XMPL Digital Cover Story: Kiki Rowe – Mississauga’s Rising Star

Interview: Marvin Calderon
Photography: Fizzy Loft
Location: Canvas Art Bar
Thank You: Giuliano Frano

In the heart of Canada’s vibrant music scene, rises Toronto-based singer and songwriter, Kiki Rowe – who continues to make waves in the North, showcasing her artistry with the release of her latest single “No Favours.”

​Keeping it busy within the last year, Kiki Rowe released a string of singles as well as worked on a cinematic EP “Infinity,” curated in collaboration with her twin sister and music producer, Myya. The Mississauga sensation also joined forces with acclaimed director and photographer Dragan “The97” Andic. Known for his work with industry heavyweights like Chris Brown, The Weeknd, and NAV – Andic brought his cinematic flair to Kiki’s music video for her summer single “Issues.”

​When we first caught up with Kiki back in 2019, we had the chance to get to know her earlier on in her music career. At the time, she was known for her work with producer DJ Mustard for her 2016 hit single “Trust Issues” as well as other collaborations with Khalil and Toronto rapper Preme. Fast forward to the present – Kiki Rowe has undergone a metamorphosis both creatively and personally. Transitioning from years under a label to newfound independence, Kiki Rowe has honed her focus on writing and crafting music.

Kiki Rowe. Photo: Fizzy Loft

​We recently had the chance to catch up with Kiki Rowe again last summer at the stunning Canvas Art Bar in Mississauga, Ontario. Our conversation with Kiki unveiled her collaborative spirit, with Rowe not only co-producing with her sister Myya but also venturing into the world of EDM. Her collaboration with Italian DJ Thomas Diel, titled “Friends” soared to the top of the iTunes charts in Italy, solidifying her versatility as an artist.

​During our most recent interview, the Mississauga songstress delves into her music, working with her sister and producer Myya, the evolution of her sound and more. Keep an eye on this Toronto-bound gem as she continues to make her mark. Watch Kiki Rowe’s latest music videos “Issues” & “No Favours” and read our full exclusive interview below.

XMPL: I remember we interviewed you back in 2019. I’m certain a lot of things have changed. One of the questions I realized we didn’t ask you in our first interview – who were some of your music inspirations growing up?

Kiki Rowe: Growing up, I listened to a lot of different things. I feel like that influenced me going from rock bands, to like, emo phase. But then also, the Top 40’s. I feel like listening to all of that kind of just influenced my sound. I wouldn’t say anyone influences me in particular, but I definitely love Bieber’s sound, Chris Brown and Kehlani. Those are some people now that I really like.

So are there any current Canadian artists or producers that you hope to work with?

Of course Drake. I say that every time. Every single time I’ll say Drake. Yeah, of course, Drake. Justin Bieber. Like I said, I feel like that’d be crazy. And then The Weeknd of course.

How would you describe the current Toronto music scene now?

I feel like I would describe it as I don’t know, like chill? (laughs) Toronto, I feel like it has that sound to it? I feel like everyone is in that kind of space, which is dope. And then there’s a handful of people that are really, really on the come up, right? And then there’s just like a bunch of artists, there’s so many people in Toronto doing music. It’s crazy.

What would be one thing that you could change or improve on the scene?

It’s very male dominated. So they could definitely take women a little more seriously, in some circumstances. And it’s just sad sometimes to see them getting taken advantage of in certain situations. Obviously, not everyone is like that. But there’s a lot of situations where not only from my experience, but other people. It’s kind of crazy. It’s like, you’re trying to just work. That’s one thing that could be improved, for sure.

Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your song “Why are you lying?”

“Why are you lying?” came from a real place. I feel like in this generation in general, there’s a lot of people that are unfaithful, and it’s not how it used to be, you know? And not even myself, but my friends. I see it from so many angles. It’s kind of universal, so the title “Why are you lying” is like, what’s the point? Why are you lying? You have somebody that you’re with, right? So why does it make sense to lie? It’s like is that person better or not? So that’s kind of where I got the inspiration from.

Kiki Rowe. Photo: Fizzy Loft

A while back, you released a string of covers. Which one would you say was the most fun to recreate?

I really loved doing Heartbreak Anniversary. I re-produced the whole thing myself. So I just took the piano and then kind of made the beat around it. They’re all acoustic versions, I made all that. So that was cool in general but Heartbreak Anniversary, I kind of made this dope little section towards the end and it kind of changes completely and I just added strings and did this like run section. So it was different from the original song. That was probably the funnest one to do for sure.

Do you know if we’ll be getting any visuals soon?

I’m actually shooting two visuals very soon with the 97. So I’m super excited for that. We’re just kind of figuring out everything but yeah, it’s for the two singles coming on the project so I’m super excited.

So you said that you produced. What is it like being an artist that has a producer for a sister. Because I know that you have a twin sister who also does music and is also a music producer? How often do you guys get to work together?

Well, we actually co-produced “Why are you lying?” So that’s the one thing. She also produced one of my last singles “Want You For Myself.” She’s kind of all over it, you know? I love working with other producers and artists too. But whenever we get the chance, we would definitely love to knock shit out.

Can you tell us about your collaboration with Italian DJ Thomas Diel – how did that collab come to be?

Honestly, I think he just kind heard my voice and tone and was like, “Have you ever really done EDM?” And I’m like, I mean, I’ve done remixes, a couple of big DJs did some remixes to my old stuff. But I never really did like a full on EDM single that would be like mine and his. So he heard that, he just sent me a track. And he’s like, “can you get on this one?” And I’m like, Yeah, for sure. And then just sent it back. He loved it, it was great. It was number one on iTunes in Italy as well.

“I’ve grown very creatively as an artist, but I feel like I’ve also grown a lot as a person. Because, being signed for years, and then just jumping into being independent is like a big change. In general, that has made me really focus on “Okay, who do I want to be?” Like, what kind of music do I really want to write and put out? In general, it’s a lot of growth. A lot of learning.”

Since we last interviewed you back in 2019, how do you feel like you’ve grown creatively, as an artist?

I’ve grown very creatively as an artist, but I feel like I’ve also grown a lot as a person. Because, being signed for years, and then just jumping into being independent is like a big change. In general, that has made me really focus on “Okay, who do I want to be?” Like, what kind of music do I really want to write and put out? In general, it’s a lot of growth. A lot of learning.

Is there anything that we can expect? Maybe like any surprise collabs, anything like that?

Yeah, hopefully the project will drop before the end of the year. I’m really hoping that it does. I think it will, at this point, also dropping a cinematic EP. So basically it’s like an EP of songs that you would hear in movies. We’re working with my sister on that and Hallwood, this company in LA and we’re just making like this dope EP. And then collabs – there’s definitely some features. I just want to kind of make sure that everything’s you know, 100%. But yeah, look for some really, really cool features on the project.

Stream Kiki Rowe’s latest single, ‘Down To Ride’

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