Grammy award-winning songwriter/producer Brian Kierulf has worked with 50 Cent, Britney Spears, Aaron Carter, Lady Gaga, and Australian superstar Rickie Lee, among many other household names, in his 14-year odyssey as one half of the production duo KNS (with Josh Schwartz). Now, he welcomes a creatively fertile time on his own, as an individual songwriter/producer collaborating across genres with a diverse cross section of co-writers and artists.
Kierulf is known for his multi-instrumental prowess, stylistic versatility, and comprehensive compositional skills. But, perhaps, his most powerful artistic attribute is his sensitivity and selflessness within creative collaborations. “I care more about making sure my work fits a certain artist or within a certain artistic context than establishing my own sound or forcing my fingerprint on someone else’s music,” the New York City-based songwriter/producer reveals.
Kierulf’s formative years as a jazz guitarist and hip-hop DJ, along with his New York sensibility, have made him a unique voice in the realm of pop songwriting. This foundation has enabled him to be successful and comfortable expanding his palette. Recently, Kierfulf’s been working in the Nashville scene. “I’ve never done that circuit before, but I thrive in those settings because I can blend in and make our differences complimentary,” he explains.
As a writer and producer, Kierulf offers a wide variety of creative assets including full tracks, beats, song concepts, lyrics, arrangement ideas, melodies, vocal melodies, and a variety of accomplished instrumental skills. He’s equally at home working in old school and new school songwriting sessions—he’s adept at crafting songs from tracks and equally at ease sitting down at the piano or with a guitar and writing organically.
Kierulf came up a jazz guitar prodigy, a hip-hop nightclub DJ, and an aspiring producer with the ear to fastidiously dissect the production on pop, R&B, hip-hop, rock, and metal records. He soon found the worlds of being an accomplished instrumentalist fortuitously merging with his emergence on the dance and house music scenes. His first session credit was an LL Cool J record, from there he went onto working on a 50 Cent record during 50’s Columbia years.
Kierulf’s big break came in the context of his production team, KNS, when the duo was welcomed into the exclusive platinum pop club of Jive Records and Zomba Publishing.
Soon, KNS found themselves in the studio with the likes of Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter for whom they produced two multiplatinum albums, and for Britney Spears with whom the pair has an impressive 10 cuts that span over 30 million albums worldwide. “Working with Britney was a really special time. We did everything from writing with her directly to taking a private jet with her,” Kierulf says. In 2010, KNS attended the Grammy’s and was awarded the “Best Electronic/Dance Album” for co-writing and producing “Summerboy” from Lady Gaga’s The Fame album. Most recently, KNS co-wrote “Do It Like That” with Australian superstar Ricki Lee—the track peaked at number 13 on the ARIA Singles Chart, number one on the ARIA Dance Chart, and at number seven on the Japanese Hot 100 single chart.
Fast-forward to today, Kierulf is building his profile as a songwriter/producer. He recently collaborated on the Janelle Kroll tracks “FVR” and “Outsider” as well as the Secret Weapons tracks “Power” and “Konichiwild,” and he’s currently enjoying exploring the vibrant songwriting/production scene in Nashville. “Music is more wide open than it’s ever been—nowadays you really explore, nothing is off limits,” he says enthusiastically. “Everything feels so fresh. It reminds me how lucky and blessed I am to wake up every morning and do this.”