A number of Metal and Rock fans are waiting for the 16th of May, the day the Online Female Fest is going to take place. People waiting got this event are excited to hear the musical talent of six Rock and Metal goddesses, including Hard Rock legend Lacey Sturm, Share Ross of Vixen, and others.
If you haven’t booked to see the virtual festival, get your ticket from right here.
We had the pleasure of chatting with the mind behind all this, Kiara Laetitia. We couldn’t let the chance pass without asking her about many other things. We hope you enjoy this interview.
Hello Kiara! It’s a pleasure to interview you. How are you doing?
I’m great! How are you doing?
Very well thank you! Kiara, you’ve had a wonderful career. You were a vocalist at Skylark and released four studio albums, released a solo album, but you also started a label, Musicarchy Media. Would you please tell us how is it like to manage business in music rather than just being a musician?
If I have to be honest, I like creating more than managing and always put my creativity into managing. The approach I’ve always had with bands in my label was not typically corporate, but rather giving them advice on how to grow their fan-base etc. It’s so hard dealing with artists, they rarely listen and…they’re never happy ahahahah (I’m an artist myself so it’s weird to say this :-D). From this approach, I started a sort of sister company Never Give Up Secrets, which is a creative agency, management, artist coaching program with a lot of attention to the digital world.
That’s brilliant. You recently organized the Online Female Fest that will take place on May 16th. Would you tell us a bit about this event? How did you get the idea? And how are you feeling about it as the date gets closer?
I started talking about online shows back in 2011 as I had a feeling they would become a way for new generations to watch shows. Back then people looked at me like I was crazy. When I started my label in 2014 I encouraged artists in my roster to start exploring this avenue and I also talked about it in my last book Never Give Up. So to me this has always been a possibility. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was obvious that the only immediate solution for artists was to play online shows. The concrete thought for this festival started with the current pandemic, with all events cancelled and billions of people on quarantine or lockdown. I’m a huge mental health advocate and I try to stay close to people via socials. Less than two weeks into the first lockdowns in Europe, I started receiving several messages from people getting suicidal or having a hard time being in isolation and that concerned me. Prolonged isolation can be very problematic for those already battling with depression or anxiety. What was the future of our mental health? I started thinking how I could be of help, how I could bring a sparkle, as small as it may be, to all the billions of people on lockdown. Music always had a healing power on me, so I though I could set up a festival for charity. The choice of women is because we represent only 16.8% of all active artists. I wanted to give voice to women, particularly in this moment. The Online Female Fest, the first virtual all-female festival in its genre, will be held on May 16 starting at 6 pm CET. As a platform, the show will be held on stageit.com/Online_Female_Fest, where people can get their tickets through donations (pay what they can), interact with each other and the artists, all in one platform. Interesting to note that the festival performances will not be recorded, so May 16 and getting a ticket for the event will be the only way to watch Share Ross from Vixen, Lacey Sturm and all other performers play their sets. As the date gets closer, I’m getting really nervous and excited at the same time. Nervous for one simple reason: hoping technology will do its job and we will not have any issue streaming. Like any live show, you have to rely on electricity and so many more variables like weather for an outdoor festival. For the Online Female Fest, we won’t have the weather issue but there’s the fact that we will connect 7 artists plus fans simultaneously from different corners of the world, so hope internet will be a good boy.
Amazing. Although this event was made to support artists during COVID-19 lockdown, would you consider making it an annual event?
Yes. As a matter of fact, I already received some proposals that I can’t disclose right now for something really cool.
The bands and artists participating in the event come from different musical styles and backgrounds. We’ve got Electro-Metal artists like Season of Ghosts and Operatic vocalists like Chiara Manese, as well as other varieties. How important is it to have this wide variety in an event?
For this type of virtual event, I think it’s very important. I wouldn’t want people sitting in front of a screen for 4 or more hours watching the same type of music. This is not like a live festival, where you’re outside, go grab a beer…so the show has to be as dynamic as possible. The Online Female Fest is to me like a combination of a TV show and a live festival. So I took all of these conditions into account when choosing the artists.
What bands and artists did you enjoy listening to growing up? And what made you decide you don’t want to only consume music, but rather create music as well?
I really listened to anything from classical to pop and rock. My dad played Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Europe in the car, so that’s probably where my rock soul was born. I used to listen to a lot of pop and female vocalists like Whitney Houston, Celin Dion, P!nk (who to me is more hard rock than many rockers). My all time favorite bands are Evanescence, Linkin Park, Iron Maiden, Metallica… I’ve always loved music, but also other forms of art like dancing (I studied to become a dancer for more than 7 years), acting, directing, screenplay, visual arts…and I’ve always loved the ‘behind the scenes’ of making an album or making a video, but also the performance itself. I was a very very shy kid and performing has helped me a ton into opening up. I feel I discovered myself through my art. Performing gave me a sense of freedom I couldn’t find anywhere else and the ability to connect with my pain and anger.
Last week we had the Interview with the Fans event that we are making yearly and we flip the norms and ask fans about the bands they support. As an artist, what is a memorable thing or way one of the fans showed how they support you or like you with, that you’d like to tell us about?
There are several ways and all of them are important to me! From waiting for me at the airport and in front of my hotel, to traveling from Australia to come see my shows on the other side of the world, subscribing to my Patreon, buying my music, t-shirts, book and showing me the pictures…I actually have a folder on my laptop with all fan pics I found or were sent to me
As a woman with a leading role in the Metal scene and who runs her own record label, what advice would you give to young people, especially girls, that want to become musicians as well?
It’s always awkward for me to give advice as I’m constantly learning myself through trial and error. But I wrote a book in which I give advice to young musicians (called ‘Never Give Up – The Real Secrets Of The Music Industry’), so there’s a lot of my personal experience and advice in there…A piece of advice that I’d give anyone with a passion is to study, prepare. This doesn’t mean being hyper-technical, but knowledge gives us the ability to do a lot more! Like I say in my book: work hard, be humble, master your art, be open to change and never ever give up.
If you had the ability to get rid of one problem the word is currently facing, be it hunger or crime or racism or disease, just any one problem, which would you pick and why?
Ignorance. Ignorance is the cause for racism, homophobia, hate, and many if not all of the issues the world is facing, in my opinion.
Final question, with all the work you do as a musician and author and manager, do you have time for any hobbies? What do you like to do other than music?
I’m into meditation and yoga. Meditation and self-awareness is a big part of my life. I’m a mental health advocate and help out by volunteering in different contexts. I have a passion for traveling, so I travel any time I get the chance. I like to explore the different cultures, landscapes, food and knowing about the world. You see me at my happiest when I travel (and meditate). I like painting and I have this thing for testing (and buying) beauty products and make-up…totally a girl thing hahah
Thank you Kiara for the interview! It has been a pleasure. Good luck on Online Female Fest and may it be as wonderful as you are!
Thank you so much for this chat! You all stay healthy and safe!