Kieran Strange is a very talented musician from England but currently living in Canada. She is already being called this generation’s Joan Jett. It’s high praise, I feel she is going to live up to. Besides making great music that helps to inspire people and is always fun to listen to, she likes to help support causes that are dear to her heart. Take a look at what this awesome person, and singer had to say to BareBones when we sat down with her.
BS: Thank you for doing this interview. How long have you been making music?
KS: Hilariously, ever since I was about three. A boy in my neighborhood called Jack and I would write original songs and perform them for our parents using a toy drum set. I wrote songs with “girl groups” all the way through primary school, all I ever wanted to do was sing. I sang in all the talent competitions when we were on our family holidays, my dad would help me rehearse for them in my front room.
BS: What was it that made you want to start writing songs and making music?
KS: It’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do. I used to watch singing competitions on the telly, and applied for them even though I was at least twelve years too young. It wasn’t even the idea of winning that lured me in, it was the idea of sharing the joy of singing with so many people. My whole childhood I wrote songs about everything that happened to me, everything that ever inspired me. I remember a friend and I writing a song called “The Sun Will Shine Again” about the bad things that had happened to us, and how we would get through them. Music has always been an escape for me, a way to deal with my problems. And then I wrote a song called Emergency Room after a close friend died and posted it on YouTube, and a lot of people contacted me telling me that the song had helped them through some darker chapters of their lives. The idea of being able to share that with people had been so influential on my music; it makes me want to be a better artist for them.
BS: What made you want to move from England to Canada to further your music?
KS: I’m reckless. [Laughs] No, seriously, I’ve this nasty habit of doing crazy things just because I feel inspired to do so. I visited some friends in Canada when I was seventeen and being there just felt so right, so I decided to pack everything up and move out there. I felt like that was where I was supposed to be.
BS: What has the support been like throughout Canada for you? Around the world?
KS: Really brilliant, I couldn’t ask for more. I feel like Canada has taken me in like a loving foster parent and helped bring me out of my shell and give me the strength to be who I really am. The people I’ve met in the music industry, other bands, they just treat me as another artist – they don’t treat me like an outsider even though I’m British. I love Canadians, I really do. They’re just the most genuinely nice people you will ever meet. As for around the world, I’ve travelled down to America and to England on tour, and they’re always so welcoming and kind. I have a lot of fans in Australia, Europe and Asia too, especially the Philippines, and I just feel so supported and so lucky.
BS: What bands have influenced the type of music that you make?
KS: As a kid I listened to a lot of 70s and 80s music. My mum was a closet metalhead and my dad loved bands like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. I used to love Depeche Mode’s lyrics, how political they were. I listened to a lot of Muse and My Chemical Romance, they’re two of my favourite and most respected bands. I love 70s and 80s punk too, especially Sex Pistols, the Runaways and Joan Jett… Queen, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, The Used, P!nk, No Doubt, Bif Naked… so many amazing musicians have inspired me. The list is endless.
BS: Some of your songs show your love of RPG’s, what are some of your favorites?
KS: I’m loving tabletop-style games right now. World of Darkness’ “Changeling: The Lost” and “Werewolf: The Forsaken” are probably my two favourites. I also play an active boffer game called the Inritius Alliance 2, which is a lot of fun and GREAT exercise. I love D&D 3.5. I haven’t played a lot of online RPGs, but my friends are trying to get me into World of Warcraft and Second Life.
BS: Speaking of RPG’s, you have a song called “Rock n’ Roleplay Baby”. What was the inspiration behind that song? [song at end]
KS: It was after a game, and we were laughing about some of the crazy stunts our characters had pulled – yeah, pretty nerdy! Anyway, we wound up talking about insane role-players who do lunatic things with their characters, and that was when the line “she throws a natural twenty in crazy” popped into my head. After I came up with that line, I just HAD to write something for it!
BS: The song is off your release of Adamantine Hearts. Which has 3 great songs on it. Do you have any favorites to play live? And Why?
KS: My favourite song to play live is probably “Rock N’ Roleplay Baby” – it’s so feisty and it has a great beat to it you can really rock out to! The best live songs are always the ones with the good beats. I love to cover “Song 2” by Blur, that one’s KILLER live too!
BS: What types of tours have you been on? What has that been like?
KS: All my tours that I’ve been on so far have been booked by myself and my manager, with a lot of kindness from other bands who have helped me out and allowed me to open for them, and venues and events who have taken a chance on me. I’m very grateful. Usually my manager and I, sometimes with a friend, bundle into the tiny Honda and take off across the country. It’s so much fun, like an epic road trip! On my last tour, we blew a tire and wound up stranded in Texas, and rescued two homeless kittens off of the side of the road who were practically at death’s door. We took them to a vet and adopted them on the spot. The rest of the tour saw us sneaking kittens in and out of motels and hoping they didn’t stink up the car!
BS: If you could go on tour with any band who would it be and why?
KS: Hmmm… I’d love to tour with My Chemical Romance. I have so much respect for them as musicians, plus I think we could run some proper decent Dungeons & Dragons campaigns on the bus.
BS: A popular song of yours is your Christmas song, “Merry Undead Christmas.” It has been my favorite Christmas song of 2012. What made you want to write that song? Was there any specific inspiration behind it?
KS: Wow, thank you! Basically, the idea behind the song was that I wanted to write something different to the usual “presents under the tree, snow on your boots” jingle that comes out at Christmas. I had the idea penned for a competition a few years ago, and when all that stuff with the Mayan calendar happened this year (a bloke actually used all his life savings to build an ark, can you believe it!?), I had to release something satirical to poke a little fun at it. It was all just too serious.
BS: There is an awesome video out for the song. What was it like creating that music video?
KS: A-MAZING! I’ve been on video sets as an extra before, but I’d never actually gotten the chance to shoot my own music video properly, and it was brilliant! I had all my friends over and we just hung out drinking Red Bull on set while the kitten tried to eat the fake blood. It was hard work though; the entire day was about sixteen or seventeen hours long, from set up to tear down, and I was exhausted by the end.
BS: What was it like to have the song featured on Keep A Breast’s compilation album, “Yuletides and Stage Dives”?
KS: I’m honoured! I love what Keep A Breast do, and the support and awareness they’ve raised for their cause. I have a lot of respect for them, so yes, deeply honoured.
BS: The album is in support of a great cause in, Breast Cancer Awareness. You are known to be active in support for many different causes. Can you explain anything about these and why you are so active in them?
KS: I have two main causes, other than cancer research support, which I heavily endorse: autism awareness and anti-bullying. Autism awareness, because I feel it’s a huge thing so many people are dealing with right now (1 in 110 people have some form of autism) and a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of the full spectrum of autism and exactly what it is. I think that if more people are aware, more people with autism will be diagnosed and receive the help they need. Anti-bullying, because it’s really just gone too far now. I was bullied mercilessly throughout my school career, and I know many others who have gone through the same. I think more needs to be done rather than just accepting the “everyone is bullied” excuse.
BS: Are there any messages that you are trying to get across in your music to your listeners and fans?
KS: I think Adamantine Hearts probably puts it into the best words I can come up with: stay strong. My music and message is all about self-acceptance and having the confidence to be proud of who you are. I hid my awkward, nerdy side for so long because I was ashamed of being different. No one should have to be afraid to be themselves. I encourage people to show their true colours, and support others in doing the same.
BS: I look forward to hearing more great things from you in the future. Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
KS: Don’t change, stay strong, stay strange!