Kenia Arias

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Kenia Arias
Kenia Arias RAW LMNT MIA 2013.jpg
Kenia Arias performing live at LMNT in Miami's Wynwood Art District.
Background information
Birth name Kenia Arias
Born (1982-10-22) October 22, 1982 (age 31)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Origin Medford, New York, U.S.
Genres Pop, dance-pop, electropop
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, model, entrepreneur, author
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2009–present
Labels Tate Music Group
Website www.keniaarias.com

Kenia Arias (born October 22, 1982), often referred to simply as Kenia (/ˈkɛnjə/ KEN-ya; is an American film, stage, television actress, businesswoman and singer-songwriter. Her music is distributed by the independent record label Tate Music Group.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Kenia Arias was born in Río Piedras, a district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to hardworking Puerto Rican and Dominican immigrant parents Jaime Arias and Mercedes E. Hernandez. Three weeks later, Kenia found herself in Long Island, New York. A place she would call home for the next nineteen years of her life. Kenia started showing an interested in the performing arts, specifically singing, when she was four years old. Never one to pass up an opportunity to perform, Kenia was always ready to put on a show for whoever would be willing to listen. Kenia has been quoted as saying "I just felt an urgency to entertain; I wanted to put on a good show for people and make them feel happy".[2]

Kenia is the younger of two children. Her older brother Jimmy Arias is a Major in United States Armed Forces and was deployed for two years in the Middle East; an event that fueled and inspired Kenia’s subsequent songwriting. She also has three half siblings on her father’s side, two older brothers (Jaime and Jason Arias) and an older sister (Evelyn Arias Rogers) who died from cancer in 2002. (A death, that inspired Kenia to write a dedicated song years later). Kenia's first language is Spanish, she learned English when she was four and was bi-lingual by the age of five. Kenia embraces her Puerto Rican heritage and refers to herself as a "Boricua at heart". She enjoyed her childhood and her family weekends which were mostly spent in Manhattan. Kenia stated "I love being surrounded by different cultures, I enjoy hearing different languages, tasting different foods and embracing other cultures other than my own; it feels healthy".[2]

Kenia attended and graduated from Tremont Elementary [1], Oregon Middle School [2], Patchogue-Medford High School [3], Suffolk County Community College, Indian River State College, and Florida International University.

Influences[edit]

Kenia's sound is Pop driven with influences of Hip-Hop and bits of Reggae, a product of her upbringing of New York. Kenia started infusing her music with Rock, once she moved to Florida, where friends opened her ears to the rock world, which she immediately fell in love with.

The very first artist to inspire Kenia was Selena. Kenia emulated Selena's every move, performing daily in her living room, driveway or porch; which Kenia referred to as “her stage”. Other artists like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson, as well as Juan Luis Guerra, and Celia Cruz were also some of Kenia's early musical influences. Growing up in a Latino household, the rhythms of loud Salsa and Merengue music were a staple of Kenia's daily musical diet; a beautiful memory that she wishes to continue when she has her own family in the future.

Career[edit]

Kenia saw her first theatre production when she was in the first grade. While watching the production, Kenia wanted to be on the stage, but having grown up with a Learning disability made her reluctant to audition for anything - something that makes Kenia occasionally feel insecure to this day. At the age of twelve, Kenia started a girl-singing group called “The Lazers”. The group consisted of Kenia and two of her neighbors. She would also co-write scripts with her neighbor friends and go from door to door asking if anyone had used clothes she could use on loan for her productions. And after a few weeks of rehearsal Kenia would then put on her "No-Budget productions" for the neighborhood.[3]

At the age of fourteen, Kenia started modeling professionally and also began writing her own songs which, to this day, she still considers her "therapy". That same year she performed at The Mocasaba Resort in Puerto Rico, and Kenia realized she not only wanted to sing in English, but also in her native Spanish tongue. But most importantly Kenia realized that she could not see herself doing anything else in life besides entertaining on a stage.[3] The band who performed that day wanted Kenia to join their group, but she had to turn down the offer since Kenia resided in New York. Kenia's first on camera performance occurred after she went to an open casting for a nationwide dance show called Club Jam,[3] and was selected to be part of the cast of dancers. Kenia filmed ten shows and while performing on a stage in front of cameras, Kenia fully realized where she always knew she belonged.

Kenia Arias performing live at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Florida.

