Mom Muse | Kira Brown
Kira Brown follows her passions. From being the lead singer in up-and-coming country band Honeygirl to creating FashionPhoenix.com, Kira is an inspiration to moms everywhere for embracing your dreams and going after them full force, even if they scare you. After all, how many of us at some point in our lives thought it would be amazing to be on stage in some form, but didn’t pursue it?? Performing in front of a live audience takes guts! Kira is also a single mom to 7-year-old Weston, who shares his mom’s creative and independent spirit, and the two live in the Arcadia area of Phoenix.
A native of Arizona, Kira was born in Chandler and raised on a small farm in the East Valley. She graduated from Arizona State University, and thus is a Sun Devil fan. In addition to her musical talents, Kira is an expert in the field of marketing and her “day job” involves working with lifestyle companies, ranging from developers and home builders to interior designers.
In her spare time, Kira loves to entertain and simply spend time with her son. Other things that bring her joy in life include mid-century and modern architecture and design, fashion, Paris, and music of course, as well as indulgences like sea salt chocolate and champagne. Yum… A toast to our latest Mom Muse!
Photo Credit: Cameren Photography
Kira and Scotty. Photo Credit: Amy Sugar
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
Modern, minimal, quality, fitting, classic.
MSL: How did you get your start as a singer and performer?
I kept my desire to sing a secret for over 20 years. When I was in my 20s, I started taking singing lessons because I just wanted to sing and was pretty shy. Looking back, I really started singing to build confidence. Learning to sing and use my voice has helped me so much — as a professional, as a mother and, of course, while singing on stage! I’m so proud that I started my first band in my thirties as a single mother. I did commercials previously and would love to do that again, so I have had a little experience performing. I love communicating and speaking in front of people, which is odd now, since when I was younger, I was petrified of public speaking and fairly shy as I mentioned. I still can get pretty nervous before I sing, but it’s getting better. Rather than say I’m scared now, I’d say I’m excited. That shy girl I used to be, I barely know her. Being shy and not speaking my mind and holding back good ideas and not creating opportunities, didn’t serve me when I was young and doesn’t serve or inspire anyone now. I’m so proud that my songs have created an opportunity for our band to perform original music and do what we love. If I was still that shy little thing, I would be at home regretting not doing it right now.
MSL: How did Honeygirl come about and what’s next for the group?
I had never been in a band before and when I met Scotty Johnson, guitarist for the Gin Blossoms, a few years ago, he encouraged me to write songs. This naturally evolved into our desire to start a band so we could sing them. Before Honeygirl, I was so shy and quiet and often would allow myself to be a doormat. With music I have found my own voice, which now, I get to use for singing, expressing myself and entertaining others. We’ve now played at so many great corporate gigs, fun festivals and popular hangouts – I love it! Now, we’re working on recording demos of our originals, which is the most difficult experience for me — hearing myself!
I am actively refining my voice and song direction and finding what will work for Honeygirl over the long-term. I’m going to the next level in my life overall and I think Honeygirl is too. For Honeygirl, I want us to be an inspiration and a movement for others to develop their voices. I’m not sure exactly what that means yet — it could be as simple as people singing along to a song I wrote that they like or it could be more. Regardless, it’s unfolding.
It’s so rewarding when women of all ages comment on how I’m following my dream and I have received some lovely compliments and encouragements to keep going. It’s obviously not because I won a Grammy, but just because I’m living my dream. It took me years to work through the fear and self-doubt to start Honeygirl. And, I had to actually experience heartbreak for some writing inspiration. Regardless of where or how or if Honeygirl grows, I’m so proud of myself for just not giving up, seizing the opportunity, working so hard and for creating beautiful songs. I’ve learned you can’t judge how dreams unfold or how they show up. For me, it’s senseless to downplay my success because we’re not playing for thousands. Honeygirl is amazing to me – we have the most committed group of talented musicians, great original songs that are improving all the time, and mostly, we have a lot of potential.
The dynamic songwriting duo, Scotty and Kira.
Honeygirl getting ready to perform.
MSL: What do you love best about being part of the group?
