Kimya Dawson

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Kimya Dawson
Kimya Dawson HOH Fest 2010.JPG
Kimya Dawson at the Harvest of Hope Festival in St. Augustine, FL in 2010.
Background information
Birth name Kimya Malaika El Camino Erniebert Dawson
Born (1972-11-17) November 17, 1972 (age 42)
Bedford Hills, New York, U.S.
Genres Folk punk
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Labels K Records
Associated acts Moldy Peaches, Aesop Rock, The Uncluded
Notable instruments
guitar, vocals

Kimya Dawson (born November 17, 1972) is an American singer-songwriter, best known as a solo performer and as one half of The Moldy Peaches. In Swahili, "Kimya" (كيميا) means "silence"[1] or "silent".


Dawson became well known as Adam Green's counterpart in The Moldy Peaches.[2] Since the Moldy Peaches went on hiatus in 2004 Dawson has released a string of lo-fi homemade albums and toured widely in North America and Europe.

Kimya's most recent album is "Thunder Thighs", released in October 2011. It contains collaborations with Aesop Rock on songs such as "The Library" and "Walk Like Thunder" and Pablo Das on "Unrefined".

Dawson's children's album, Alphabutt, was released on September 10, 2008. Song titles include "The Alphabutt Song," "Seven Hungry Tigers," "Little Monster Babies," "Wiggle My Tooth" and "Pee Pee in the Potty," and collaborators include former Third Eye Blind guitarist Kevin Cadogan and a number of Dawson's other musical friends and their children. She has also been invited to participate in the Sesame Street television program.[3]

In September 2012, she appeared in a campaign called "30 Songs / 30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book.[4]

Soundtrack work[edit]

Dawson's songs are featured in the films The Guatemalan Handshake and Glue, both of which were shown at the Olympia Film Festival in November 2007.[5]

In 2008 Dawson contributed the song "Anthrax"—about 9/11—to the soundtrack of the Body of War documentary.[3]

"Anyone Else But You", a song she recorded with The Moldy Peaches, was used in the documentary Murderball, about a team of wheelchair rugby players. This song was also used in the movie Juno. The melody of this song, with new lyrics, was used in a commercial for

Dawson's music was featured in the movie Juno, in that her "sweetly melancholic acoustic-strummed tunes" helping define the character of a pregnant young teenager who decides to have her baby.[6] Dawson helped choose many of the songs for the Juno film, helping to set the film's mood.[6] The soundtrack was voted by NPR listeners as the 14th best of the year in a listener poll for 2008.[7] Dawson sings about diverse topics:

And there on the soundtrack ... is Kimya Dawson, her primal, primitive odes to tire swings and vampires and roller coasters goosing us along, her wobbly voice and furtively chicken-scratched double-time guitar like a terrified little kid who just ditched the training wheels and is now somehow barreling down a mountain.

—Rob Harvilla, The Village Voice, 2008[8]

Dawson's authentic persona has a demeanor which is "sheepish and guileless and awkward in a way that you really can't fake" and who sometimes looks "legitimately terrified" during performances, according to Village Voice music critic Rob Harvilla.[8]

Five of Dawson's solo songs, two from Antsy Pants, as well as one from the Moldy Peaches, are included on the Juno soundtrack, released in December 2007.[9][10][11] Composer Mateo Messina also based the film's score on Dawson's music.[12]

The soundtrack album, after two weeks topping Billboard's Digital Albums chart, reached No. 8 on the Billboard 200, in its first week of release.[13] In its first full week of physical release the album sold 68,000 copies, reaching No. 3 on the Soundscan album chart. It missed out on the No. 1 spot by only 2,600 copies.[14] The following week it jumped to #2, while selling 15% fewer copies (58,000), just 2,000 copies behind first place.[15] In the album's third week of physical release it finally made the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 and Soundscan charts, selling 65,000 copies.[16]

Dawson has two new songs that were released on April 8 on a follow-up album Juno B-Sides: Almost Adopted Songs that is available exclusively on iTunes.[3]

Two songs were also included in the soundtrack to Unmade Beds.

Other collaborations[edit]

Kimya Dawson with Paul Baribeau in June 2014. The pair are wearing matching socks with a design similar to many of Dawson's album covers, featuring the phrase "Kimya Dawson Loves Me" appearing amongst cartoon rabbits.

Dawson performs on recordings by Ben Kweller,[17] They Might Be Giants,[18] The Mountain Goats,[19] John Wayne Shot Me,[20] Your Heart Breaks, and The Terrordactyls.[21]

The Third Eye Blind track "Self-Righteous" on their album, Out of the Vein features a duet with Dawson and Third Eye Blind's lead singer Stephan Jenkins.[22] Dawson also appears on the new Third Eye Blind record, Ursa Major, on the track "Why Can't You Be". This song was available as a bonus track on the iTunes Store download.

Regina Spektor collaborated with Dawson on the song "Fire" on the Hidden Vagenda album. Kimya Dawson also collaborated with fellow antifolk Jeffrey Lewis. They made a band called 'The Bundles,' with Jack Lewis and drummer, Anders Griffen, though released the songs under the name Kimya Dawson and Jeffrey Lewis, on a split with Jeffrey Lewis and Diane Cluck.

Under the name Geniusis, Dawson released the free album Holiday Rampage alongside Aesop Rock, Johnny Druelinger, Jason Carmer & Quinn Tuffinuff.

