Calgary

'I couldn't wait any longer': Kiesza releases single while recovering from brain injury

Two years after a serious car accident, the artist behind the 2014 deep-house hit Hideaway is on a five-stop acoustic tour. 

Calgary-born artist was in a serious car accident in Toronto two years ago

Calgary's Kiesza says she's looking at adding more stops to her acoustic tour because of how well it's going so far. (Adam Gasson/MTV Europe/Getty Images)

Calgary-born singer-songwriter Kiesza is finding her rhythm as a performer again — while she recovers from a traumatic brain injury. 

Two years after a serious car accident, the artist behind the 2014 deep-house hit Hideaway is on a five-stop acoustic tour. 

She released her new single Sweet Love last month. 

"I'm still in recovery but I couldn't wait any longer. I was just like, 'You know what, I'll suffer through anything. I just want to put out music again,'" said the artist born Kiesa Ellestad. 

Kiesza won Junos for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Dance Recording of the Year and Video of the Year in 2015. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

While riding in the back of an Uber, the pop artist was injured in an accident in downtown Toronto. She suffered a brain injury that would affect her vision, balance, digestion and immune system.

"I didn't know if I'd actually ever be back singing and performing, and especially touring again," the three-time Juno award winner said. "I had to consider the idea that I might never go on tour again."  

But the artist set a goal for herself. She wanted to follow her debut album Sound Of A Woman, so she pushed through the pain to make it happen.

She also used the pain as inspiration for her new music video.

Wrapped in black mesh, Kiesza twists and contorts her body in the Sweet Love video. 

"That is basically a metaphor for the way that I felt going through all of this. I felt like I was just trapped in the dark of this never-ending pain," she said. 

Kiesza considers herself "part way" through the recovery. She still hasn't fully regained balance on the left side of her body. A full recovery could take another two years, she said.

"There's just no telling how long a brain injury will take to heal — if ever," Kiesza added. 

In the meantime, she said, she's returning to her folk roots with a short acoustic tour, featuring performances in New York City, Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

When she's not on stage, she's still working with a physiotherapist. She hasn't recovered enough to dance or perform with loud music under bright lights but she is singing and playing the ukulele for fans, and so far, so good. 

Kiesza said she's thinking about adding more dates to the tour because of how successful it's been so far, aside from her inability to get a good night's sleep. 

"There's all these weird symptoms I get, but it's worth it," she said. "It's totally worth it."


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

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