Kiely recalls his first meeting with Stewart, stating, “My first memory of Dave was when I turned up at his studio in London to do a session with Sinead O’Connor and Terry Hall. I was wearing this black leather jacket and was sort of just wandering around the control room waiting for the session to start, when I turned and saw Dave with his hand in my Jacket pocket with a big smile on his face. It was just his way of saying hello, and having a bit of fun. The session went really well. It was at Dave and Annie’s studio, a huge old converted Church in London. It was a great time for me, I was beginning to work with some very successful Artists.” Kieran would work with Stewart as a producer on O’ Connor’s Faith and Courage record and other recordings, including 2014’s 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault by Stevie Nicks (solo artist, Fleetwood Mac). Stewart describes his affinity for Kieran’s playing as he states, “Kieran is a killer instrumentalist and not only a has wonderful sense of melody and rhythm but he also has a total grasp on complex arrangements for any instrumentation. Through having masses of experience he has an understanding and knowledge of so many different musical genres that is so hard to find amongst many current musicians. His work with me on my solo albums and my production work on artists such as Stevie Nicks or Martina McBride has always been done with a huge enthusiasm for his love of music achieving excellent results. Basically he is one amongst very few who can create so many different sounds; he is like a one-man orchestra!” Playing with artist like Sinead O’ Connor, Bono, etc. would be an ego pat for anyone but, having an iconic musician and producer such as Stewart become so smitten with your playing that he enlists you to be a part of his own recordings and touring…that’s an achievement that very few people can boast about.
When Dave Stewart asked Kiely to record on the sessions for the Lucky Numbers album, Kieran had no idea how different the sessions would be. Stewart is not only creative in his music but also in his approach to capturing and creating it. For Lucky Numbers, Dave wanted to record in a very unique situation and place himself and the session artists in a distinct state of mind and experience. The band (consisting of Stewart, Kiely, and a collection of Nashville session aces) to record on a boat in the South Pacific over a period of twelve days. Stewart seemed to be desirous of placing the musicians in a state of mind that would affect their playing and sensibilities toward the music of this record. Regardless of intent, all those involved stated that working with Stewart and being in this environment definitely created a harmonious vibe. Kieran proclaims, “It was a pretty easy going atmosphere. More like a vacation with some recording on the side. Dave would present a song to us in the morning, we would listen to it once or twice and then record it, all playing together live… two or three takes max and we were done. After that, we’d take a break and have a long lunch, followed by the same thing in the afternoon; record another song and then maybe take a boat trip to one of the islands, have a swim, and back to the yacht for Dinner. It was one of those situations when you realize, it just doesn’t get any better than this.” This pace insured that there was no way to over think the parts by the musicians. Dave even wrote some of the songs while on the trip, guaranteeing that he played by the same rules as everyone else. Everything was recorded live over ten days (no over dubs except for guitar), with Stewart giving very little direction or stipulations concerning parts. He had hired Kiely, like all of the musicians involved, to create in their own voice and with the emotions that they were feeling at the time. This meant that there was also no pre-production for Lucky Numbers. The record truly was an artistic experiment to see what these talented artists could create at one specific moment in one specific place.
Kiely admits that he loves the creative space which the studio affords, but he can often miss the stage and a live audience if denied them for too long. Touring with Dave Stewart in support of Lucky Numbers was as enjoyable a situation as the sessions had been. Kiely’s abilities as a multi-instrumentalist brings many strengths to any gig that he is on. Stewart made great use of this, employing Kieran to perform on Hammond Organ, Accordion, Flutes, and Bodhran. The tour consisted of songs from Dave’s classic category (such as “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurhythmics, etc.) as well as the new songs that Kieran had been a part of creating. Due to Dave’s long career and respect among his peers, many guests came out to the shows to “sit in” and play with the band. Kiely notes, “John Mayer got up and played at the Troubadour in Hollywood with us. That was a great night. He’s a talented guy. He played some great guitar that night. Vanessa Amorosi is an incredible Australian singer that guested with us several times. We also shared the stage with Martina McBride, Delta Goodrem, Orianthi, Thomas Lindsey, and Colbie Callait. So many amazing artists would come out to see us and play. It was truly an un expected bonus to playing in Dave’s band.”
While Kieran Kiely still performs live, the focus of his work these days is on composing and orchestrating for film. He lives in Los Angeles, a musical hub of music and film…perfect for the talents and pedigree of such a lauded musician.