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INTERVIEW: Kiyomi Hawley

Hi Kiyomi, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you, I’ve been great, just preparing for my EP release in September!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Miss You Love You”?

This is actually a love song to music, as if it were a person. Music is hard to pursue, especially when you’re a solo artist, and after I released my first full length album I was completely burned out. I stopped music for a while but as artists know, if you don’t do your art then there’s just something missing. So this song is about how much I love music, even if it sometimes hurts to pursue it.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was actually taking a songwriters Masterclass with my teacher Tina Shafer, and Jenny Bruce running it, and I sat down and wrote it for that.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

No, not for this song, but am looking to do one for my title track, “Meet You There”.

The single comes off your new album Meet You There – what’s the story behind the title?

This song can pertain to anybody who’s ever felt misunderstood, mistreated, or not accepted for who they are. I was actually born and raised in a cult and felt alienated and unaccepted a lot of time, and just wanted to go someplace where I could be loved for exactly me. A quote by Rumi also inspired this song, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was difficult, as songwriting tends to be for me. I had to go into a deep place that I tend to cover up in everyday life. I also had to not be scared to express how I truly felt, which is funny because the songs are about wanting to be able to do just that.

Recording was absolutely wonderful. One of my favorite places to be is in the studio. I love to hear a song I wrote come to life and love adding the beautiful instruments and harmonies to it. It brings out the best in the song, as well as the best in me. I feel free and fulfilled and it just makes me happy.

What was it like to work with Kevin Bents and how did that relationship develop?

Kevin is so amazing, and such a musical genius with an impeccable ear. He made my songs turn out better than I could’ve imagined. He also had the ability to make me feel so at ease which brought out my most creative self, and the music had room to blossom.

I was introduced to Kevin by my wonderful voice teacher, Tina Shafer. I’d seen them both perform together at The Bitter End and knew I was lucky to work with them!

How much did he influence the album?

Kevin is amazing because he has a way of making you sound like you, but a better version of yourself. That’s why I love working with him, and he has such a good ear for what may compliment the song best, but lets you take it in the direction you want. He’s also so creative that he brings out the creative in me. He does have suggestions of what may make it better, and it’s usually spot on. I’m always so pleased with the end product!

How your upbringing has influence your writing?

My upbringing had some beautiful moments, but it was also a bit challenging at times. However, I grew so much from the hardships – I think it helped me to feel more, and to be more intuitive. I feel like I’m able to put a lot into my songwriting and singing because I’ve gone through these hardships.

What aspect of love and acceptance did you get to explore on this record?

I’ve always been uncomfortable with sharing my upbringing with people – I never truly felt accepted in the cult, yet I never truly felt accepted out of it either. I was able to share about it to both Tina and Kevin and received nothing but acceptance from them and it meant the world to me. And I don’t feel as afraid anymore, of sharing about it. It made me the person I am today.

Any plans to hit the road?

I have no plans to travel at the moment, but will be having a CD release show late September this year, I will also be performing for The New York Songwriters Circle at The Bitter End on November 5th, later this year.

What else is happening next in Kiyomi Hawley’s world?

My EP release on September 28th this year, and most likely a video for “Meet You There”.

Check out the single “Miss You Love You”.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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