- Bryon Harris
Kalina & Kiana - 'Say What You Want'
The music industry has had some amazing female musical sibling groups like Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), Johanna and Kara Soderberg (First Aid Kit), Tegan and Sara, Martie and Emily (the Dixie Chicks). On the rise and soon to be added to this list are the extraordinarily talented Kalina & Kiana. The two sisters have a story of passion, persistence and perseverance. Their story started in childhood with Kalina on piano and Kiana on guitar. They formed an all-girl band called “The Raymies”, toured all over the country (over 100 live performances), and landed a pilot for Disney. The tv show ultimately dissolved due to rivalries outside the duo’s control. Yes that was disappointing, but nothing compared to the challenge of Kalina’s diagnosis, treatment, and victory related to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Even throuh hair loss and chemotherapy, the duo persevered coining the phrase “gigs with wigs” while opening for groups like The Bangles and Justin Bieber. Today, Kalina & Kiana have made guest appearances and continue to write songs for “Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends” which can currently be seen on Netflix. Their new EP ‘Say What You Want’ showcases the duo's magnetic poetic pop. There are five songs on the EP that shine a light on what poetic pop is all about. The poetry in pop can be noteworthy or it can be bubble gum. Pop lyrics in and of themselves are not necessarily poetry (unless you are in the same boat as Dylan of course). Song lyrics can be poetic and when you add music, voice and performance, the lyrics come to life. Kalina & Kiana combine substantial lyrical writing with intensely infectious melodies and hooks delivered with pristine vocals and production. The first song on the album “It Had to Be You” demonstrated this well. It is composed, performed and produced from beginning to end the way a smash hit pop song is supposed to work – completely contagious. So what makes a perfectly contagious pop song stand out even more? In this song, it is the lyrics in the bridge make you listen more closely. “The heart does things for reasons, reason can’t explain. Love may grow with seasons 'cause even seasons change.”
The same genius is presented in “Say What You Want”. Once again the chorus is saturated with contagious elements: a strong melody, great buildup to hook, and a fun sing-a-long quality. The song’s lyrics have substance and a message about being who you are with confidence. Check out the video of "Say What you Want" and watch the words behind the faces.
The EP's ballad “Shame on Me" is moving, open, and intensely human. “Shame on me for kissing you with my eyes closed so tight.” There is a universal message about how it feels when you should have seen through someone, but you didn’t. The EP picks up the tempo with "That Girl’s in Love" which bursts into your ears and heart with the exact same feeling you get when you see someone who is head over heals– “lost in euphoria”. The EP ends with a cover of “The Sound of Silence” that is done with a subdued sweetness that shows just how refined and polished this duo is. Never belting it, never over the top – the song rolls off their voices like poetry.
Of all the talent and albums we have heard in 2018, our bet is on Kalina & Kiana to make it to the top in the pop world. The cream doesn’t always rise to the top easily or instantly. Sometimes, there are hurdles and you have to stir it up for a while before the perfection rises. Kalina & Kiana have gone through some trials and tribulations, but they have risen to perfection on “Say What You Want” emerging as the next sibling duo destined to make it big.
For more information, please visit their website.