March 05, 2019 – Vinz Lamorena
There are battles we like to keep in the shadows. And it is only when one gets comfortable with defeat that a different kind of fearlessness emerges.
Kiana Valenciano’s “See Me” has an admirable honesty to it. As she slews tongue-twisters of truths in her verses, the 26-year-old singer audaciously asks for your attention. But it is isn’t a call to feed vanity, it is a question of essence.
Do you see her for who she is? Is music truly meant for her?
It is a title track born out of Kiana’s deepest frustrations. Here she sings “overlooked and disregarded / in the shadows since I started,” a song that weighs Kiana’s musings as she positions herself as an artist in an industry she wishes to make a mark in.
She wrote all 10 songs featured in this album. It took more than a year to put it all together and it unexpectedly became a cathartic confrontation with her past experiences. “There’s a whole lot of self-discovery that went along with making this. I never saw myself as a songwriter but I think I just learned so much more about myself in this album, and during the time I was producing this. I became more self-aware of the things that I can and cannot control and got to put it into words,” Kiana said.
“This album took a whole year, and I went through a lot in that year. But I was told not to focus on just one aspect of my life, which is why I was able to talk all about its other parts—not just relationships and the usual [love songs],” she added.
Kiana considers “See Me” as her baby, a bold leap towards her dreams. The singer allowed herself to become vulnerable, showing unapologetic wisdom in her lyrics. In the past year, she reached a point where she just wanted her songs to be more than an expression, and managed to transform it to sincere rescripts of veracity.
“I knew for sure that I wanted to be more open and not just sing about love and the good side of it. But I never thought I could be so vocal about the things I was going through, that I would get to this point where, even though it’s hard, it would be okay for me to talk about it,” Kiana shared.
Kiana wrote songs at her lowest. Although excruciating, she allowed herself to feel and process her emotions as she made music for herself. There were some experiences that led her to the recording studio to document precise moments of her struggles. Recording songs then became a way for her to make sense of what was happening around her. “I poured my heart and hard work into this,” Kiana told alike.
The courage to build her verses around her vulnerabilities continues to translate in her unwavering openness to talk about her depression, the pressures that come with her last name, the industry’s expectations, and the public’s assumption of her identity.
But as Kiana bares her hardships to the world, she does so in the hope that it comforts people in their struggles, to make them feel they aren’t alone.
“I’m saying this from my experience being a listener—the people that I follow, and the music that I love, they have songs that contain words I cannot say. But hearing them, I know these are exactly how I feel. You only get to reach that kind of connection with a person when there’s honesty involved,” Kiana said. “I knew I wanted the same thing.”
The singer shared her father had one simple piece of advice as she went through her own process of producing this album: Just keep going. And it’s one message she’d like to echo through her songs—just keep going.
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