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Kiki Kramer: Coal Hearts

I will admit, when it comes to music, I have an overall urge to try everything, like a platter at boring parties or funky hats in vintage stores. Luckily sometimes, this leads to brilliant discoveries like the one and only, Kiki Kramer, who I fortunately had the opportunity to speak to leading up to her latest single (Thanks to our fantastic Editor-In-Chief, Mark). Her new song, Coal Hearts, is an upbeat dance track reminiscent of Gaga’s early work, bringing back the much-missed tones of glittery pop and defiant originality, Coal Hearts, touches upon Kiki’s attraction toward emotionally unavailable men through rich and symbolic imagery.

I haven't been able to stop listening to your song (Coal Hearts) since I heard it, it made me want to go back to the beginning of your discography, and as I suspected totally wonderful, so I'm wondering, What made you want to start making music and how has that influenced your style?

I technically wrote my first song in eighth grade for a school project, but back then it was all just for fun. I was way too embarrassed to ever take music seriously. Summer 2021, post-lockdown is really when it clicked for me. I met this girl at a party my roommate and I crashed. She was very gifted but had no idea. It was frustrating to see somebody so talented not doing anything about it, and then I realized that maybe I was being hypocritical. That sounds cocky. It’s just that singing has always been what I’m best at, so what was I doing pursuing a drama degree when I’m so much better at this other thing and also enjoy it ten times more? As for influences, I have a lot. There are two playlists up on my Spotify profile containing anybody who has ever inspired me. My top five are probably Marina and the Diamonds, Fiona Apple, Lana Del Rey, No Doubt, and Melanie Martinez.

A theme I found very interesting in your music, is the push and pull of the chase for love, along with the crash of it all, I guess my question is, how do you find yourself healing after love like that and how does it tie into the stories you then tell in your songwriting?

I used to carelessly throw myself at people who didn’t like me very much. I don’t think I was too into them either. I just needed their validation so badly I would’ve done anything for it. The problem escalated till I found myself involved with a very broken individual, lost half of my friends, and my living situation. So much of my music is about this situation. Songwriting is my outlet.

Your sound has a very indescribable energy to it that isn't heard much nowadays, how do you find yourself fitting into the industry despite breaking out of the norm?

I’m glad you think so. I’m still feeling out my sound. I have really bad ADHD and kind of just make whatever I want to make at the moment, hoping I’ll still like it in a couple of months. As for fitting into the industry, I don’t know yet. I’m very new to it and quite small. I have an aesthetic vision for my brand and an overall sound I’m trying to achieve. I’m just praying it all pans out.

A lot of artists find themselves struggling to continue not only after the pandemic, but also in the midst of growing up, and figuring out the world we live in, Where/when do you find yourself feeling the most creative and inspired?

The pandemic changed my life in a positive way. Lockdown happened and I realized my world looked the same. I never left my house anyways. I grew up fearful and slightly agoraphobic. Now I force myself to go out even when I don’t want to because those usually end up being the most fun nights. Making myself uncomfortable is kind of thrilling. It’s also what inspires me the most. All of my songs are born from the anxious thoughts I can’t seem to kill.

My final question is, How do you want people to feel when they hear your music?

I’m really just writing the kind of music I would want to listen to: something catchy with an edge to it. I want my music to make people feel high because that is what my favorite musicians do for me. It’s pretty subjective though, which is why making music is so terrifying. My treasure is bound to be somebody else’s trash. Music is the one artistic medium where every person has an opinion, whether or not they’re qualified. Too many pretentious bloggers out there with “good music taste” who are probably tone-deaf themselves.

Coal Hearts is out now, and available to stream on all platforms, along with the rest of her music! Kiki’s social media and the link to Coal Hearts is below!

Written and Interviewed by Toni Desiree

Photography by Mark Bluemle

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