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"Middletown Press cover of weekend section"

By: JENNIFER SHAFER WOOD, Special to Weekend

ESSEX - Kierstin Sieser began her career in the music industry not on a stage or in a recording studio, but probably the least likely place one would expect a singer-songwriter to - in an awful state of stage fright.
Sieser, now a student at Middlesex Community College in Middletown, a mother of a 2-year-old boy, is a gifted singer-songwriter who lives in Ivoryton.
She grew up around music and has been singing her whole life. Sieser started writing poetry in her journal while in high school. These were the early seeds of song writing, but she was terrified to perform in front of people.
So she chose to paint instead, knowing that wasn't her true artistic form. "I started painting and I knew that was not where my artist self should be, but it was less scary than performing. I couldn't sing in front of people, I couldn't think of performing, I was terrified," she said.
No one knew that she had a powerful voice with moving lyrics bubbling inside her. Until a friend taught her how to play the guitar, and to not be afraid to perform, Seiser was a silent singer - waiting to be born. Once out of her shell, though, she took to the stage like a fish in water.
She was a self-described wild child, until her late 20s and she describes a life full of twists and turns down rabbit holes. She has no real regrets, her experiences have brought her to the place she is now, but she misses the time she says she wasted.
"I wouldn't be the person that I am without the experiences that I had. It's kind of like life's convenient little tragedies," she explained. Now she is utilizing her time and working on an album. After the birth of her son a couple of years ago, she felt an outpouring of creative energy. "I feel like I've grown so much," she said while discussing her new album, "Songs From The Seams," due out later this September.
One of her favorite songs on the record, called, "Libby Montana," was written after a dry spell in which she didn't write for a year. Inspired by a story on National Public Radio about Libby, Mont., and a coal mine, her creative juices began to flow.
"It was an old mine in the 1950s and '60s, where there was natural asbestos, and the mine owners knew for years that's why everybody was dying of lung cancer," she said.
The story is a parable for an evil that hides in humanity under a lustful greed for monetary gain, an evil that all people are capable of, an evil more scary than monsters, because of its insidious nature and its ability to hide in the guise of progress, according to Sieser.
With her poetic prose, she turns a sad reality into beautiful lyrics that delve into the dark side of humanity:
"you swallowed the silence
so vile in your throat
but your secrete grew wild
vines of ivy around your heart
no light
in or out
so dark and so cold
and the people dragged down
to the coffins made of ply wood
forty, thirty, twenty years gone by
the mine has since been closed
but you haven't closed your eyes
tearless and trembling
you dream while awake
about all those laid to rest
in the coffins made of plywood
and it's been getting hard to breathe in Libby, Montana
it's been getting hard to breathe in Libby
it's been getting hard to breathe in Libby, Montana
you better run for your life
you better run for your life
its coming for you."
From the song titled, "Libby Montana," written by Kierstin Sieser
Last year, Sieser did a writing project for school on the conflict in the Congo. Through her research, she discovered that rape is used as a weapon against women and the consequences to woman after being raped are dire.
The sad reality for women in the Congo who are raped is being ostracized from their communities. This touched Sieser and she is now a supporter of an organization called Fondamu, that aids women and their children who are raped.
Sieser is donating a portion of her proceeds from her album to Fondamu. "I am not a rich woman. I don't have a lot of money, but I want to donate a portion of all CD sales to the Fondamu foundation," she says.
Her music is not about becoming rich or being famous, it is about the love of making music. This is evident in the soulful way she sings. While playing cords on her guitar, she creates melodies that soothe and inspire the audience, touching it with a pure sound that comes from her heart:
"when I was young my thoughts were grand
the epic myth in deep burgundy
I would dream the devil was my lover
and he would carve my name in tragedy
but I don't believe in the devil
and I guess I never did
can't say why I've spent my life
looking for
anything that looks like him
I'm sending myself a message in a bottle
whispering on the phone so hard to hear
screaming in a cavern, can't see the other side
but I'm there not really here."
From the song titled, "Keyhole," written by Kierstin Sieser>..table> Influenced by artists like Bob Dylan, Susan Vega, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams and Greg Brown, her music is her own with a style and sound like no other.
"In the tradition of artists and storytellers like Janis Ian and Lucinda Williams but with a voice and an originality that is nothing short of intoxicating, her songwriting style builds a beautiful and dark diorama for her audience to crawl into," says her Web site, which can be viewed at or
"I try to write songs like dioramas. I have been singing and writing since I can remember. I have fallen into a few rabbit holes; the last being the darkest and most beautiful, emerging with a son, new songs and a fierce drive to be heard," Sieser says.
For information on Fondamu, see
Kieser Sieser will be performing Saturday and Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. at Javapalooza in Middletown and Sept. 13 at noon at The Blacksheep Ranch, Clinton. - JENNIFER SHAFER WOOD

"Album review"

Kierstin Sieser, Songs from the Seams ( Songs from the Seams is a compassionate and memorable album. When she loosens up and lets soul seep in, Sieser's sound reaches a status simultaneously classic and new — no mean feat. Her eight-track debut is a tender medley of pretty notes and spare chords that will echo inside your head for hours. Acoustic guitar meets a fiddle meets her effortless-but-evocative lyrics and vocals. Sometimes, as on "Jera," she can get a little too emo, but most of the time, her simplicity strikes a perfect balance. —Vivian Nereim
- New Haven Advocate


The songs I've uploaded are from my brand new album "Songs from the Seams" 2008 I have recorded with Eric Lichter at Dirt Floor studio, except for the acoustic version of Libby Montana recorded at Spicefighter Studio with John Morse.



A child of the 80's with hippy parents Kierstin was always a little songstress. She would watch her father's bands practice in the basement. She would write and record songs on her tape recorder in her bedroom. She would devour the family records like secretes. She lost her teenage angst, she taught herself guitar, she ran around New York City. She lent her voice and lyrics to electronic drum and bass musicians and developed as a singer, songwriter and a performer. She has played numerous venues including Cafe Nine, New Haven Ct., The Sidewalk Cafe, NYC, The Charleston, Brooklyn NY, and many more. Her debut studio album "Songs from the Seams" has been a long time coming, but well worth the wait. It is an album about transformation and the stories that are found where different worlds meet. Kierstin�s voice is thick and multi toned, part Soul and part folk Americana. Her songs are vulnerable, honest and filled with heartbreaking stories, organic metaphors, and vivid dreamscapes.