Ian Kieffer Talks Songwriting, Laughter, and New EP From The Top

Post Author: Meredith Schneider

New York’s pop folk artist Ian Kieffer has been ready to unleash new music onto the world for some time. Having been writing music since around the age of 10, he was very active in the music scene in high school with his band New Vo Riche. Since then, he has been working more in-depth with a formal songwriting and english education at USC, followed by inspired work when he moved to New York following graduation to further his career. His new project, an EP titled From The Top, was recently released, so we sat down to ask him a few questions.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m 24, very pale and play folk-pop. I was raised on Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Carol King and a lot of other 70’s singer/songwriters so my music is a throwback to that era, in a millennial sort of way. I think people want to hear that kind of music again.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music?

It was never really a conscious decision to pursue music until college. I’d always just written and played, and then during college I started to think, alright, let’s keep doing this and see if anyone will call me out for not having a real job.

What was the creation process behind your EP From The Top?

It’s a bit of a breakup album, I have to admit. I had these three songs that I just felt belonged together and I’d also just split with my girlfriend in an unsure way. We’re still very close and anything seems like it could happen, so “From The Top,” is a double entendre for both a song and a relationship starting over again. I cut the titular track with that in mind.

Which track was your favorite to make?

I think my favorite track to make was actually the first one, “From The Top.” It’s only piano and vocals and a minute long but I wrote it, recorded it, and mixed it all in a couple hours. I think it sets you up for what you’re about to listen to the way a pillow prepares you to nap.

Has your upbringing in LA influenced your music in any way?

I’m not sure. Experiences shape my music, and LA is where I experienced everything so probably, yes. When I was in high school I got to play my songs for Randy Newman, which was an absolute dream, and he said he liked my songs and talent but that I needed to get better at playing piano. That just doesn’t happen in Topeka, Kansas. Also, entertainment is a career for a lot of people in LA so it never felt like an unrealistic dream.

What’s your favorite thing about making music?

My favorite thing about making music is getting lost in the songwriting process. The feeling of being completely immersed in writing the song. Don’t bother me when that’s happening because I’ll ignore you no matter who you are (musical heroes excluded). And seeing it reach a new level with other instruments added is also a sexy feeling.

What is something you think everyone should know about you?

If you can make me sincerely laugh, you’ve got a place in my heart forever.

If you were a sandwich, what kind would you be / what would be on it and why?

I’d be a fat Italian deli sandwich on a hero roll. Salami, prosciutto, a little gabagool, tomatoes, black olives, maybe a little Havarti cheese. I’m delicious but you need to dedicate some time to me because I’m worth it (L’Oreal tagline?). I’ll put you in a food coma.

What’s up next?

Up next!
1) I’m playing at Mondo.NYC Music Festival and Tech Summit.
2) Another show at Banyan Studios in Brooklyn, September 28th.
3) Going to start work on my debut LP expected to be released within the year.
4) I’ll write a song for the first person who comments on this post with one word they’d like their song to be about. Then I’ll debut it on Impose, sounds good, yeah?
From The Top is available now