Diana Vickers & Chiara Hunter on Sisterhood, Sex and Turning 30

Diana Vickers & Chiara Hunter on Sisterhood, Sex and Turning 30

Looking for the next Fleabag? Or a London-based SATC? Or simply for people to validate the fact that it’s OK to be 30, flirty, and a little bit messy? 

Well, look no further than Ki & Dee. The fabulous duo are made up of Diana Vickers, (Yes, that girl off the X Factor with smudged eyeliner and bird’s nest hair) and Chiara Hunter, enigmatic songwriter and BFF. 

These ladies have gathered a cult following through the art of friendship, silliness and song. From Jack Greilish to the sesh, their ballads are raw and hilarious - and nothing is off-topic. We sat down with them over a couple of drinks and caught up on all things songwriting, comedy, footballers and toxic relationships.

SM: So Ki & Dee originated in lockdown. Tell us more. Why did you start it? 

Dee: We had nought else to do and we are always making silly songs on the piano, ‘the beast’. My Dad used to do it a lot when I was younger, he would always make a little jingle, and I always used to find it hilarious, so we just did it when we moved in together round the house.

SM: What would you call Ki & D? A friendship, a union, a sisterhood? 

Dee: We’re just two best mates who sing and talk about real shit. 

Ki: Totally. I’ve known for years that our friendship group was fascinating. Just all the stories that we had from our dating lives especially, but also our professional lives, so this was our attempt to tell those stories. 

Dee: We realised that people just like to sing about real shit and then we just started singing about turning 30, and then we started singing about how shit my dating life is. And how many nervous breakdowns we have in a week. And people just really related! People would message us during lockdown, like “When are you going to post this song?”. We just became really dependent on certain things to get us through lockdown, didn’t we? The arts, they got us through, that’s the whole irony with how much they’ve suffered as well, because they’re what got us through!

"The arts, they got us through, that’s the whole irony with how much they’ve suffered as well, because they’re what got us through!"

SM: Obviously, the pandemic gave you a bit more space to create. How important do you think creativity and musical expression is in tough times?

Dee: For someone who does that, it was everything, wasn’t it? We were completely dependent on it. It gave us a reason to wake up and come downstairs in the morning.

Ki: Yeah, and also just the simple act of creating something. It didn’t have to be the cure for cancer but it’s still something to give the world. One example of it saving us is when we wrote 30, because we were both turning 30 and we were like…

Dee: Terrified. The world makes it feel terrifying, you know. It shouldn’t be. But it’s just this number that’s approaching and you think you’re gunna do all this shit by the time you’re 30. And we lost a year of our lives!

Ki: One of our hot years. 

Dee: I really think we should have gotten that taken off our ages. We should definitely all get an age taken off. I’m gonna take this to the courts.

"We all take ourselves too seriously, right. So we need our friends to remind us that we’re actually a bit ridiculous."

SM: The songs are undeniably hilarious. How important do you think general silliness and the ability to laugh at ourselves is, especially when times are tough? 

Ki: It’s rule number one, really. You can’t come into our house unless you can laugh at yourself. 

Dee: You can’t take yourself too seriously. God, we laugh. We just laugh. It’s just ripping each other, we just pull each other to shreds. And then you give it back. And it’s so nourishing. 

Ki: Because we all take ourselves too seriously, right. So we need our friends to remind us that we’re actually a bit ridiculous. 

SM: Female friendships are, in our opinion, some of the most important relationships out there. How has your friendship got you through thick and thin? 

Dee: Obviously, we stayed together during a pandemic, and we would just wake up everyday and be each other’s lifelines. You and my sister were the only two people that I saw for months and we’ve all saved each other. In that house, we’ve all been up and down. We allow each other to spiral and we sit and we listen. My most valuable trait in a friendship is just non-judgement. Sitting and listening without judgement. One of us has a nervous breakdown and acts absolutely mental, and then we wait a few days and then we’ll say a classic line from the argument, and laugh. 

Ki: I think Dee really healed me in terms of female friendships, because I had some really difficult ones in my early years. I got close to the wrong people, because I had no family in the UK, I would lay out the red carpet for anyone that would come into my life. And if you’re friends with enough toxic people, you start to become a bit traumatised. And then when I got really close to Dee, she showed me unconditional love. 

"My most valuable trait in a friendship is just non-judgement"

SM: We love the unabashed honesty around singledom and the sometimes not-so glamorous moments (like crying over an ex). How important do you think it is to be open and honest about female desire? 

Dee: I get quite nervous everytime we post a video because a lot of it is about my ex, and he now follows me on Instagram and he completely broke my heart. I also mentioned a band member that I once slept with and I get very anxious about that, and I’m thinking they’re gonna hate me, but it’s my life. 

Ki: I was so worried about my Dad because he watches it all and it’s quite full on for a Dad. But he loves it, he’s like “I’m so proud of you, you’re subverting the expectations of what men and women are allowed to say.” I got raised by a feminist, I love my Dad. 

Dee: It’s liberating. We did a live show recently and my Mum was there and I was talking about masturbating and having sex with people. We did a song about ‘Getting new dick every night’ and I was like, “Mum, it’s not every night” - and my friend turned to her and went, “it is.” 

