Keira Moran is a recent graduate of the University of Miami. Originally from Alexandria, VA, she studied music business and entertainment industries with a minor in entrepreneurship. A singer-songwriter who already has songs on iTunes, she plans to move to L.A. this summer to continue following her dreams!
So Keira, when did you first start writing songs? What inspires you to write?
“I think the first actual songs I wrote were when I was in third grade. I had a piano concert and I asked my teacher if I could sing as well as play piano. I wrote a song called ‘Chick Burrito,’ and ‘Halloween Nights’.’Halloween Nights’ is kind of a banger actually—I pulled that out recently and was like ‘this is not bad for my third grade self!’ [As for what inspires me to write], I think just everyday life. Everyday encounters allow for the most genuine things to write about.”
How do you feel your songwriting has developed over the years?
“I used to always start with piano chords, or a piano melody that I thought was really cool. Over the years, especially as I’ve come to college and taken lyric writing, I now tend to start with lyrics. I think it’s important to change up how you write songs or else you’ll get stuck in the same pattern and all your songs will sound the same. I try to mix it up.”
What is your favorite song that you’ve written?
“I think it’s difficult for me to choose a favorite, but one song that I really like that I’ve written is called “Fade Away” (on iTunes as a single!). It was about someone that I was very close to that I just had a falling out with. There was never a big fight, we just drifted apart. For me that song was very real and very genuine, and I felt like, with that song, I was able to describe exactly what I was feeling at that moment.”
That’s really beautiful. Who is a singer that you look up to as a role model?
“I would say I’ve always looked up to performers like Elton John and Alisha Keys, because their melodies were really piano based, and that was where I was coming from, and also because they’re incredible performers. I also have to say Justin Timberlake—performing wise, producing wise, song-writing wise, he just does it all, and I’d like to have a career like that where I can have my fingers in a lot of different areas of music.”
Speaking of which, what are your longterm career goals?
“I want to write songs for my favorite artists. Something that I love about songwriting is that most of these hit songs that you hear on the radio, you don’t know who wrote them. Sometimes the artist has a part in it or is in the room, but sometimes they don’t and it’s written by outside people. That’s awesome because, when you’re an artist, you get so much more publicity and visibility, and I don’t want to make my goal in life people following me around with cameras, and taking pictures of my kids. I don’t want that for myself. I want to be successful but not famous.”
So what are some of the ways that you are trying to break into the business?
“I had entered various contests online to get visibility that way and to get my music out there. When I was in high school, I entered something called ‘The Smash Tunes Songwriting Contest’. When I entered, I entered late, so I was actually already at a disadvantage. However, it ended up getting some traction, and I came out on top. I got to go to the Kawaii music festival and play my song there. For me that’s kind of what jump-started it, because at the Kawaii music Festival (KMF), I met a lot of producers—one of which helped me record some of my first album in Nashville. I’m still in contact with the people I met there.”
What song was the winner in that competition?
“That song was called ‘When I’m With You’. It was one of the first songs I wrote, and it’s not on iTunes. I’d like to think my songwriting skills have improved since then!”
When did you first have a song on iTunes? How did that happen?
“It was my first album called Wondergirl. Since then I’ve had several singles come out. Some of them were fundraisers for different causes. [To put my songs on iTunes], I personally go through CD baby because that’s a company that I find to be easy to work with. For those not in the music business world—it distributes your music to all the platforms I would want it on: Spotify, iTunes, Amazon—and you can also have physical CDs printed through it.”
This has been really interesting hearing about your songwriting career so far, Keira. For our final question, what advice would you give to children who want to be singers or songwriters when they grow up?
“You have to be able to take criticism well, but also take it with a grain of salt. When you’re young, almost everyone knows more than you, or has more experience than you. It’s important to learn from that, but sometimes you have to stick with your gut feeling. Know when to take feedback, know when to trust yourself.”