In late 2011, Kiirstin Kuhi found herself at a crossroads. She had served as the dynamic front person and co-songwriter for several different bands since 2005, from progressive post-hardcore band Ground to Machine to genre-bending piano rock band Verity In Stereo. Inspired and motivated by the successes of each act but seeking to grow as an artist, Kiirstin Marilyn was born.
For her debut EP, Something to Die For, Kiirstin enlisted the producing talents of Brian DeNeeve (From Autumn To Ashes, touring guitarist for The Wanted) and Todd Weinstock (Glassjaw; Men, Women, and Children). After debuting her new act at the legendary Bitter End in March of 2012, she went on to win her second RAW: Musician of the Year award and toured regionally in the US as well as internationally with shows in London, England, Toronto, Canada, and the YouBloom festival in Dublin, Ireland.
In the summer of 2014, Kiirstin began working with producer Benny Reiner on a sophomore EP effort that would eventually be entitled Ghosts. This eclectic collection of intensely personal and sometimes confrontational songs with soaring vocals and hard-hitting beats eventually caught the attention of indie label Spectra Music Group who released Ghosts on May 6th 2016 online and in stores worldwide.
What is your all-time favorite song?
I have to answer “Lighting Crashes” by Live. I have tons of favorites, but that’s the only one I can think of that I made a “mix” tape of just that song on repeat and then painted the casette with white out and wrote on it in pink pen “Lightning Crashes” with lightening bolts all over it. The “why” is a bit mysterious even to me. The song is about reincarnation, but at the time I was a little too young to really appreciate the concept. But something about the music just spoke to me. That opening guitar riff just put me in this place that I could stay alone in for hours on end in my bedroom far away from the world.
Which song is perfect for a Road Trip?
I almost couldn’t decide between two songs, but I think I’m gonna go with Awolnation “Sail” because I was actually road tripping in Cali when I first heard it. It’s also a song you can bop to in the car pretty safely without risking an accident. Also reminds me of making waves in the wind with your hand out the car window.
To which song do you like to clean?
Clean? What’s that? Haha. I like to be a weirdo in the comfort of my own home and clean to anything I can move to. I’ve definitely cleaned to some Killer Mike so let’s say “Ready Set Go (feat. T.I.).”
What’s the perfect song to wake up with?
You have to wake up each day with a smile on your face ready to laugh fear in the face so I like to wake up to “$ave Dat Money” by Lil’ Dicky.
What’s your favorite artist from your home city?
Wow that’s a tough one considering my home city is New York City, and its a hub of all the best talent. I’m probably forgetting 100 bands right now, but I’m gonna go with Semi Precious Weapons. They’re a band that I fell in love with before I realized I had a connection to them through a friend from college and that they have a connection to Lady Gaga. Their concerts are some of the most exhilarating shows I’ve ever been too. Their lead singer, Justin Tranter, is this gorgeous, tall, androgynous being who commands the stage and almost puts a spell on his audience. Their songs aren’t the most radio friendly things you’ll ever hear, but at times they can be catchy and infectious with very tongue and cheek lyrics. I just love their very New York attitude of “This is me. You don’t like it, you can go fuck off!”
Which artist do you think is too underrated and which one is overrated?
I think my most favorite band on the planet currently, Enter Shikari, is way underrated. I mean at least in the United States. They are from the UK, and I know they are big everywhere else but in the US. I just went to see them at a venue in New Jersey on the second leg of their US “Mindsweep” Tour, and there were maybe 250 people there. I mean as a fan it was great because I got to be close and not feel suffocated by the crowd, but for such an amazing band that puts on an incredible live show with such an important message it was sad to see such a low turnout. But here in the US our government tries to suppress anything with an important political/social message, and I’m surprised they made it over here at all and we aren’t already North Korea status.
I hate to say it (or I don’t), but I think Meghan Trainor is WAY overrated. She is in the industry because of her industry family, and she couldn’t be further from what I would consider an artist. Her songs are bland, and she is very cookie cutter. There is really nothing exciting about her and I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.
If you could be one artist for a day, who would that be?
I’ve never really thought about being anyone other than myself, but I guess if I had to choose someone to be, I’d probably base it on someone who’s career I’ve admired almost my whole life and say Gwen Stefani. She has been such a role model and inspiration for me since I was a kid, and when I decided to leave a promising theater career and make a move to writing and performing my own music, I looked to her for guidance in that endeavor. I would love to experience life one day as Gwen, but like, probably during a No-Doubt-pre-solo-career day if I can also travel in time during this day as someone else. Ha.
What’s the best song to make love to? (To ask someone out..?)
Can I be super cliche and say Notorious B.I.G “Fuckin’ You Tonight”? 😉
When I think of asking someone out I think about being a a party where there is some kind of dance music playing so I’ll go with “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia. I’ve never asked anyone out to dance music though ha.
What’s the most beautiful lyric you’ve ever heard?
I love Lana Del Rey’s lyric “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” I love it so much I have it tattooed on my left thigh. Ha. I believe it encapsulates the type of love we are all yearning for: one that transcends the lust of youth and connects us beyond death.
At which place would you love to play a concert?
I don’t know why, but Irving Plaza in NYC is still my dream venue. It’s not the biggest venue, and it’s certainly not the prettiest venue, but I’ve seen many shows there, and I just think it’s the exact right venue for the career I want: touring artist, not to big but big enough to sell out a 1,000 capacity venue. I’m not asking for fortune and fame, just enough to have a career my family, friends, and I can be proud of.