September 13 2017

Annie O Presents: Kiri T

New York
We have a secret weapon at The Standard, and it comes in the form of a French-Moroccan music maven named Annie O. After years in the music industry representing such greats as Lou Reed, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Pearl Jam, and Peter Gabriel, we nabbed her to curate The Annie O Music Series, a regular concert series in the airy Penthouse of The Standard, East Village.

On Monday, September 18th, Hong Kong-born, New York-based Kiri T ascends to the Penthouse. She signed a publishing deal with Hong Kong pop artist HOCC at the ripe old age of 14, and has been touring and learning the ropes of the biz since. After splitting her time between focusing on her solo career in NY and supporting other artists across Asia, she's ready to release new music this fall (look out for her new single, "BETTER," this Friday). 

Annie O caught up with Kiri T to hear all about her past, present, and future.
Annie O Presents: Kiri T
Monday, September 18th, 7-9pm
The Standard, East Village Penthouse
Free with an RSVP to AnnieO@StandardHotels.com

ANNIE O: Where are you based?
KIRI T: I am based in New York now!

How did you get your start?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and started my music career there.
 
How did your successful song "Twenty-Something" with Lucian come about?
He found my demo of “Twenty-Something” on Soundcloud and emailed me asking to remix the song. At the time, I had his remixes of Alessia Cara’s “Here” and Black Coast’s "Trndsttr” on loop, and I remember reading the email and thinking, "Wait, is this the Lucian I have been listening to this whole time?"

We only met each other in person the first time a few months ago. We actually had never met in person during our collaboration (props to the power of social media…). On top of being a very creative artist, he is also a very organized, efficient, and well-informed producer. He makes thoughtful observations on musical trends and the business in general. He’s smart like that! Very few people can balance both creativity and the logical aspects of this career, but I think Lucian is doing a very good job balancing both.
 
Tell us about your career in Hong Kong.
I got offered my first publishing deal with the Hong Kong pop artist HOCC when I was fourteen, and that’s how I got into serious songwriting and into the music scene. It was a life-changing experience because HOCC was my childhood hero, and her team was one of the top in the game. I learned a lot hanging and working with them. I got to play gigs in coliseums and stadiums as keyboardist and backup singer, learned how to navigate within high-stress big productions (which I'm still learning), and also how to handle small, intimate production in other occasions. It was very good training!
Aside from that, I have also written and arranged songs, recorded background vocals, and have been featured in other mainstream pop artists’ projects in HK/Taiwan pop scene.  
 
I go back and forth between HK and NY frequently. In fact, last year I was honored to be featured in HOCC’s Dear Friend 2016 concert at the Hong Kong Hung Hom Coliseum, playing and singing a solo piece “Somewhere Only We Know.” It was such a meaningful experience!
 
How is your experience working on music in the U.S. different than back home?
I think in the US I work on my personal projects more, and back home in HK/Asia I work on other artists’ projects more. Hong Kong has a great commercial music scene that links to Taiwan and China, hence I usually work on more commercial and structured projects with major labels when I’m back there. While in the U.S., there is more room for creativity and possibilities, so I tend to do my own thing here in NY. Also since I went to school at Berklee College of Music and many of my musician friends moved to LA and NY, we just do our thing here.
 
What are you most excited about for the coming year? Any new releases?
I am releasing a new track, “BETTER,” this Friday Sept 15th. Fresh out of the oven! And two more singles will be released in October and November. This year has been a wonderful journey. I made some music videos that I really like with a lot of creative people in the film field. Nothing pleases me more than creating art with thoughtful and insanely talented individuals and seeing everybody’s artistries blending together and materializing into something beautiful. Can’t wait to show you all. Please stay tuned!
 
I am preparing to release an album in 2018 and a short film with NYC-based director Jonah Best (the director of Rearview Mirror’s music video) which would be the centerpiece of this project.
 
Are there any other tracks by other artists you currently have on repeat?
It’s a difficult question to answer. I have so many artists on repeat. I am such a music fan! Top tracks on repeat are definitely Tove Lo’s "Disco Tits," Lorde’s "Writer in the Dark," SZA’s " Love Galore," Calvin Harris & Jessie Reyez’s "Hard to Love," Frank Ocean’s "Solo," and Kevin Abstract’s "Miserable America." I am a sucker for contemplative lyrics with a touch of darkness.
 
If Kiri T had a superpower, what would it be?
If I could split myself in ten Kiris, that’d be awesome! There are too many things I wanna learn and do—too many books to read and too many places I wanna go! If one version of me could focus on being a singer, another version could be a songwriter, another a dancer, a film writer, a world traveler, a scholar even…Is that called ADD??

What can we expect from your show at The Annie O Music Series?
I will be playing my originals and a couple covers with two musicians. I’ll be singing and playing the keyboard and guitar. We are doing very different versions on some of the originals, also playing with some electronic midi controllers. So a mixture between live and electronic instruments.
 
Do you have touring plans?
I don’t have any tour plans as of right now. I will mainly be focusing on creating content and the short film for my album that’s coming up in 2018. I will be playing shows around the city, though!