Kiesza might only be 26 years old, but she’s already experienced more than most of us will in a lifetime. From her bright red fauxhawk to the success of her debut single “Hideaway,” the video has racked up 189 million YouTube views (and counting), to her collaboration with Joey Bada$$, Kiesza is hard to miss.
Born in Calgary, Canada, Kiesza participated in theater, ballet, and tap and jazz dancing, and sailing before deciding to join the Royal Canadian Navy at the age of 17. Kiesza participated in simulation training, dispatching virtual terrorists with a Colt Canada C-7 rifles. She was so good that she was awarded the title of “Top Shot” and recruited by the Calgary Highlanders—a Primary Reserve infantry regiment that was set the make the future singer a top-level sniper. This never materialized, however, with the singer saying: “I could never kill a real person.”
It was during her time in the Navy that Kiesza taught herself how to play guitar, using music to pass the time on ships and help her through her parents’ divorce. At 18, Kiesza also competed in the Miss Universe Canada pageant before deciding to focus on a music career. Leaving the Navy, she enrolled at Selkirk College in Nelson, British Columbia, majoring in music performance and soon attended Berklee College of Music.
After trying out everything from jazz to folk music to death metal, Kiesza found herself drawn to dance music and began collaborating with producer Rami Samir Afuni. In 2014, Kiesza released the Hideaway EP, and then her debut major label studio album Sound of a Woman, which features Pro Era rapper Joey Bada$$. A few months later she was featured on his debut album B4.DA.$$, lending her vocals to the upbeat cut “Teach Me.”
With millions of YouTubes views and a lot of buzz under her belt, this Navy sharpshooter turned singer is on a roll, and the only place left to go is up.