I love writing songs with Scotty. I write the lyrics, he writes the music and I love the “ah-ha” moments when his riffs and rhythms make my vision a reality. Kudos to Scotty for being such a patient and amazing musician to take what’s in my head with little direction and make it awesome. Singing is tough… I likened it recently to golf. It’s the perfect blend of force and relaxation — and then it works. I’m still learning and I still take lessons to improve my voice. I have to in order to improve the band and keep up with our rockstar guitarists. For me, if anything is off slightly — I’m tired, stressed, etc. — it can be a tough night, but luckily it’s not just me up there. Songwriting, which by the way it never occurred to me to do even though I am a professional writer, is so fun, creative and expressive. I don’t write music (maybe subconsciously on purpose) so I don’t ever have to create and write alone. It’s just fun writing songs and creating together — I wish I had more time for it.
Of course, the best part is when we rock a Honeygirl song on stage and people cheer or dance. The band in general has fun at all times in such an authentic, encouraging and humble way. We are getting ready for our first Honeygirl Family Dinner, a night to jam together and for me to show some appreciation for the amazing local musicians that I am blessed to share space and talent with. There are no egos in our band, except for mine, and it’s plenty! Ha ha
Photo Credit: Cameren Photography
MSL: Is your on-stage style different from your everyday style?
My shoes are! I’m a mom with a full-time job, a fashion website and blog, plus volunteer and professional commitments, so when I shop I have to pick pieces that can do double-duty and go day-to-evening, shop-to-rock. This year I’m planning to step up my stage wear. I admit, I’ve been shy to look like a country star, and my hair stylist, Michelle Keoghan, is ready to give me some hefty blonde “country star” extensions. I think extensions would be fun and would give me more country-singer street cred. But I have yet to decide if that will work by day. The biggest difference right now is my shoes. There are a few pairs of shoes I’ve worn on stage that I wouldn’t wear to the office, but I love them and they make me feel hot and rocker chic. It’s all about the shoes, really. You may not like my music, but don’t mock the shoes.
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without, that makes you feel both chic and comfortable?
My cheetah Manolo Blahnik heels. They work with jeans or an LBD and they would have worked last year on the field while coaching my son’s soccer team. They are amazing. Most importantly, however, if I didn’t have them, I’d still live.
MSL: Whose style do you most admire and draw inspiration from?
I love to play dress up and usually find inspiration easily in my fashion and home design. I admire Audrey Hepburn, Michael Kors models, Carrie Underwood, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luxe Interiors and mid-century modernists. In high school, I wore a dress everyday and was inspired by Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy.
MSL: Do you have any tips on how you streamline your morning routine?
No, I need some! My life is morning by morning. As a hyper-creative/sensitive person raising a hyper-creative/sensitive person, every morning is a new challenge – his socks don’t feel right, his milk is too cold, I need to stop packing lunch to write a lyric or a new idea down, etc. It’s a new challenge every morning just to get out the door, I kid you not. I’ve try to be regimented and get clothes ready early and pack lunch and take showers the night before, so there’s the intention of a method to the madness. But with too much structure, my son and I can’t create or flow. Too little, we can’t focus or execute. So I’m always trying to find a balance to get through, especially as the day starts. At the same time, I love mornings and the craziness. I’m often painting my nails at the bus stop, but at least we don’t miss it!
Kira and Weston. Photo Credit: Jessamyn Turgesen
MSL: Developing a unique style comes at an early age for some children. Do you let your son choose what he’s going to wear? Does he have a certain style he gravitates to?
He’s in charge. He loves crazy socks like Scotty, sweatpants (which drives me crazy) like his grandpa, t-shirts like his pop-pop and awesome shoes like his dad. His dad is very fashion-focused as am I, so my son is taking notice. He’s hilarious and an unbelievably sweet kid who loves a mohawk and heavy rock music, so we’ll see where his style goes.
MSL: What’s your best style advice for other moms out there?
Hire a stylist and find your body type and best style. Fit is the most under-utilized style rule in looking finished and complete, as told to me by my fashion hero Tim Gunn, personally. Taking the time to learn what fits me, both body shape-wise and style-wise, has really helped me to look and feel great without a lot of effort. Plus, it saves me money and time in the long run. Also, learning what my main style is has helped me figure out my go-to designers for quick shopping. Lastly, I love renttherunway.com. If you’re between sizes, need to save for college funds or just need a fashion pick-me-up, rent something luxurious for a weekend and rock it.
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