By Bob Gordon
South-West singer/songwriter, Kiera Jas, comes to Blues at Bridgetown in November with a very special performance experience behind her.
“Well this is actually my very first festival performing as a solo artist,” she says, “however when I have performed in Mama Kin Spender’s choir at past festivals the best thing is the constant energy exchange that happens between audience and artist and just feeling on top of the world.
“I can’t wait to experience it as a soloist on stage and truly allow myself to connect with people in the crowd through stories and songs!”
Jas’ involvement in Mama Kin Spender’s Chorale Sea choir last year was her first time at Bridgetown. It’s set her up nicely for new festival experiences.
“Our set was so full of energy and dancing bodies and I remember during one of the songs feeling this sense of union on stage and so much love from the crowd,” she recalls. “I love the communal nature of the festival and networking with so many lovely and unique people. I also scored an awesome denim outfit from a clothing stall which I have worn to death. I’m wearing it in my promo photo (laughs).”
This time around Jas will be featuring her own music as a solo artist. We’ll catch her in the midst of finding her way, along the way…
“I am still discovering my sound and genre as an emerging artist in the South-West,” she notes, “but I find that nature never fails to inspire me. Living amongst such beautiful surroundings and serene coastlines has largely influenced the music I create, and I like to maintain an authentic approach to writing lyrics and arranging songs which sit closer to the roots genre. I feel ‘Kiera Jas’ is sort of the beginning of my own genre.”
Jas received a WAM Song of The Year nomination earlier this year for her debut single, Shadows. “This was a huge time of exposure for me and my music and definitely assured me I was on the right path,” she reflects.
“Another highlight has been the endless opportunities of performing alongside some amazing bands that make their way down south including Spacey Jane and Caravana Sun, and of course Mama Kin Spender. I have worked with Alan Roy Scott (respected US songwriter and Music Bridges founder) on one of my songs which gave me a deeper insight into songwriting. I was also on the line-up for the South West Strings Festival which was Margaret River’s first ever guitar festival.”
Jas has recently been played on ABC Radio and 2 Oceans Radio, as well as being reviewed on triple j Unearthed. It’s been a year of consolidation after making a confident start to things.
“This year has been all about getting exposure, networking with musicians and taking as many opportunities as possible,” she explains. “I’m also currently studying a Music Diploma in sound recording and production with Australian Online Institute of Music which is giving me the skills to produce my own music from home and it’s all going very well.
“I’m also working on another two single recordings which I aim to release by the end of the year with a follow up single launch party in Margaret River. It’s been so fun to get back into the studio with my amazing producer, Sean Lillico, in Yallingup.”
The vision for 2020 is to step things up. “I’m hoping to participate as a self-managed artist in The Seed workshop in March,” Jas says. “I am also moving to Perth where I aim to start a band and explore the opportunities the Perth music scene has to offer as both a solo artist and with my band. I plan to start workshopping a debut EP also.”
Which leaves us with Jas’ first Blues at Bridgetown performance in her own right. Be prepared to smile.
“Many smiles,” she offers, “stories and songs I hope they can resonate with. I will be playing a mix of vibrant and chilled original songs with my ukulele and electric guitar.”
Kiera Jas performs from 1-1.45pm at the WAM Stage on Saturday, November 9.