In practice rooms and parking structures all around campus, students are practicing their choreography, fine-tuning their song arrangements and rehearsing their numbers over and over again, all in anticipation of one night and one performance: Soulstice.
UCI’s annual talent show, hosted by ASUCI and housed in the Bren Events Center, is only a couple of weeks away. With categories of Solo/Duet, A Capella, Band, Fusion and Dance, talent acts in all different areas of performance are preparing for the big night. This week, we spent some time with a competitor in Solo/Duet, Kieran Moriah.
Moriah is a third-year urban studies major who hails from Hermosa Beach; also serving as a Campus Representative, Moriah leads tours of prospective students around Ring Road. What is unknown to many others, however, is that Moriah is also a mega-talented, supremely soulful musician.
“I started performing in the fifth grade,” Moriah said. “I had no previous experience and was the most awkward kid you’d ever met. After that, I fell in love with being on stage.”
And it seems she hasn’t left the stage since: Moriah now performs in a multitude of groups, including the SoCal-based funk fusion band Push Push and a non-profit jazz quintet called Storeytime. She’s been making a profit from her singing since she was 13 years old, and has spent time with many different groups and artists. As a solo artist, Moriah describes her performance genre as “eclectic.”
“I would say that I draw the most inspiration from jazz and alternative rock, [but] my favorite genres to listen to at home are EDM and alternative metal,” Moriah said. “I’m kind of all over the place.”
Her experiences, however, tell a different story. Moriah graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and played lead roles in musicals throughout high school.
“My favorite roles [to play] were Peter Pan, the Witch from ‘Into the Woods’ and ‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’” said Moriah.
Obviously a quite competent and experienced performer, Moriah has some prior history with Soulstice.
“I competed [as a] first-year with a band under the name The Codex, with fellow students Jason Ledesma and Benjamin Esquivel,” said Moriah.
This year, Moriah is performing solo, and it has definitely affected the way she is putting together her act for the show.
“I had to consider choosing songs that I could play and sing at the same time,” said Moriah. “I also had a storyline for the medley in my mind and I wanted to make sure my songs really adhered to that. If I’m not feeling the songs, the audience won’t feel them either.”
Fortunately, Moriah’s music is easy to vibe with; the raspy tone of her voice is balanced with an impressive range that makes for a captivating performance. As someone with a background in musical theatre venturing into other genres, Moriah’s personal style is funky and unique.
With the show just a few weeks away, she has set her sights on the performance and is very excited to perform at the Bren.
“It’s such an awesome space for a young performer to have the opportunity to be in,” said Moriah. “I’m also looking forward to the challenge of being a solo act.”
Moriah is also excited to see Deliverance, the metal band that competed in last year’s Soulstice, take the stage again.
“They were awesome last year, and I know they’ll rock it again,” said Moriah.
Kieran Moriah will be competing alongside Adrienne Del Rosario and the Tailored Hearts Connection in the Solo/Duet category. Come to ASUCI’s Soulstice 2015 on Feb. 12 to catch these performances, as well as tons of others!