Over here at Sound of Life, we like to shine a spotlight on emerging artists before they become household names and this month, it’s time for 22-year old Kiana Lede to take the stage.
The world first saw Ledé in the second season of MTV horror series Scream, playing a character called Zoe Vaugh. Fast forward a few years later, she started to make waves on the charts with her buttery vocals, releasing her debut album Selfless last year and her Myself EP a few months back. We were immediately drawn by Lede’s bright and spontaneous R&B energy; hopefully her tunes will find their way into your music playlist too.
Back in 2011, the American singer from Phoenix, Arizona was first seen performing an original song on the piano on the kids’ music-sharing platform Kidz Bop, which eventually led to Lede winning the 2011 KIDZ Star USA Grand Prize from the thousands of submissions received. A year later, we saw the debut of Ledé’s first single “Hey Chica” (which she won as part of the prize) under RCA Records. In 2015, she released her first EP called Soulfood Sessions that features covers of songs by Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Trey Songz and Rich Homie Quan.
Come 2016, we got a taste of Lede’s acting chops on MTV show Scream, which was when she began regularly releasing cover and original songs. Having had smaller acting roles in the past, she also signed up for the main role on TV show All About the Washingtons last year. Ledé kept herself busy and started to create buzz with her song “Ex” from her debut album Selfless, eventually leading to remixes released this year with rappers Lil Baby and French Montana. This young R&B and Soul singer even managed to garner a spot at the Nissan Music Stage of BET Awards recently to perform “Ex,” which marked her first award show appearance.
This year has been an illustrious one for Lede so far. She dropped her fantastic new EP titled Myself, featuring guest appearances by rapper Offset from Migos and singer/actor/activist Jenifer Lewis. She led the release with the lovelorn “Can I” before coming in hard with the infectious “Bouncin” with Offset.
Lede proves that she can turn things up effortlessly, but also has the capacity to show her raw, emotional side with some songs on this EP, making her a strong contender in the R&B scene right now because she allows her vulnerability to show in her work. This video of Lede’s live performance of “Heavy” on Genius’ Open Mic segment says it all. Written when she was struggling with relationship and mental health issues, this personal song describes the challenge of trying to get through each day without feeling bad about herself.
“I don't got my priorities straight / Don't know who I'm gonna be today / I'm no victim, but I deal with s**t on the daily/ Something pullin', I can't get away / Never livin' outside of my head / I don't like showin' weakness, so I always fake it”
On a brighter, more positive note, Lede is headlining her own US tour right now, and there’s no stopping her incredible talent. As the singer explains her craft in an interview with Billboard, “My real passion is people, so if I can do that using my own situation and be an example for people who are also going through something similar, that’s the most important thing.”