In 2020, Kiana Ledé debuted her album KIKI, an honest, vulnerable 17-track dissertation on love and heartbreak that details every stage of dating. Since her debut, the singer-songwriter has been working on honing her writing and her mental health. “I really sat with myself and realized who and what I needed in my life and what was necessary and what wasn’t,” she tells Apple Music. “I did a lot of refreshing and starting over. I gave myself the permission and the freedom, rather than waiting for someone else to give it to me, to take control of my own life.” On her sophomore LP, Grudges, the singer-songwriter details her feelings after experiencing a breakup and takes listeners through every stage of her emotions, from bitterness (“Bitter Bitch,” “Same Type”), anger (“LMK”), and regret (“Too Far”) to finding peace (“Closure”). “I’m not going through these same moments right now, and I’m still bitter as fuck with a lot of this shit,” she says. “I swear that I’m over you, but not the shit that you put me through. That is the general theme of the entire album.” Throughout each song on Grudges, Ledé is heartfelt, vulnerable, and self-reflective, knowing that to move forward, she must release the pain and resentment from her past—even though it’s still a work in progress. “Say to your face/You caused me pain/Tried to move on/But I do it wrong/Carry the weight/They say I’m strong/But it’s gon’ weigh on,” she croons on the title track. She finds respite on the track “Deserve,” which she wrote about the person who sexually assaulted her. “It really felt like something that I needed to get off my chest,” she says. “I’m very open about mental health, sexual assault, but this was something that was a lot deeper than what I usually talk about. I really wanted to tap into that part of me that was strong enough to sing it. That was a lot for me to write, but I loved it because it also helped me process and it helped me get a lot of aggression out.” Grudges is a progression of Ledé’s releasing her negative emotions towards her entanglements with love. Instead of holding on, she finds the strength to face herself and take the necessary steps to let go.

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