In February 2011, Dawson recorded a Daytrotter session with Aesop Rock, in which they performed three songs together. This session was later released in May 2011.[23] Kimya and Aesop are currently collaborating on a new album, which will be released in 2012.

Kimya released the solo album "Thunder Thighs" in October 2011. The album features guest performances by Aesop Rock, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, Nikolai Fraiture of the Strokes, Forever Young Senior Citizen Rock & Roll Choir, Olympia Free Choir, Quinn Tuffinuff, Bryan Danielson, Kimya's daughter Panda and more.

She has performed numerous times with Paul Baribeau, whom she references several times in her songs.

Dawson played An Evening of Awesome at Carnegie Hall with John Green and Hank Green on January 15, 2013.[24]

On February 11, 2013, Dawson released her first music video as The Uncluded on YouTube, a group featuring Aesop Rock and herself. The single is titled Earthquake. Their debut album Hokey Fright is set to be released on May 7, 2013.[25] The video for their third single "Delicate Cycle" has a cameo of Lil Bub.[26]

Personal life[edit]

A sometime resident of Bedford Hills, New York, Dawson moved in December 2005—with her mother, father, brother, Akida Junglefoot Dawson (Akida means "chief" in Swahili), and nephew—to Seattle, Washington. In 2006, she married musician Angelo Spencer. On July 28, 2006, Kimya gave birth to a daughter, Panda Delilah, and in November 2006 she moved with her new family to Olympia, Washington. After Panda was born, Dawson and Spencer took a break from touring for a few months, playing only occasional local shows. Dawson and Spencer have since separated.

Dawson has knuckle tattoos which read "LAFF LOUD" and "ROCK SOFT". She also has a freebird tattoo on her left calf.

Dawson once inadvertently started a rumour that she was a cousin of The Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti.[27]

Dawson is good friends with WWE wrestler Bryan Danielson (aka Daniel Bryan).


Before The Moldy Peaches' Rough Trade releases there were several homemade CDRs.

With The Moldy Peaches[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

With Antsy Pants[edit]

With The Bundles[edit]

With The Uncluded[edit]

  • Hokey Fright – released 5/7/2013 by Rhymesayers Entertainment



  1. ^ Mtembezi, Chumvi (November 27, 2008). "Swahili Stars". Retrieved November 27, 2008. 
  2. ^ The Moldy Peaches
  3. ^ a b c Graff, Gary (April 2, 2008). "Singer extends Juno buzz with kids album". Reuters/Billboard. Retrieved April 5, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Half the Sky". 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  5. ^ Gilmore, Molly (December 20, 2007). "From K Records to the silver screen". The Olympian. Retrieved December 20, 2007. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b Todd Martens (December 20, 2007). "The quirks in 'Juno's' score ... with audio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 1, 2011. ...“Juno’s” heavy reliance on pop music, noticeably the sweetly melancholic acoustic-strummed tunes of singer/songwriter Kimya Dawson, ... it seems like your score really plays off Dawson’s work. 
  7. ^ All Songs Considered (December 19, 2008). "NPR Listeners Pick The Best Music Of 2008". National Public Radio. Retrieved July 7, 2011. 14. Kimya Dawson and Antsy Pants ... Dawson's quirky, childlike songwriting turned out to be the perfect complement for the film's playful tone. 
  8. ^ a b Rob Harvilla (Jan 8, 2008). "The Pillow Fight of Her Life". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 7, 2011. nd there on the soundtrack, bobbing and weaving amid the obligatory "indie" blockbuster tunes (Belle & Sebastian, the Kinks), is Kimya Dawson... 
  9. ^ Sciretta, Peter (September 11, 2007). "Juno Movie Soundtrack". /film. Retrieved November 10, 2007. 
  10. ^ Breznican, Anthony (October 31, 2007). "More films are using one artist for music". USA Today. Retrieved November 10, 2007. 
  11. ^ Ellen Page Talks Juno Soundtrack, Kimya Dawson Pitchfork Media November 21, 2007.
  12. ^ Martens, Todd (December 18, 2007). "The quirks in Juno's score ... with audio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 19, 2007. 
  13. ^ Hasty, Katie (January 11, 2008). ""Juno" soundtrack a boost for little-known singer". Billboard. Retrieved January 16, 2008. 
  14. ^ Gallo, Phil (January 16, 2008). "Keys returns to top of music charts". Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Keys tops U.S. pop chart as overall sales slide". Reuters. January 23, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2008. 
  16. ^ Hasty, Katie (January 30, 2008). "Juno Unseats Keys From Atop Album Chart". Billboard. Retrieved February 1, 2008. 
  17. ^ Sha Sha: Music: Ben Kweller, Daniel Johnston
  18. ^ Bed, Bed, Bed (They Might Be Giants): Books: They Might Be Giants
  19. ^ K O M A K I N O <img src=kklogo_kl.gif> – kimya dawson
  20. ^ K Artists
  21. ^ "The Terrordactyls: 'Devices'". NPR Music. January 18, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2008. 
  22. ^ | Bio
  23. ^ | Kimya Dawson & Aesop Rock: Daytrotter Session Recorded May 26, 2011
  24. ^ "An Evening of Awesome at Carnegie Hall". YouTube. 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  25. ^ "Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson Form Band the Uncluded, Announce Album, Share Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  26. ^ "The Uncluded - Delicate Cycle". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  27. ^ Dawson’s Crack (Interview w/Kimya Dawson) «
  28. ^ Blade Barringer. "Tallahassee Turns Ten Kickstarter Campaign". Retrieved January 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Audio & video[edit]