. The music industry isn’t that big. As soon as you get your foot in there you start to build confidence the more you try and put yourself out there. I would say busking helped build my confidence up a lot.
Speaking of busking, how satisfying was it to perform in front of an audience again after lockdown, and months of not being able to?
It felt so good. I recently began busking at a market in Croydon, which will return on the other side of lockdown. The performer in me had so much appreciation for being able to do it again, it felt like complete freedom. I could tell how much the people who I interacted with on the streets were feeding off it. My band and I are hoping to do another busking gig before Christmas and get some new music out to the people.
What can we expect from Kaia Vieira in 2021?
I’ve got a lot of new material that I’m working on. A lot of stuff was written before and during lockdown so I’m figuring out what could work as a single or an EP. I’ve got big aspirations for an album and I’d like to get something out in spring. I’m also thinking about potentially doing a busking tour with my band.
Listen to Bladerunner’s remix of ‘Where Did You Go?’ below. Find out more on Viera here.