That same year Kenia shot her first commercial for students against drunk driving while also starting her process of recording demos and mailing them out to record labels. Kenia did collaborations with almost every rapper in her area and started doing mix-tapes.[2] Kenia also began making weekly trips to auditions with her mom (as well as by herself) into Manhattan via the Long Island Rail Road. She auditioned for any casting she qualified for, while also maintaining a full-time high school schedule (and later a full-time college schedule), on top of working a part-time job. She would rehearse her auditions on the train into the city, and do her homework (usually late at night) on the way back home. Kenia regards these times as "some of the most exciting and amazing years of my life, I felt like I was living two different lives in one day".[2]

When Kenia was 17, she started making her rounds at the MTV Studios, booking everything she auditioned for. Kenia became a MTV dancer for Direct Effect[4] and Hot Zone). During her time as an MTV dancer, Kenia received a call from one of the Casting directors and was asked to audition for a new show called VJ For A Day[5]. Kenia made the cut and was featured as a guest VJ on MTV.[3] Around this time Kenia started competing in several New York Pageants. She would go on to win the titles of Miss Teen Long Island,[4] Miss Teen Talent Of New York State, Best Personality and Prettiest Smile. Soon after, Kenia also started working as a model.

During that time, Kenia's parents encouraged her to enroll in college, which led Kenia wanting to attend Five Towns College for Vocal Performance". However, her father thought she should enroll in her local state college so she could find an alternate career (other than the entertainment industry) as a backup. Kenia felt she didn't need a backup because she was confident in her success. But realizing how important it was to her parents, Kenia conceded and enrolled. Kenia’s college career began with a rough start. Her focus was solely on her music and not her education - inevitably, her studies suffered.

Just as her career was off to a running start, Kenia’s parents told her they were going to move to Florida. A decision that, to this day, Kenia wishes had never been made. But once she arrived in Florida, Kenia swiftly found a local recording studio, a vocal school, local artist to collaborate with, and continued writing songs back to back which alleviated her depression. Shortly after enrolling at a local State College, Kenia told her parents she wanted to put her education on hold and move back to New York in order to pursue her music career. But her parents discouraged her and Kenia remained enrolled in Florida.[2]

Without any previous theater training, Kenia started auditioning for local theater and college productions and was once again cast in everything she auditioned for. Kenia remembers that time as scary "I really had no idea what I was doing, and I didn't want them to know I had no clue".[2] Some of her productions included Jesus Christ Superstar,[3] Medusa’s Tale and Strangers On A Train. Over the years Kenia continued to sing and grow as a performer, some of her performances include: The Puerto Rican Day Parade, Club New York,[3] Showtime at the Apollo,[3] as well as various street festivals and dance clubs in Florida.[5]

Persistence paid off, and in 2009 Kenia signed an indie recording contract with Tate Music Group. The following year, Kenia released her debut album entitled "Karma".[6] Immediately, Kenia started dance rehearsals for what was planned to be a mid-sized tour throughout Florida. But during tour rehearsals Kenia's father suffered a stroke, which left Kenia traumatized as well as hospitalized for a massive intestinal infection brought on by extreme stress. For several months, Kenia lapsed into depression and immersed herself in songwriting (and even gardening) to calm her nerves. But putting everything on hold worked against Kenia. Feeling incomplete, she made the decision to never let anything interrupt her career again, regardless of what the future holds.[2] Ever since then, Kenia has not stopped and her determination to succeed has only grown.

On December 25, 2012, Kenia released her first single apart from her label entitled "Animal Instinct". Kenia currently works as a professional singer, model and actor; and can be seen in Disney print campaigns and on several television commercials. Due to her full work schedule, Kenia currently resides in Miami, Port Saint Lucie, as well as Orlando, Florida.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
  • Karma (2010)
  • Unconscious (2013)
Singles
  • Animal Instinct (2012)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kenia Arias official biography @ www.tatemusicgroup.com - Biography
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Calero 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Maselli 2004.
  4. ^ News of Brookhaven 1999.
  5. ^ La Voz 2004.
  6. ^ Miami pop princess releases debut album with TMG

References[edit]

  • La Voz News, Latin Chamber of Commerce of the Treasure Coast (November 2004). "La Cámara de Comercio Latina de la Costa del Tesoro". La Voz del Treasure Coast (La Voz News) (04): 10. 
  • Maselli, Natasha (September 2004). "Local Soapbox: Kenia Arias". The Muse: Local and National Music News (Dreamsong Entertainment, Inc.) 1 (2): 12. 
  • News of Brookhaven, Pennysaver (May 1999). "Community News". Pennysaver News (News of Brookhaven, Inc.) 41 (18): 13. 
  • Calero, Ronald (November 2010). "INSTANT KARMA: Student releases R&B album". LIFE! (The Beacon) 21 (32): 9.