Pieri | photo by Paul Lorant | courtesy of the artist
Pieri wants you to get up and dance to the new single “Kitican”
January seems like an entirely different lifetime now. In many ways I wish I had better appreciated the things I did back then, particularly the concerts I saw — the pure energy of being in a room packed with people, moving to loud music, screaming and having fun — now that we’re collectively unsure when that will happen again.
One instance when I was absolutely conscious of being part of something special, though, was a January 22nd concert by Pieri in a basement between Drexel and Penn’s campuses. Her set was part of a concert series put on by Reflective Surface Magazine, and it found the charismatic pop artist — originally from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, currently based in Philly — completely commanding the attention of a hundred-something breathless gig-goers with assertive raps, massive beats, dance moves, and the obliteration of any boundary between performer and audience.
Pieri’s music draws influence on a variety of sounds, notably cumbia and reggaeton, and after making a big impression with the undeniable baanger “Pa Q Lo Sientas” last year, she teamed up with Philadelphia producer El Grillo on a followup single. The goal, she tells us, was making a song “to get up from the couch to and dance (before I even knew that the pandemic was going to happen).” And the result is the new single, “Kitican.”
Over e-mail, Pieri says that in the initial stage of working with El Grillo, she was forcing lyrics that she wasn’t totally feeling, and it left her frustrated. They stepped outside the studio to give themselves some space to reflect, and when they returned, she was singing the hook: “ella tiene el Kitikiticancan” (she has the Kitikiticancan). They recorded it right away.
“Some people have also asked what Kitican means in Spanish, but it doesn’t mean anything,” Pieri tells us. “I think thats the beauty of it: that it’s pure energy that doesn’t mean anything and that doesn’t require anyone to speak a certain language to understand it.”
Before the pandemic clampdown took effect, Pieri worked with her stylist Lili Burch, videographer Jake Lazovick, and producers Powered By Wind to visually capture “Kitican” in a shoot around the Italian market in Philly. Clad in super stylish attire — a zebra stripe coat, sparkling jewelry, shades — Piera struts the 9th street strip, dancing on the streetcorner, grabbing ice cream and dancing in storefront windows, having fun in public when that was still a thing we could do.
“I was kind of hesitant to release music during this time,” she writes. “But right now it’s not a good time to be selfish. We need to be sharing our light with others more than ever. We need to be lifting each other up. If something gives you joy, share it with others. Share your energy.”
Watch (and dance to) the “Kitican” video below.