Kiana Valenciano—up-and-coming singer/songwriter, and daughter of Philippine music icon Gary V, and sis of dancer Gab—is well on her way in making her own mark in the local music scene with international-worthy singles such as “Circles” and “Does She Know.” It could easily be said that it was only a matter of time for Kiana to follow in the footsteps of her family, but, what isn’t known to most is that the connection was not as immediate as we’d think. Although the passion for music was naturally present, the intention to translate it into a career was not. Being the youngest in the family, she wanted to find her own path—on her own terms.
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“I grew up in a kind of lifestyle where music was just surrounding me constantly. My dad had his own music room, my brothers were into different genres, and my mom was into music as well, so I knew for a fact that it was just going to be present. It was always going to be such a huge part of me. But I never really thought that it was something that I would be doing," she begins.
Music, as it seemed, wasn’t really a part of Kiana’s immediate picture. In fact, she even went away for a while to study fashion in London. However, as far as her intentions were of flying out to pursue music, this was actually the time where she reignited her passion for it.
“While I was doing fashion in London, somehow my love for music was just sparked again. When I got back, I met with a few producers because I knew I wanted to do it, but I just didn’t have the drive, until last year when I wrote my first full song. And then I just couldn’t stop. I guess when I started writing, it was just something that I connected with—being able to put my thoughts into words, and realizing that a lot of people can relate to certain situations that I go through.”
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But that only marked the beginning of a huge change in perspective for Kiana. Now realizing her knack for writing original pieces, it seems to have left a feeling of self-discovery, as she now feels that this is where she really is meant to be.
“It’s a breath of relief because I’ve always been trying to write since I was in high school, and I never really finished anything because I guess I was just not confident enough, or I didn’t know how to express myself. So when I finally wrote ‘Circles’, it was like a burden off my shoulders. Now I’m slowly becoming more comfortable talking about what I want to talk about, and not worry about what people think about my lyrics. And finding those words means so much to me because everything is personal.”
Adding to that was her decision to join Chris Lopez’s record label, Tarsier Records—a move she otherwise wouldn’t have even considered had she probably not been as serious into producing music as she now is. With the extra push that she has, her ambitions have grown into reaching more heights.
“I never wanted to join a label. But, one afternoon, I walked into Chris Lopez’ place, he showed me his presentation, and I completely understood his vision because it was my vision as well—not to just make it here, but to be able to cross those boundaries and have people listen to my music internationally.”
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This reveals a wiser side of Kiana who sees the bigger picture, not only for her career, but also for herself as a person. Even as someone who has grown to be accustomed to the glamour of show business, she doesn’t let the limelight be the end-all-be-all of her career.
“Fame’s the last thing I’m after. I would rather be known for my music than just my name. I’d rather be known as a musical performer than a celebrity. And I guess that’s a hard thing to explain because people think you’re doing it to be famous, when really, I just want to leave my mark, no matter how small it is.”
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Already a legitimate musician in her own right, she is now well on her way into paving her own way, not only in the local music scene, but also, perhaps, in international waters. And despite her independence, it doesn’t take away the admiration she has for her father’s achievements, as he still is the kind of an artist she aspires to become. She says, “I just want to be able to fill up a stadium and hear people sing my song back. I’ve seen my Dad's shows from when he was my age, and I just want to do something that great.”
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Produced by Julia Arenas | Creative Direction by Barry Viloria | Photographs by Vyn Radovan & Lui Jimenez | Makeup by BYS Cosmetics: Charlie Manapat, Maui Manalo, and CAS: Anna Patricia Andan, Noelle Tumacas, Jana Evardone, Evelyn Dischosa | Styling by Jhelo Cristobal @jhelocristobal, Tricia Ramos @TrishDenise, and Barry Viloria | Hairstyling: @VivereSalon
Shot on location at: Shot on location at Circuit Makati, Olympia, Makati City
Special Thanks to: Tricia Rodriguez of BYS Cosmetics, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Misa Ocampo of Circuit Makati, Lani Tabije-Bernal and Yanna Bromeo of Greenbulb PR, and Forever 21