By: Kevin Rolfe
Kiana Ledé was one of the support acts for Jessie J at The Depot on Monday night. In fact, she was first on the bill. When I heard this I was a little nervous for her because one, it’s never easy opening a show, and two, I was concerned that no one would be there yet. I then learned that her set would only be 15 minutes. I thought to myself ‘How can anyone make impact a show or make an impression in only 15 minutes?’ Well, as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about.
There was a small hiccup in getting me my press and photo passes. Because of this I was delayed and wasn’t in the performance area of The Depot when Kiana started her show. So I had no idea how many people were there. But I could hear them. If you’ve been to The Depot then you know that actual concert hall is up two flights of stairs. I was on the ground level, and I could hear the crowd. Fortunately, there was a monitor, so I could see Ms. Ledé on stage. She appeared from out of the dark in blue jeans, and what appeared to be a sheer robe. Her hair was long curly, and those locks were flowing!
Once I had my photo pass I walked up the stairs, and could immediately hear just how beautiful Kiana’s voice was live. As I entered the room, I noticed a couple of things that really impressed me. I was really happy with not only how many people were there already, but that they were actually up by the stage and invested in Kiana’s performance. Of course, more people arrived as the show went on, but not as many as you’d think. I’d say about 75% of the audience for the night was already there watching Kiana Ledé perform. In my experience that doesn’t happen very often. I was blown away at how high the energy already was. That is not an easy thing to do. Especially when you’re not the headliner, and especially on a Monday night! I made my way to the front of the stage and I couldn’t decide who to watch. Obviously, I wanted to watch the performance because that is what the bulk of this review will entail, but I found myself so many times watching the audience. There were so many people smiling, and singing along, and of as is the norm these days, recording video of Kiana’s performance on their iPhones.
As I mentioned, I was really impressed with Kiana’s voice. She has a smoothness in her vocals that make even big notes seem effortless. Most of her set contained tracks from her EP Selfless. Ledé sat on a stool for her more toned down numbers and I felt for a moment like I was in a small jazz club. There were a couple times I had to remind myself to keep taking pictures because I was caught up in the performance. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe how close I am.’ Then reality returned and I remembered that the reason I was so close was because I was supposed to be taking pictures. Duh. Kiana Ledé has a real talent for drawing people in.
The set was definitely too short. With three artists on the bill, I get that Kiana isn’t going to get a ton of time. But even adding five more minutes to the set would make a difference. It gives time for one to two more songs and adds a little flexibility to the show. Despite the short set time, Kiana’s performance packed a powerful punch. She most definitely made a major impact in her short 15 minutes. She seemed to be genuinely loving her time on stage and the louder the crowd got, the bigger her smile was.
If anyone there on Monday night hadn’t heard of Kiana Ledé, they’ve definitely heard of her now, and I can’t imagine they didn’t walk away from the evening as a new fan. In fact, after the show, I was walking by a group and I heard someone say “How about that opener? What was her name?” And as they tried saying Kiana Ledé in a variety of ways I couldn’t help but interject with the proper pronunciation and told them her EP was titled Selfless. They thanked me and said, “Yeah, we gotta check that out.”
Judging the way Monday night went, I won’t be surprised if I hear about Kiana returning to Utah again soon. If the roar of the crowd was any indicator, she definitely has the fans necessary to play here again.
Take It All