By Trish Cassling of thereviewsarein.com for woodbine.com
TORONTO, June 5 – Canadian recording artist Kira Isabella is a star on the rise.
Singing from the age of 7, Isabella learned first from her dad and then went on to singing lessons. And, like many Canadian female country singers of her generation, she was inspired by Shania Twain. She started writing poetry in Grade 4 and that turned into the song writing she’s known for today. In addition to Twain, she lists Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift among her influences.
Now a seasoned pro with a number of charted singles, Isabella has played multiple festivals including the inaugural years of Boots and Hearts in 2012, 2016’s CMT Fest and this June 17th she’ll be up on stage with opener Jojo Mason at the Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack.
"CMT Fest was one of my favourite shows so far. It takes so long to come into your own and be confident, to feel comfortable on stage in front of a crowd,” said Isabella. “A big part of it is how I connect with my fans, they’re like friends. They’re easy to talk to and I’ve been playing with the same band now for a couple of years, so I’m very comfortable around them.
“I really felt like CMT Music Festival was a time that it all came together,” continued Isabella. “It really clicked for me. I’ve been doing it since I was seven but it can take a really long time to get your stage legs."
Isabella on stage at Boots and Hearts! (Photo by Trish Cassling)
The fresh faced 23-year-old Ottawa resident appeared on the Canadian country music scene in 2011 with her first radio single Love Me Like That and she hasn’t looked back. In October of 2012, at the tender age of 17, Kira released her first album, Love Me Like That. which included 11 tracks and it garnered her five radio hits between 2011 and 2013 including the title track Love Me Like That, A Real Good Radio, A Little More Work, Songs About You and Blame It on Your Truck. The age-appropriate stories spoke to her audience and won over a multitude of fans.
With her next album 2014’s Caffeine & Big Dreams, Kira released a somewhat controversial single, Quarterback. Not one to shy away from controversy, Quarterback came with a very strong message about sexual assault, and people were listening. The song was Isabella’s first US release and it put her on the road to more grown-up content.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum subject-wise you’ll find the track Shake It If Ya Got It, it’s meant for dancing and is a feel good song that anyone can appreciate. Other singles from Caffeine & Big Dreams included Gone Enough and I’m So Getting Over You. The later may have produced one of my favourite pieces of merchandise, a ladies only t-shirt that showed up all over the place.
As fans, we’ve had the opportunity to watch this young woman grow up as she’s honed her stage chops by opening up for the likes of Carrie Underwood, Terri Clark, Gord Bamford and Tim Hicks, and she’s moved on to headlining festivals herself. Kira has been nominated for multiple Canadian Country Music Awards and Junos, and won the CCMA Rising Star Award in 2012 and Female Artist of the Year in 2013.
Isabella soon to light up the stage at the NA Cup! (Photo by Trish Cassling)
Kira’s staying busy and recently played the 18th Annual Tin Pan Alley Songwriters Festival at Hugh’s Room in Toronto.
"It was very packed, so that was awesome. I haven’t done writers rounds like that in a little while so it was very cool to get to do that,” said Isabella. “I got to do a new song that I wrote, something very ballad-y that I wrote with two girls that are from Toronto. I was very excited to do that."
She also has a new single out and it might sound familiar to you. Isabella’s cover of John Waite’s Missing You, which she told us is her dad’s favourite song, was a great surprise from the Canadian country artist.
She’s also got a great duet with the Chris Buck Band on the radio with the single, That’s When You Know. Kira told us that they recorded their parts separately but they shot the video together. The song is all about Buck meeting his girlfriend, and Isabella said she loved the song the first time she heard it.
“He is so sweet, he is honestly the coolest guy. Very genuine,” said Isabella. “I loved the song when I first heard it but secondly, I loved his voice. His voice is so deep and so country. I love voices like that I feel like there are only a few of them out there that are so true.”
If you’re looking for a wedding song, this could be it.
You can learn more about Kira Isabella at kiraisabella.ca and all over her social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And, you can get your tickets for the Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, which of course includes a night of world class racing, by clicking here.
The Toronto-based Trish Cassling is the Lead Photographer and Writer for the popular music blog, thereviewsarein.com.