27 Oct 2018

Australian pop sensation Kira Puru on dancefloors, diversity and her Tainui roots

From RNZ Music, 1:10 pm on 27 October 2018

Pop singer-songwriter Kira Puru is taking off in Australia. Kira – who's of Māori heritage – has recently released her first, self-titled EP on which she celebrates dancefloors and diversity.

Kira Puru doesn't necessarily recommend the cocktail she describes in her latest single ‘Molotov’:

“I’ll take a whiskey neat, chase it with a gin and juice.”

“When I put that into the song I felt immediately guilty and I thought, 'I hope nobody actually goes out and does this,' because it’s got the be the most cooked combination of drinks that I’ve ever heard of in my life.”

‘Molotov’ is flat-out dancefloor banger, set to be on plenty of summer playlists.

“I just can’t control my feet, when I get a little bit loose”

Dancefloors, it turns out, are one of Kira’s passions.

“The dancefloor has always been a space that’s open to me. Wherever in the world you are and whatever language you speak and however you feel dancefloors are welcoming places. They can be quite religious.

“I’m a member of the queer community and there are people there that I know that don’t feel like they belong or that they feel safe on the street or that they have a place to go to feel relaxed and free."

Kira Puru

Kira Puru Photo: supplied

That sense of inclusiveness and celebrating diversity is at the core of Kira Puru.

Of Māori heritage, Kira grew up in a small town inland of Newcastle in NSW – not the easiest place to grow up if you identify as a queer person of colour.

“It’s not as easy for people of colour to fit in and certainly, in Newcastle there are some small-minded folk that can make it pretty hard for a weirdo kid like myself. But I’ve grown up to be a fairly resilient person, I guess I have the bullies to thank for that.”

The Kira Puru EP

The Kira Puru EP Photo: supplied

With the new EP gaining momentum and an upcoming sold-out Australian tour Kira is quick to laugh, easy going, eloquent and all too happy to be on the phone to the home she’s never known.

“My dad is Tainui. I’d love to be able to get over there a little bit more. Part of me is a little torn because I do wish I had more exposure to my whanau and to my roots in New Zealand.

“Particularly in Australia where you can come across certain limited and discriminatory beliefs. It can be hard feeling separated from your people and your home.

“But also I feel really honoured to have that blood and to have that history as part of my experience and the way I move through the world. So I feel blessed. I can’t wait to get back in touch a little bit more with my culture.”

'Molotov' is from the Kira Puru EP which is her first solo release and is a complete departure from her last band The Bruise, which played blues, soul and rock and roll. Kira Puru is a foray in intoe land of perfectly crafted pop.

“I spent a lot of time in the band touring lots and working pretty hard to get my music out there, and it just didn’t come as quickly or as completely as I envisioned. I felt a little frustrated.

“Which I think is a pretty universal thing for a lot of professional musicians, so I actually moved to Melbourne to give up music and maybe become an accountant or something, but that didn’t work out.”

Listen to Kira Puru on Souncloud.


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