Kiera Osment, who hales from Devon has been compared to the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Lana Del Rey, Tori Amos and Natalie Merchant. Honest, Soulful and Heartfelt.
Born in 2000 and home educated, Kiera from a young age has had a passion for music. That may have come from being blasted anything from Toms Waits to Abba onto her mothers stomach when she was in the womb. Apparently this was the only time she would move! She was drawn to the piano early on in her life. Given her first keyboard at six, then went on to learn classical piano at nine. At this time other instruments started to capture her interest, which included the guitar and cello. Songwriting is her greatest joy, drawing on many experiences from life and her great interest in reading to write poignant songs and haunting ballads. The strength and emotion of Kiera's voice came to a surprise to her and her family. Singing wasn't something Kiera set out to do, but the written songs had to be sung. Her voice is now a very important part of her music and fits the jigsaw puzzle nicely.
We caught up with Kiera recently where we chatted about duetting with Ella Fitzgerald, 3 things that she just cannot live without and her idea of hell, here's how we got on...
Hi Kiera, we know a little about you, please tell us something fascinating about yourself that even Google doesn’t know….
I read a book a day. I have to carry adrenaline as I have anaphylaxis to nuts, eggs and seeds and I’ll be going to London to record an EP soon.
When did you become a singer songwriter?
Seriously, since I was about eleven, this was when I started going out gigging and doing open mic nights. I’ve written songs since I was about six.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Lana Del Rey, Tori Amos and Natalie Merchant, would you count any of these as your influences?
I had heard of Sarah Mclachlan as mum played her music, so I guess I’ve had some influence there. If I was totally honest, I hadn’t heard of the others until recently. In the early days I didn’t listen so much to music, but nowadays it’s mostly all I do.
If I asked your friends to describe you using just 3 words, what do you think they would say?
Eccentric, shy and clumsy.
What does music mean to you?
Therapy; A way to process and express my emotions. Almost another language. Boxers punch things, Runners go for a jog and I write a song or blast music loudly through the speakers. Music is the best communicator, its universal even for those who have never touched an instrument.
Do you come from a musical background?
Not really, mum plays a few chords on the guitar. But both of my parents listen to music all the time and have a real interest in music. So from the moment I was conceived music has been a big part of my life.
What was the very first song you learned to play?
I played a few easy classical and nursery songs when I was about 7, I can’t remember the name, probably Twinkle Twinkle little star!
I read that you were/are home educated, how does this work, do you have to follow a set syllabus and obtain progress reports along the way?
I don’t have to follow a set syllabus, though I do a lot of the subjects children do at school and I’ve sat a gcse last year. Most importantly its interest led, for example if I decide to learn about Italy, I’d cover history, art, travel, finance and geography in one subject. I have days when I get inspired to learn about random things; this week I found learning about braille really interesting, couple months ago I became really interested in law. I probably won’t get exams in all these things, but I’ll have a good general knowledge, I find learning about anything I fancy takes me to some interesting places I’d never even thought of. I love the freedom home education gives me, I think I’m so much more inspired than I ever was at school. All home educated children get checks by the local authority.
Who would you say are your main musical influences?
I’ve always found this question hard. I couldn’t name a specific artist, because I listen to dozens of genres from folk to classical to Jazz to country, but I think each of them has had their own little part in making my music what it is today.
You’re filming for SW1TV in May, how did this come about and what are you going to play?
I spend hours trawling the internet for possible opportunities and sometimes it pays off. When I saw them on twitter, I looked at their website then sent them my music , thankfully they got back to me. As for what I’m going to play – I change my mind every day! I’ve written a couple new songs recently which I’d like to include.
What is your idea of hell?
What are your aspirations as a musician?
To keep improving. I’m an impatient person, I like to keep moving forward and making some progress. So I’m keen to add to my gig list and write as much as I can. I also hope in the future I may have another couple people play with me such as a cellist or violinist. It would be my dream to play at some bigger venues in the future and get a few more followers. In conclusion I just want to keep growing.
If you could duet with ANYONE (dead, alive or fictional) who would it be and why?
Ella Fitzgerald! Because I think she’s an amazing singer, there’s something about the tone of her voice that I just love. I adore that whole era, because their music was so natural, honest and raw. Imagine standing beside her and singing…… J
Are you planning on taking your music forward as your career?
Yes! It may seem mad for a fourteen year old to say that, but I’ve known what I’ve wanted since I was six when I got my first keyboard. I not deluded, music is hard, and it’s hard to make a living, but as long as I can earn something doing the one thing that makes me truly happy I’ll have succeeded. Music has so many others doors within too, it’s not about being a singer songwriter. I can see myself not just playing and performing music but working with others and doing music therapy.