"You need to cry. You need to be able to talk about your feelings and let people know and be aware."

SM: Your song, Self Abuse Tonight is also incredibly revealing about things we all do behind the scenes (like stalking our ex’s when we know it’s bad for us). How important is it to have a good cry?

Dee: You need to cry. You need to be able to talk about your feelings and let people know and be aware. I went through a really bad patch at the end of the year, and for a while I wasn’t really that vocal about what was going on with me - and I was embarrassed about how I felt and then I finally opened up to Chiara and my sister about it. And people are so understanding. You think that people won’t understand but just getting it off your chest is crucial. 

Ki: It also then gives permission for that person to be vulnerable with you, aswell. You have to find people that you’re able to be your lowest with, and also the highest with. I feel like those are the relationships that matter the most, that you can weather both extremities. 

You’re true advocates for singles everywhere. It’s been tough to be single during a pandemic so it’s refreshing to hear it being spoken about. In what ways do you think singledom has been tough in the past few years?

Dee: Not being able to legally see anyone, that’s not been great. 

Ki: I mean, you went on a date in the snow. You got sushi in the snow!

Dee: Getting out there was hard, but I think it gave more people more of a, “Let’s just go and have fun” mindset. I do think it opened me up to being a bit more spontaneous, not just like the next person I meet has to be ‘the one’, because you do realise that life is too short. 

The scene of you telling everyone about your break up on New Years Eve is so relatable, Diana. Have you got any tips for getting over a break up? 

Dee: The one tip I would give someone is, do not pine over what they are doing. Don’t focus on them, focus on you. Go and find your friends who have been heartbroken and have a bloody wine with them because it’ll make you feel so much better because you’ll realise it’s a universal feeling. 

Ki: My friend is going through a bad breakup right now and her therapist gave her the best advice. Distraction is the only thing you can do. Don’t overthink it. Don’t ‘existentialize’ it. Just be with people that will make you happy and friends that will listen to you say the same thing, over and over again. Kind, patient friends who have been there. 

"That maybe the guy that is in love with you that you didn’t entertain because you’ve cried over a fuckboy, maybe give him a conversation."

What dating tips would you give to your younger self? 

Dee: The best thing Jim Carey ever said is to always masturbate before you go on a date, so you don’t end up falling in love with the wrong person. It’s so you don’t just end up thinking that they’re this person that can give you everything, but actually you’re just really, really horny. 

Ki: Mine would be that you don’t have to fall in love with everyone who falls in love with you. You actually have a choice in the matter. I’m just a connection whore, I’ve definitely made the mistake of not being selective enough in terms of who I let into my life, because I’ve just been so desperate to feel something. I’ve gone down so many wormholes and I can’t determine, always, which ones are the best ones. 

Dee: My one would also be that maybe the guy that is in love with you that you didn’t entertain because you’ve cried over a fuckboy, maybe give him a conversation.

Which has been your most popular song? 

Dee: Cuban Heels, because it’s the best song! Clip clop!

Ki: We’ve had people come up to us and be like, ‘You’re clip clop.’

Dee: I think that was a universal thing about when you’re having a bad date and someone walks in and it’s ‘the ick’. It was about ‘the ick’. 

What are each of your favourite songs? 

Dee: Definitely ‘self-abuse’ because it’s really sexy and we do a little dance with it on stage, and I find it great that we can laugh at our torture - that’s always a great thing. Also cuban heels, because it’s such a story, it’s an arc. 

Ki: That’s where we developed our call and answer dynamic too. Because most of the stories are about Diana’s love life and I sort of play the role of like, ‘Hmm, tell me more.’ I love that aspect of it, that we can play off each other. 

Your play at the Turbine Theatre, rounding up all your songs, was absolutely fabulous. How was working on that for you and what challenges did it bring beyond the videos themselves? 

Ki: It was so cool how it developed every night. By the 4th night, we started to really nail the stories and play off each other and it made me really excited because I was like - this can grow. 

Dee: What I love, as an actor doing theatre, is the live aspect. The audience are the 3rd part of the show, hearing their response and seeing girls who knew all the lyrics. It was just great.

What’s next for Ki & Dee? 

Dee: Our podcast is next. So excited, we have some really amazing guests. 

Ki: And we’ve already written songs about the guests so they get to take away their own little jingle. We got Pete Wicks, cos he is the OG cuban heel man, so I wanna know how high is too high, how many do you have?? Etc.

Dee: We’re also gonna tour the north and we really wanna go to Edinburgh Fringe!

Ki: To me, it’s so exciting because when we did the shows, there was a demographic of women, especially women. I wanna be there for all the women out there who maybe feel liberated by some of our songs, and sing along and don’t feel so bad about dating disasters and their vulnerable moments. To me, that’s sick. I love that we’re making people like us happy. 

SM: That is sick. We can’t wait to hear the podcast! Thank you so much. 

You can follow all of Ki & Dee’s antics on the gram @kianddee and check out their podcast here.
Part stand-up comedy, part mental breakdown, Ki & Dee: The Podcast will be anything but boring.
Written by @amberroberts6

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