LADY MISS KIER makes a huge impression, whether it was from first seeing her dance in the music video to Deee-Lite's 1990 hit "Groove Is in the Heart," on the cover of Vogue as a style icon of the '90s, or at one of her DJ gigs in the 20 years since her band broke up in 1996. Thanks to her audacious psychedelic go-go girl aesthetic and warm disco-diva voice, her work is beloved by party people the world over.
Don't know Lady Miss Kier yet? Google MTV's Rock the Vote clip from 1992 where Deee-Lite performs "Vote, Baby, Vote" from their socially conscious album Infinity Within. It'll be the best 35 seconds of your life, especially if the following words have ever resonated with you: Julie Newmar, Ann-Margret, Parker Posey in Party Girl, mod, or house music. From her early days as a fashion design student with a love of Emilio Pucci catsuits to writing Deee-Lite-ful wonders like the great debut album World Clique to their even better final record Dewdrops in the Garden, she has been an eternal spring of positivity, optimism, and social justice. So let's talk with Lady Miss Kier, or Kier Kirby to her friends. She was enjoying a beautiful day in New York when I called.
"Most of my gigs are word of mouth," she says. "I kinda go back and forth between doing live shows with new music and then DJ gigs. I decided to take a year off from doing live shows and slow down my pace a bit and just do DJ gigs right now.
"I really do a mixture—half new music and half old music—and I try to mix them together so you don't really know what's old or new. In some sense, I kinda feel like a music historian," Kier continues. "Sorry, I'm interviewing you now. How did you get into dance music? Did your parents have records? A rave?" She's just as curious as I've always imagined.
"Maybe that's why DJs are more popular now, because it's their job to go through all the crap, rubbish, to find what's consistently good. You can easily be sucked into a vortex of finding music. If you turn to certain DJs, they already went through thousands of tracks."
I told Kier that "Vote, Baby, Vote" has been stuck in my head this entire election season. "That's funny because when I wrote that... to get people interested in voting so they could vote George Bush out, it was not an endorsement for the Clintons but I was endorsing them. Once they got in, their policies quickly turned me to being more skeptical. Which is why I'm supporting Bernie, 'cause I have followed the Clintons from the very beginning," she explains. "I'm a huge Bernie fan. He's brought a lot of hope. The movement brings a lot of hope." Our interview happened weeks ago, so I'm bummed I don't get to ask her how her hope is holding up.
I also couldn't ask her about the mass shooting in Orlando that left 50 people dead at a gay nightclub last weekend. The tragedy happened in a place very much like where Kier spends her time, DJing to crowds of adoring gay audiences. So this Saturday, when she'll be enveloped by sweaty dancers reveling in Portland Pride and mourning the people who were senselessly gunned down in Florida, let Lady Miss Kier play you her message of positivity.
Kier reportedly said this during Deee-Lite's heyday, and it seems especially apt now. "We want to strengthen their spirit on the dance floor so they can diffuse the dissatisfaction from daily global destruction." These days, she promises, "We're going to go all night. Bring the most comfortable shoes you've got." I for one want to dance away this terrible sadness with her as my guide.