meet the singer everyone wants to work with

photo by sunny shokrae

skrillex, diplo, rihanna, kylie

Duran Duran and Rihanna have exactly one thing in common, and her name is Kiesza. Thirty minutes before 26-year-old Canadian-born Kiesza is set to perform at week one of Coachella—her first time at the festival—the media tent is hot as shit, baking in the afternoon sun, and the deep-house sensation is coolly recounting her merger with the Second British Invasion: “Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of Duran Duran, was running on a treadmill at the gym,” she says. “He saw ‘Hideaway’ [Kiesza’s monster 2014 song] and was like, ‘Oh! I like her voice! I wonder if she’ll want to be on my next album?’” Game recognizing game. “They kind of made the '80s what the '80s were,” she says, chuckling.

What Duran Duran did for the '80s, Rihanna has done for the aughts, and Kiesza’s got her hands in that pie too. Any second, in this balmy encampment filled with music journalists hammering on their Macbooks, Kiesza could get the call that the songs she’s written for Rihanna will appear on the pop diva’s newest record. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s on!’” she tells me. “In the writing world, things change so rapidly that it’s not actually on until it’s printed, you know?” I wish I did. Kiesza’s writing credits include J. Lo’s song “Feel The Light” and others for the likes of Kylie Minogue and Icona Pop. She penned the song “Cannonball” on the Home soundtrack for somebody else, but, smartly, the powers that be had Kiesza sing it instead.

Like Sia, Frank Ocean, and even Lady Gaga before her, the artist’s transition from powerhouse songwriter to performer occurred because some tracks are just too good to hand over. “I was writing for other people mainly, so most of my songs I was giving away, and I couldn’t give away 'Hideaway,' she says. “Hideaway” to date has over 220 million views on YouTube and debuted at No. 1 on the British Singles Chart. The track may be the big single on 2014’s Sound of a Woman, but is by no means the only banger. In fact, Sound of a Woman Remixes EP was just released this month, and Kiesza is taking her show on the road, headlining a US tour, supported by Nylon fave Betty Who.

Experiencing the back end of the hit-making process, Kiesza is now in the rare position to properly vet her own producers, select the best accompanying musicians, and hone her high-energy onstage performances—as demonstrated with her massive video with electro super-group Jack Ü (Diplo and Skrillex). She is a prime example of how a new pop model, when put into proper action, will cause a ruckus. After our conversation, wearing a Wonder Woman onesie adorned with New York Yankees insignias, she heads onstage to show an eager squad of festivalgoers why it was high time she break out on her own. And if you’re lucky to have tickets to week two of Coachella, do yourself a favor and get sweaty with Kiesza.

Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.



Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

"In the midst of chaos there's opportunity"

Following the travesty that was Fyre Festival, Ja Rule wants to take another stab at creating a music festival. Good luck getting that off the ground.

On Thursday, the rapper spoke to TMZ, where he revealed that he was planning to relaunch Icon, an app used to book entertainers, which is similar to Billy McFarland's Fyre app. He told the outlet that he wanted to create a festival similar to Fyre to support it.

"[Fyre Festival] is heartbreaking to me. It was something that I really, really wanted to be special and amazing, and it just didn't turn out that way, but in the midst of chaos there's opportunity, so I'm working on a lot of new things," he says. He then gets into the fact that he wants to form a music festival. "[Fyre] is the most iconic festival that never was... I have plans to create the iconic music festival, but you didn't hear it from me."

Ja Rule actually doesn't seem to think he is at all responsible for what came from Fyre Fest, claiming in a Twitter post that he was "hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, led astray." Even if that's his feeling, he should realize that anyone involved with Fyre shouldn't ever try their hand at music festivals again.