There are so many young, aspiring musicians out there in Devon, is there a local place where you can all hang out and chat about song-writing and playing?
Not really, well not for my age. I think there is more for the over eighteens. I have found a few musical friends on social networks which has been great and we support each other that way.
Where do you play on a regular basis, do you have a favourite venue?
I don’t have a regular spot, though I have been lucky enough to support a few people at The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington – that’s been brilliant. I’m trying to get gigs in places I wouldn’t have imagined playing such as The Bedford in London. That is my favorite I think, an amazing building, great sound and a brilliant host for the night and very friendly and welcoming.
You’re all over social media, which channel do you think has been the best in getting your music out there to people?
If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
This is question which I have thought over a lot in my time. I would like to be able to control the nature elements. With air I could manipulate air to breathe underwater and fly, with earth I could help with deforestation, with water I could help droughts and give clean drinking water and with fire I could give warmth. My name shall be the Elementist!
What are your views about the use of smartphone and tablet use at concerts, do you think they should be banned?
It would be nice, though I don’t think it will happen. I’m as guilty as the next for taking photos but when I’ve forgotten the smartphone or ipad the moment is so much better without it.
You write a blog on your website, how often do these go out and do you find it easy to make time to keep it up to date?
At least once a month, if I do lots of gigs a bit more. I find it easy to keep up to date, telling facebook everything in the month helps; it reminds me of what I’ve been doing when it’s time to write the blog. I haven’t learnt the art of keeping them short yet though!
What was the first gig that you ever went to and what was the most recent (as a paying customer?)
I went and saw Kate Rusby at the Queens Theatre, it was a great night, she tells some brilliant stories in her songs and in-between! The most recent was a few months ago now at Tapeley Park seeing Alex Kumar, that was an excellent atmospheric night. I’d listened to Alex online but seeing him live was something else.
How do you approach songwriting? Is there a ‘magic formula’?
I think luck is the magic formula! There’s no set recipe. I can write a song on a napkin one day and leave it with just the words for months, or I can have what I think of as a miracle moment when boom everything just comes at once. I’ve found as my songs have got a little more complex they have taken me a bit longer to write. All I know is when the “moment” comes along everything else is dropped as you never know when it will come back!
As I mentioned above, there are many young musicians in the Devon area, please nominate 3 that I can approach for an ‘Introducing’ feature….
Alex Kumar, Roseanna Ball, Sam Dowden. I nominate these people as I have seen them live and their excellent. Though there’s many others I could choose!
If you were on a desert island and could only have 3 items, what would they be and why?
If I was going for a practical sense I’d choose a boat, satellite phone and epipen (adrenaline) But if I was marooned for eternity I’d choose; Piano, library and a solar torch.
I see you’re playing loads of shows this year, any festivals that you are particularly looking forward to?
All of them, because it so difficult to get your foot in the door of any of them – can’t wait!
Hot Chocolate or Cappucino?
Neither – I’m intolerant to milk!
Tori Amos or Lana del Rey
Lana del Rey
Bagel or Crumpet?
Never had either!
Loop Pedal or Chorus Pedal?
Great British Bake Off or Masterchef?
I don’t watch them as I’m normally looking at food that I can’t eat!
Night out or night in?
BBQ or Picnic?
Strictly or X-Factor?
Festival or normal gig?
Camping or Campervan?
Sunbathing or Snowboarding?
Snowboarding though I don’t think I’d survive!
Paperback or Kindle?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Kiera for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish her every success with her music and hope to catch her live sometime soon. Please spare a few minutes and take a look at her social media pages, they're all listed below, all you need to do is point and click!
Upcoming Live Shows
17th May. FILMING FOR SW1TV. Plymouth.
6th June. HOME FARM FESTIVAL. Somerset. I'll be playing a slot on the 6th June at 2.20. More details of the three day festival:
19th June. CALVERT STOCK FESTIVAL. Blackmore Gate. 2015. 5.00pm.
18th July. THE GODNEY GATHERING.
8th August. COMBE MARTIN CARNIVAL. One Hour set from 4.00pm.
9th August. FOLLY FEST. Faringdon. Mainstage. More Details
15th August. KAST OFF KINKS. Brayford.
28th August. WATCHET MUSIC FESTIVAL. Watchet.
3rd October. SUPPORTING EDWINA HAYES. The Plough. 8.00pm.
4th October. RIVERSIDE BEER AND FOLK FESTIVAL. South Molton.