INTERVIEW WITH KIARA LAETITIA
We recently approached Kiara Laetitia, former vocalist with Italian power metal band Skylark, to do a feature about her new book and calendar, which were released at the beginning of December.
Here is our interview with the lady herself:
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Kiara. How are you today?
KIARA: I’m great! How are you?
So, you have a new book out titled “Never Give Up – The Real Secrets of the Music Industry” – how is that being received so far by both readers and critics?
KIARA: Actually, pretty good! Especially by musicians who found it really insightful and honest. I’m happy cause they really grasped the essence of this book, as my intent was to be very straightforward. “NEVER GIVE UP – The Real Secrets of the Music Industry” is not a manual for success, no-one can teach you that. This book is rather a checklist of the fundamental topics every musician should know to start a career in today’s music business. I also interviewed several musicians to hear their thoughts about the new music business, so I sat down with members from Ministry, Powerman 5000, Delain, Lordi (and more), but also managers and booking agents.
“NEVER GIVE UP – The Real Secrets of the Music Industry” could have easily be 500 pages long and it’s not, because I wanted it to be accessible to as many people as possible. So, for these reasons, this book isn’t omni-comprehensive, which is why I decided to also share advice on YouTube and social media starting on January.
What made you write the book in the first place?
KIARA: Many reasons. The first being that I wish I had someone be this straightforward to me when I started out. I wish I had known all of this about the music industry. I had to learn it the hard way, by making mistakes, and failing. The second reason and what really pushed me to write this book was a couple of specific experiences as a label owner and coach who made me realize that many musicians have little knowledge of the music industry and how things work out. This makes the relationship between the industry and musicians very complicated. I’d like to share my experience, my mistakes and give insights on an industry that has been inaccurately portrayed by TV and movies.
It’s definitely a good thing that you are offering advice to new musicians. Do you wish you had this sort of reference when you were first starting out?
KIARA: Yes exactly. These days there are many books on the music industry, even though I haven’t found a single book that talks about buy-on, for instance. I didn’t start that long ago, but back in 2002/03 there was no information and the people around me didn’t offer any type of advice. At the same time, I’m glad I learned things through trial and error, because it made me who I am today. With my book, I would like to start making a change in the mentality around the music industry and offer practical help.
Where can readers get a copy of the book (and the calendar)?
KIARA: For now, they’re both available through my online shop. The book has both e-book and hard copy version. It can all be found here: http://www.bit.ly/kiaralaetitiashop.
Part of the profits of the book (and the calendar, which we will talk about in a mo.) are going towards Mental Health Illnesses. What made you choose this charity?
KIARA: In the past several years, I’ve been very vocal and active about mental health awareness. The reason is that I’m a mental illness survivor myself. I started suffering of panic attacks when I was 19, which then led to depression, and they went on and off for quite some time. It was in 2014 that I finally took action and worked on myself and taking care of my mental health. You see, we all talk about physical health, if we break an arm we go to the doctor and have it fixed, but we pay little to no attention to our mental health, to the point that, if we get mentally sick, we’re called crazy and don’t seek the help of a doctor. This stigma must finish. Our mental health is as important as our physical health and it should be treated as such! People who never dealt with mental illness think that those who have or had a mental illness are weak, while it’s actually quite the opposite. Those suffering of depression or panic attacks are actually some of the strongest people I know, as it takes a lot of strength and willpower to even get out of bed every single morning. My intention is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness and finding a way to offer financial help to those who cannot afford a psychologist or proper medication.
Mental health issues are definitely at an all-time high, aren’t they? We all need to do what we can to raise awareness.
KIARA: I think mental illnesses have always been there. Simply, like a century or even fifty years ago, people wouldn’t talk about it and would die for unknown causes. If we read certain poets and writers, we can totally see they were heavily depressed. There wasn’t awareness back then, and there was a lot of shame surrounding this topic: people were just called crazy. Shame is still there nowadays, but it’s getting better and luckily more and more people from the entertainment industry are being vocal about it, so other people don’t feel ashamed in saying. “Hey I’m bulimic! Or I’m depressed! I need help.”
Along with the book, you have also released a calendar. Where did the idea come for that?
KIARA: I’ve been wanting to do a calendar for a few years now. In the summer, I was going through some ideas on how to visually represent the book, represent a strong woman in the music industry, represent the idea of not giving up…and I though the calendar could be a great idea. All the pictures in the calendar give a sense of strength and passion, which is one of the concepts present in my book “NEVER GIVE UP – The Real Secrets of the Music Industry”.
You’ve modelled for a few big names. Is modelling something you would get back into?
KIARA: I have. Would I model again? Well, I’ve done it for the calendar. I guess if a cause or brand I believe in would ask I’d definitely do it, but working again as a full-time pro model I’d say no.
Do you have any plans in the pipeline for the music side of things or are you concentrating on the book and calendar at the moment?
KIARA: I released a cover version of “The Power Of Love” (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) for Christmas, a duet with Sonny Ensabella from Queenmania. In 2020, I’ll focus more on new songs and have something released musically speaking. But 2020, will also see me promote my book.
I know we are not supposed to mention a lady’s age, but you turned 40 this year. Do you have any plans of slowing down or will you just keep going with all your endeavours?
KIARA: Then don’t mention it!!! Hahaha! Why should I slow down? I don’t feel 40, so age is just a number: I know several 20-year-olds that look and think much older than a 60-year-old! Our age is more dictated by the way we feel, how we treat our body, what we eat, our lifestyle. I know that a woman past the age of 30 is considered damaged goods in the music business, but luckily more and more women are setting an example and are showing the world that age is just a number and that women kick ass despite their age! Look at Cristina Scabbia (47), Tarja Turunen (42), Sharon Den Adel (45), Doro Pesch (55), they’re all past their 40s and they still rock the world (and will continue to do so for many years!!!). So, I have every intention of joining my fellow metal ladies in setting an example and kicking some asses for a bit longer…
As a woman the wrong side of 40 myself, I am quite in awe of everything you do and have achieved. Do you consider yourself a bit of a role model and do you have any advice for women of a certain age looking to fulfil their dreams?
KIARA: First of all, thank you! I think that the main point we should consider is the wording “a certain age”. As a linguist, I do pay a lot of attention to words… Have you noticed that people say “a certain age” referring to women but it’s less used for men? We still live in a world that pays too much attention to a woman’s age; when a woman is not in her 20s anymore, she gets old while men become interesting. This is absolutely wrong and sexist from our society. I don’t consider myself as a role model but I definitely wanna tell all the women out there to fulfil their dreams, to change career if they want to, even if they’re 50, to believe in themselves, to not let anyone tell them they’re too old to do what they want. We have time and hope until our last breath. Never Give Up. Love yourself, fully and intensely.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?
KIARA: Thank you for this chat. Never Give Up!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.