Kirsten DeHaan is a "musician's musician". A singer/songwriter and guitarist whose first musical influence came via her two older brothers having Floyd & Zeppelin in constant rotation, she was 5. Three years later she was finally able to break her...
Kirsten DeHaan is a "musician's musician". A singer/songwriter and guitarist whose first musical influence came via her two older brothers having Floyd & Zeppelin in constant rotation, she was 5. Three years later she was finally able to break her mother down to purchase her first guitar on a family trip to their native Germany for 40 marks. “I just remember clutching onto this guitar with dear life and could not wait to get it back home to Indiana" and so a singer-songwriter was born.
"After graduating with a degree from SMU in Dallas, I was attending grad school in Colorado for my MBA, when I had my epiphany that music was my business and that I needed to make that my focus". I got serious about getting serious and sold my car and belongings (to the horror of my parents) to buy my plane ticket to New York City and my 300 sqft apt on the lower east side; six weeks later 9/11 hit".
"As a singer-songwriter, you pull inspiration from life experiences and I had a lot to contribute". Waiting tables at a little joint across from the famous CBGB's, Kirsten kept her eye on the prize. After being courted by major and indie labels, DeHaan used her business instincts to respectfully pass on the opportunity to sign with a major label and finally in 2004 she released her first album, ‘Conform’ on her own independent label, SirLady Records. "I started my own label because I am a huge proponent of artists owning their own material. My pathos was to create and deliver the best music possible and collaborate with those in the industry of a similar mind-set." The album debuted to a sold out crowd at CBGB's (of course).
DeHaan hit the ground running, personally promoting and pitching her music to TV Networks and 150 radio stations within the first week of release. Her persistence and passion paid off. Her first licensing deal was sealed with MTV with her music appearing on two hit reality shows;"Made" and "My Super Sweet Sixteen". ‘Conform’ continued to gained momentum, declared as one of the most popular records next to the Killers and Ashlee Simpson by FreshFarm.com. Garageband rated her #16 Best Female Vocals in Pop/Rock all time and critics started to compare DeHaan’s sound to the likes of Joplin, U2, Nirvana, and Stevie Nicks.
After two years of pounding pavement and touring to promote ‘Conform’, DeHaan was eager to get back into the studio for her sophomore effort, "Under The Richter Scale", a 3 track EP. Soon after, her music had been downloaded over 1 million times via various peer-to-peer sites. In the vain of being fiercely independent, DeHaan was eager to help promote and foster the indie music scene in New York City. Henceforth, she created the New York Indie Rock Launch in 2005 in TriBeCa - a grass roots effort which became a precursor to the indie environment of what now dominates the Brooklyn music scene showcasing hot acts: The Nillaz, Planeside, Troup 47, The Rosewood Theives, Blowup Hollywood, and Sam Bisbee.
After touring hard to promote the albums and the Indie Rock Launch, DeHaan hit a stumbling block. Her body just could not keep up with her desire to hone her craft and perform. At first, most thought it was just attributed to exhaustion from the type of dedication she threw into the music and the label. Then came the diagnosis, Endometriosis.
"Please understand it is hard for me to go public with this, as I am a very private person and was raised in a strict German household where we pride ourselves on our work ethic and keeping your head down and producing the best. Ironically, besides the support of my family, it was the music that kept me from giving up. I could barely walk but I would pull my guitar onto my bed and play, make notes in my moleskin and I thought about those even less fortunate, like the soldiers overseas. I am not a proponent of war, yet I felt compelled by their dedication to their craft and country. That was the impetus to create regular webcasts for American Soldiers".
Down but defiantly not out, DeHaan decided to do what she could and through Craigslist posted an ad to teach guitar. "The response was overwhelming and I fell in love with teaching. As a musician you learn everyday and you must practice and be on your instrument as much as possible. Teaching guitar was so fulfilling on many levels. My students were very patient and understanding while I was ill and they too gave me the energy/spirit to remain focused on the music. We inspired each other".
Teaching guitar not only paid the bills, but allowed DeHaan to rent a place out on the beach in Bellport, Long Island and the songs just poured out. "I was writing almost everyday and on my instrument as much as possible. I was extremely amped to go home; home for me is the Studio".
Relocating from Brooklyn, home became Woodstock,NY. DeHaan was attracted to the area for the obvious music history and legacy but also the spirituality that is palatable in a town surrounded geographically by mountains and literally by artists of all genres.
Three long years after "Under the Richter Scale" was released rumors swirled that a new EP was on its way. "Thorns On A Crown" dropped in October 2009 to rave reviews. David Malachowski selected Thorns as the top album of 2009 calling it "Infectious, Powerful and Riveting." Women's Radio identified DeHaan as one to watch as a Hot Up-N-Comer for 2010. Fans both old and new have casted their votes selecting Kirsten #1 artist on the alternative charts on ReverbNation.
"Although professionally I had "holes" in my timeline with album releases, I feel the most confident about where I am personally and professionally and this album really reflects that; it is alive, clear and gripping."
- The SirLady Experience -
"The SirLady Experience is a double entendre. The straightforward definition - it is the name of my band. After many years of collaborating with a multitude of musicians, I was in the fortunate position to be able to select who would make up the SirLady Experience. ‘Thorns’ is the album it is because I am working with top notch musicians. The second definition is more figurative although through my blog it does take a literal form; "The SirLady Experience" meaning the day to day experience through my eyes as a musician living in the most famous little town in the world.
Follow the experiences at slexperience.kirstendehaan.com and twitter.com/SirLadyExp
Top 10 Regional Album of 2009 by The Daily Freeman (Jan 2010) Woodstock, NY –Kirsten DeHaan’s third album, ‘Thorns On A Crown’ (SirLady Records) launched in October to rave reviews and heavy rotation on radio that lead to an impromptu North East tour backed...
Top 10 Regional Album of 2009 by The Daily Freeman (Jan 2010) Woodstock, NY –Kirsten DeHaan’s third album, ‘Thorns On A Crown’ (SirLady Records) launched in October to rave reviews and heavy rotation on radio that lead to an impromptu North East tour backed by her band, The Sir Lady Experience.
“Thorns” has already been selected by Musician/Producer/ Music Critic, David Malachowski, as one of the Top Regional Albums of 2009:
“DeHaan has a lot to say in a clever, catchy way, and obviously others feel the same way, as reality shows “Made” and “My Super Sweet Sixteen” have used her tunes.
Produced by DeHaan and Jonathan Mover, this EP falls perfectly between pop and rock, though leaning towards the latter. “1984” finds DeHaan singing about love and life in a breathy voice over an infectious solid groove.
On “Double or Nothing,” she sings about “that old summer air/the kind you used to smell driving in our Chevy Bel Air.” The lonely “The Night Shift” has a palpable solitude, and her emotional delivery is simply riveting, while the powerful “I’m Coming Home” could be the next big rock power ballad (sans big hair). DeHaan is definitely on to something.”
– David Malachowski