Gig Seeker Pro


Tucson, Arizona, United States

Tucson, Arizona, United States
Band Pop Folk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Kaia Chesney, 20, prefers writing music solo"

Kaia Chesney makes delicately gorgeous indie pop.
She's got a gentle, feather-light voice, and, at 20 years old, she is just getting started.
Still, she's feeling a little constrained by Tucson's music scene.
Since her first public performance at age 17, Chesney has played at all-ages spots such as The Living Room, Dry River Collective and Solar Culture. And although she enjoys those places, she doesn't feel there are enough venues in town that support the type of music she makes.
"People would much rather watch a girl band onstage when they have silver wigs on and a tap-dancing percussionist than to watch a girl sit there with a guitar," she said.
Chesney, whose tattooed arms are as colorful as her opinions, has been in Tucson since she was 10. Originally from Maryland, she moved here from Kansas in 2000 to be with her mom.
She attended Sabino High School but not "successfully," and spent some time teaching in Africa before returning to Tucson. The Midtown resident now works as a nanny for two children.
Both solo and with her group, Kaia and the Nazarenes (now renamed ilamir), Chesney writes all the music and lyrics. She recently signed to 1912 Records — a local label founded by 20-year-old Rob Easter of Tucson.
"I just love her music," said Easter, who started his label in January. "What sets her apart is she's an individual."
Chesney's soft singing voice is similar to the dreamy, atmospheric vocals of Victoria Legrand of Beach House.
She said she's tried being in bands and creating music in a more collaborative way, but it didn't really work out.
"I'm not flexible when it comes to writing music with other people," she said. "I'm kind of a pain that way."
It's a trait that has its ups and downs: rewarding when she hears the finished product, but there's less motivation for bandmates to play music that's all hers.
Most of her tunes are love songs with exaggerated scenarios to help people relate, she said, often with themes of nature in the lyrics.
Chesney points to two of her favorite artists, Rocky Votolato and Pedro the Lion's David Bazan, for their vivid lyrical illustrations as inspiration.
She said women have a difficult time being considered really great lyricists.
"In Westernized thinking, it's much more impressive for a man to be so emotionally illustrative and vulnerable as opposed to a woman doing it, because it comes as something people would expect in our culture," she said.
"If a woman sings about her heart being broken and wanting to drown in tears, it's not as impressive as if a man sings it." - Arizona Daily Star


Springtime- played on 91.3 FM KXCI (Tucson)
Circa 1951- played on 91.3 FM KXCI (Tucson)

ilamir (self-titled EP) release date: 11/20/2009



ilamir began with the music of singer/songwriter Kaia Chesney in 2006. After performing solo for over a year, additional musicians were added to performance, but it took 3 long years of tweaking until ilamir finally settled on its permanent members. Still writing the songs, Kaia Chesney is influenced heavily by 60's female vocalists, with a soft-spot still for sappy acoustics. Often vocally compared to the likes of Jenny Lewis, Leslie Feist, and Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries, Kaia Chesney's vocals have been described in the local media as haunting and atmospheric. Singing alongside Kaia is longtime friend Sarah Ling, who also acts as the band's bassist, as well as wife to drummer Andrew Ling. Andrew Ling is a soulful percussionist who's turned the simplistic into an art, comparable to the percussion style of David Bazaan. Andrew Ling also acts as graphic designer for the band, the go-to man for all things merchandise. Tyler Moss is Kaia Chesney's ex-boyfriend, but they dated when she was 14 so it doesn't really count. As the last added member of ilamir, guitarist Tyler Moss has been involved in the Tucson music scene in other acts such as The American Black Lung and At the Base Of a Black Hill, and works as a recording engineer at Landmark Sound Recorders. Tyler's guitar channels the stylistic rhythms of bands such as Wilco, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, all the while incorporating flavors of Tuson's southwestern flair. ilamir's music is honest, fun and easily related to... an original sound all on their own.