Kiya Heartwood ’10 came to Converse as a Converse II student, having already earned a BA in Creative Writing from U Kentucky and an MA in Cultural Studies at Northfield in Vermont. She’d spent many years as a singer-songwriter—both as a soloist and in a variety of groups—and wanted to hone her composition chops. While earning her BA in Music she worked closely in mentoring relationships with Drs. David Berry and Scott Robbins, along with taking classes to strengthen her skills in orchestration and broaden her musical abilities. Of her time at Converse she says:
“My Converse education was an incredible experience. I loved the people. I can’t imagine a better educational value than Converse.”
Kiya’s senior project was a musical designed specifically for young singers, Lying to the Sea Gypsy, and tells the story of a young would-be pirate. It was performed by Converse Opera Theatre and Spartanburg Repertory Company as part of Converse’s Creative Collaboration grant program.
Kiya was accepted into the Masters program in composition at Westminster Choir College. Her musical, Lying to the Sea Gypsy, was premiered in Philadelphia.She now lives in Austin, TX, where she’s a regular performer on the pop music circuit. She’s recently been touring her one-woman theater show Short Stories: True Song Tails from the American Edge, and will release her most recent CD, Palo Duro, in June 2015. Learn more about her at kiyaheartwood.com.