Kiana Valenciano on seeking independence abroad and figuring her music career out all on her own
TALL AND PRETTY with a voice like a Disney princess, Kiana Valenciano has the basic attributes that can easily propel her towards stardom. It doesn’t hurt that she’s got a famous last name either, synonymous with talent and respect in the entertainment industry.
Kiana is not the type to ride on the coattails of other people’s hard work, though.
It’s only been about a month since she stepped foot in the motherland, back from a two-and-a-half-month stint in London studying fashion-related courses at the esteemed Central aint artins. he af nity for fashion isn’t much of a surprise. Just one look at her beautifully curated blog will easily show her natural eye for style. She also hasn’t forgotten her roots in music, hitting the recording studio as soon as she got home, with her mind fully focused on kicking off the music career she’s been meticulously working on the past few years. For someone who has fame and success waiting to be served to her on a silver platter, she’s pretty hard pressed on guring things out on her own, choosing to ignore the easy path that comes with her privilege.
She knows what she wants, and she’s got a carefully laid out battle plan at the ready. This girl knows what she’s doing.
Have you always wanted to study abroad? I can’t imagine it was an easy decision.
It’s been a long time coming. When I was 17, it was really my dream to study abroad after graduating from high school. But my parents were uncomfortable because, you know, I’m their baby girl. But they always knew that it was going to happen so this year I really pushed for it. It was actually two years in the works because I really wanted to go last year, but my brother got married so I couldn’t. And before that, my other brother also got married. So it was just a lot of stuff that was preventing me from going. Finally, we decided that this year, during the summer, I’d go and take my time there.
Were you alone the entire time?
The rst month and a half I was alone. y best friend followed later on but it was just us.
“I’m really picky. I’ve worked with people before and I was just like ‘ Sorry, it’s really not me. I can’t do it.’ Which is why I guess [ my music is] taking so long, so this time I’m really just... It’s kind of like my baby. I won’t release it unless I feel it.”
What was it like? Was it vastly different from your life here?
It was pretty cool. I really enjoyed it because everything revolved around my own time, my own body clock. So I worked at my own pace, did my chores at my own pace. There was nobody really telling me what I could and couldn’t do. It was nice being independent and getting to explore the city on my own. I was doing my own laundry. Ironing. ( laughs) I was doing all that and it was so funny because everyone from here was making fun of me. Nobody’s used to that side of me. Here, I could just easily ask people to do my chores for me.
You took up a few fashion courses at Central Saint Martins. Are you in the process of planning a clothing line?
Yeah, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen soon. Maybe end of next year or something like that. Fashion is really broad. You have to keep going and your inspiration has to keep coming, and I think right now it wouldn’t suit my lifestyle in the sense that I’d just have to block people out. Right now, I’m mostly just gonna focus on my music because I think that it’s just something I do every day. I sing every day so I might as well work on that and, on the side, have my fashion thing going. I’ve been planning to have a little side-business of having made-to-order clothes for my friends but in terms of launching a line, that requires so much time and in terms of what I’ve learned throughout my stay in London and my studies here, fashion is really time-consuming.
Yeah. And fashion designing isn’t just sketching. You also have to create patterns and know your textiles.
Yeah, and I really want to be the type of designer that’s hands on. I’m looking into studying some more. I also want to study accessories, shoes, bags, stuff like that.
So would you say that music will always come first and fashion is something like a passing interest?
Music is still my thing but I’ve always been into fashion. When I was in high school, my friends used to make fun of me because I’ll always be sketching in the side. And then I wanted to go study in Parsons after high school but, like what I said, it was a little hard for my parents to let me go at that time because they thought of me as a baby. And I’m glad I didn’t because I got to make a lot of friends here and build the relationships I have here. And I wouldn’t have survived then. I was in London for two months and I had a hard time, so at 17 it would’ve been much harder.
But what you’re really focusing on at the moment is music, right?
My thing right now with music is I don’t want to be too mainstream. Because, really, my sound isn’t. The type of music I listen to and the performers I like aren’t really huge right now. Not that I’m hipster or anything. ( laughs) Right now, I’m working on a few things, collaborating with different artists and hopefully by December we’ll have a track out. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on the radio, you know? Maybe it’ll be on Soundcloud but, yeah. That’s the kind of approach I’m going for.
I bet you’ve been performing since forever.
I think I was si when I had my rst recording but I think I was seven or eight when I rst sang in Araneta. That was nerve-wracking but it was pretty fun. But it’s been a while [since the last time I was on stage] because I haven’t been here. But before I left for London, I did a gig. I usually perform with my dad. The only time when I really let loose is when I’m with my friends. Like, when we’re in La Union and they have that hostel there, Flotsam & Jetsam? Sometimes my friends from there, they’re all musicians, will just bring out their guitars and jam. That’s my scene. ( laughs)
You have an awesome, well-curated blog. It’s pretty heavy on the fashion at the moment. Do you have plans of turning it into a full-on lifestyle blog?
The music side [for my blog] is currently in the works. We’re planning to have...actually, no. I wanna keep that a surprise. ( laughs) I mean, I already posted a bit of a sneak peek on my Instagram of me singing, so that’s coming soon on the blog. And then I also have my travel videos. I’m currently working on my video from London. I make them myself, so that’s why they’re always late, and people make fun of me because when we’re out of town, I’m all like, “Video, guys! Guys!” ( laughs)
What’s next really is the single. I’m really picky. I’ve worked with people before and I was just like, “Sorry, it’s really not me. I can’t do it.” Which is why I guess it’s taking so long, so this time I’m really just... It’s kind of like my baby. I won’t release it unless I feel it. So that’s what’s next. The single. And we’re building up the blog. It’s really like an online journal. It’s not just the fashion and the music. It’s me sharing personal stories and stuff.