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Success Spotlight with Kiki Halliday: Singer/Songwriter
Kiki Halliday is a singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, CA. Her music pulls together different aspects of blues, pop and soulful sounds to create something that is bright yet vulnerable. Kiki released her first complete work, "The Love Notes EP", in November 2014. Recently, she has been working on collaborations with other artists such as with LA producer/DJ Matt DiMona on his debut EP, Up All Night, where she co-wrote and sang on the synth. R&B infused track, "Next 2 U" and another with Philadelphia-based hip-hop artist and rapper, Frzy, on his upcoming album God King Slave. Her music has been featured on the TV show, "The Young and the Restless" and her song, "Beautiful Soul" will be included in the upcoming motion picture I'm Not Ashamed due out in theaters October 21st. Kiki continues to put on live shows in the LA and San Diego areas.
How do you define success?
Success would be being able to work full-time as a musician, surrounded by people who love music just as much as I do. I have a lot of goals for myself and I think it’s great to be able to trace back all of the little steps you took in order to get to where you are. I think a personal success would also be to find a way to help people in a meaningful way. I haven’t found it quite yet but I am enjoying working on it. And of course I think a big success in life is being happy and thankful for what you have and sharing that mindset with others.
Everyone has his or her own journey and story to tell. Can you talk about your journey up to this point?
I’ve learned a lot on this journey that’s for sure. I’ve always loved to sing but I didn’t start writing songs really until I went away to school at USC. I took a couple songwriting classes and I started to really enjoy crafting words along with simple chords. Going into my sophomore year, I applied to the music school but I didn’t get in. After that, I kind of created this story for myself as the ‘underdog’ who wouldn’t learn music in school but I’d be out there in the city of LA learning from everyone I could. I started out with a mentor who made my first ever professional recording and he taught me a lot about the business - I still call him for advice today. I also worked as an assistant for a producer who ended up recording my EP and really helping my music sound legitimate. From these experiences, I’ve learned to network with anyone around me and look for opportunities to create. Networking can be super hard for me sometimes but it’s always worth it. Most recently I met a guy who was sitting next to me on a plane, and now my song is in a movie because of him. At the point I am at now, I’m trying to collaborate as much as I can and keep an open mind about what type of music or art I can create.
You are one of my favorite musicians and performers. When did you first realize your love for music?
Yay! You’ve always been supporting me since Day 1. I’d say I’ve always loved music and singing. If you had asked me at any point what I wanted to be when I grew up if I could be anything - I’d always say I’d want to be a singer. However, I was not always so dedicated to pursuing music and I think with anything or anyone you love, there are a lot of ups and downs and compromise that comes along with it. For a time, I just wanted to hangout with my friends and sometimes making music would take the back seat. I still struggle with trying to be super disciplined as a songwriter and musician, but I understand myself enough to know that it’s what I should be doing, no matter what my “career” ends up being. I think about it like this - my best skills out of all my skills are singing and songwriting. No one tells me “Kiki, you know you’re amazing at math, right?” Or “You are strong at consulting with firms” etc. People have told me I am amazing at music, which is so meaningful to me, and I think I’m pretty good as well. So I’m going to do what I love because I really do love it.
What is your favorite song you’ve written?
Hmm. That’s tough. Recently I wrote a song about LA and before I wrote it, I posted a Facebook status asking everyone what they hated about LA. I got a ton of good ideas from that and it turned out to be a pretty cool song. I call it the “LA Blues Project”. Hopefully I’ll record it soon so everyone can hear it, but for now it’s a favorite in my live set.
One California Day is one of your most popular songs. How long did it take to write it? How long does it take to write most of your songs?
Hmm, well One California Day was for a songwriting class, so there must have been a deadline but I can’t remember. I still have the notebook that I wrote down all of my ideas and lines for that song so it’s always cool to look back on that. Compared to other songwriters, I’m probably kind of a slow writer….I just finished a song that I really like, which I started in October 2014. A lot of the times, I’ll start messing around on the guitar and come up with a little part for a new song. Then I’ll go back into my old notebooks and pull phrases that I love or even just get inspiriation from old thoughts that connect to what I’m working on. I like piecing it together like that. I’ve also written a song in 15 minutes a couple times, which is always amazing and easy because then I get to perform it right away.
What artist or artists do you try to model your music after?
I have a lot of different musical inspirations and it’s constantly changing. For me as a songwriter, lyrics are super important to me. I love Joni Mitchell and James Taylor for their lyrical poetry and guitar ballad sounds. I am also a big fan of country-blues and I think there is a hint of that in my music. I also listen to a lot of alternative and R&B music so there are always different sounds capturing my attention and then I’ll want to go and write something like it. I want to put my own sound on it though so hopefully my songs don’t sound like something you’ve heard a million times.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
To not care what other people think. Sweet, simple, don’t forget it.
If you could have lunch with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
I’d like to have a big jam session with Elvis Presley and all of Fleetwood Mac.
The Fundamental Round
Favorite food: Thai or popcorn
Favorite book: I’ve got about 5 books I’ve started but haven’t finished, will let you know.
Favorite movie: Lords of Dogtown
Favorite athlete: Kobe, always.
Favorite sports team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Favorite song: Hate to Say I Told You So by the Hives and Fire and Rain by James Taylor
Favorite quote: “I don’t control the universe in which I walk.” - Paul Castofranco
Animal you most resemble (looks or personality): Panda
You can connect with Kiki here:
Kiki Halliday Twitter
Kiki Halliday Instagram
Kiki Halliday Soundcloud