Kiesza (pronounced KIE-zuh, a.k.a. Calgary-born Kiesa Rae Ellestad) is an artist of many faces. She began life as a trained ballet dancer. As a teenager she did a stint sailing aboard tall ships, then cracked code for the navy, and almost joined the army as a sniper, before returning to her passion for music. She attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston on full scholarship. Soon after, she moved to New York City, in search of a deep house club sound.
Then she recorded her electro/dance/pop song “Hideaway,” and shot a one-take, self-directed, ‘80s-style, street-dance video for it that earned six million views on YouTube in two months. At press time, the song had reached No. 1 on the iTunes, Shazam, and BBC 1 radio charts in the U.K., and earned her a record deal with Universal Music.
Recently relocated to London, Kiesza is performing this summer at the U.K.’s Glastonbury, Great Escape, and Wireless festivals. A full album is expected in the fall.