2014 Artists of the Year | No. 4 | Kiesza
If you're somehow not convinced of the wonder that is Kiesza, we had one of our moms explain why she's so great.
THUMP is celebrating 2014 in tracks, albums, artists, events and moments with our first annual yearbook, #YRBK14. Our Artists of the Year include well-established acts alongside some exciting newcomers. Rather than tell you why these particular ten won the year, we asked a few of their fans to do it for us. We heard that the mother of THUMP Associate Editor David Garber happened to be a Kiesza enthusiast and (like Kiesza) a former dancer too. What better endorsement of quality is there than one from mom?
I doubt I was driving anywhere special when I first heard Kiesza's "Hideaway" on the radio this past year, but suddenly I was in such a damn good mood.
That song is pure happiness for me. From those spacey first pops of electronic sound to her soaring soprano vocals that feel like they're chasing each other down the track, the song is like a roller coaster of melody and energy. The insistent bassline that often makes me crazy in electronic music (like my-worst-nightmare kind of crazy) just propels the song along and makes your body move; there's no holding back. The song is endlessly catchy, with the kind of repetitiveness that can sometimes annoy me in certain dance music songs, but in this case just gets me in a great feel-good-groove.
When I first heard "Hideaway" it immediately reminded of the best 80s disco divas, like Stephanie Mills or Madonna or, more recently, Janet Jackson's 2001 record, "All For You" – a song that electrified me when I first heard it. That song, like "Hideaway," never had to grow on me. Instead, it captured me and seduced me from the first notes.
So after taking a photo of the song/artist displayed on my car radio screen (who was this Kiesza person and how would you pronounce her name?) I probably immediately texted my son, David, who after years of tutelage is the arbiter of all things musical in our family.
He knew her—of course he knew her—and loved the song, and had I seen the video? No, I had not. But there began a whole new set of reasons to love this gorgeous, hipster-ish, slightly mysterious redheaded woman dancing her badass way through Brooklyn. Full confession: I want to be one of those backup dancers who appear seemingly out of nowhere to join her in her funked up stroll down the streets of Williamsburg. She's part Michael Jackson, definitely part Janet Jackson, and part classically trained ballet student. As a former dancer myself, I immediately responded to her great footwork and her rhythm and energy. It's polished and rough and choreographed and spontaneous all at the same time.
I'm not a fan of all dance music; in fact, I'm not a fan of a lot of it. Try as he may, David will never get me to like Bassnectar (though I think he seems like an incredibly smart and cool human being) and Skrillex won't ever be my cup of tea. But I find Keisza way more interesting and original than a Katy Perry or a Taylor Swift (ugh) and I can honestly say I love this part of the pop electronic landscape (Clean Bandit is another favorite).
Almost nothing in life can make me as happy as a great melody, a great beat, and a newly discovered song. "Hideaway" is all three.
Betsy Lembeck is a former advertising professional, avid yoga practitioner and the mother of THUMP Associate Editor, David Garber. She lives in Northern New Jersey with her husband Don, and their yellow lab, Boo Radley.