To find inspiration, all Tisch junior Kiah Victoria needs to do is look up.
The vocalist, who studies at The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch School of the Arts, released her first EP in August. Titled “Look Up,” the extended play album consists of five R&B-soul tracks which focus on a theme of looking upward for love, trying to find it and define it.
“‘Look Up’ came to me because when I walked down the street [I realized] that I don’t look up that much,” Victoria said. “There’s a sky and there’s the buildings and it gets kind of crazy. It’s kind of a metaphor to not get caught up in right here. All of the songs have [an allusion] to an upward motion.”
Victoria began singing when she was a child. She was born in Germany and lived in several different places before moving to New York at age 10 to star as Young Nala in Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway for
During Victoria’s senior year in high school, she applied to several universities for musical theater, but felt she was meant to be at Clive Davis. The first song she ever wrote was to get into the department.
Earlier this year, Victoria was offered the chance to audition for NBC’s “The Voice,” a reality television show featuring celebrity vocal coaches for aspiring professional singers. She took a leave of absence from NYU for the show, but just before her audition, the final spot was filled. Victoria was disappointed at first by the turn of events, but re-enrolled in her classes at Tisch and realized the ordeal was a blessing in disguise.
“The entire experience taught me so much about myself and the kind of human and artist I want to become,” she said. “Reality talent shows are a brilliant concept, but after going through the motions, I am at peace in knowing that I am going to build my career and my art from the ground up. You gotta rise up.”
Victoria’s perspective aligns perfectly with the theme of “Look Up.”
“I can’t get enough of the EP,” said Tisch senior Ray Rock, who is very familiar with Victoria’s work. “It’s super solid and cohesive.”
Victoria said she looks up to Toluwanimi Adeyemo, a Tisch junior who produced the EP.
“It’s so cool going to him with these simple chords and he layers on all these amazing things,” Victoria said. “I didn’t realize what the song could be, but I feel like he brought it to another level. We just create together.”
Adeyemo believes Victoria is a phenomenal artist with a bright future.
“She has the ability to relate to and awe people in the same breath,” he said. “I think with whatever sophomore EP or perhaps full-length album that is created, she will use that very well. That’s the kind of person she is.”
Victoria is currently working on songs for her second EP. “Look Up” can be downloaded for free or with donation through bandcamp at kiahvictoria.bandcamp.com.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 13 print edition. Sydney Wu is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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