Starlight Mikka – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
SM: I’m a restless artist. I know the question is regarding visual, musical or written art, but I can’t fall into one category. I like to let art lead me and not the other way around. If I feel like the best way to express myself is visually, I’ll use photography and modeling to do it. If music is the path, then I’ll work on a song. I’m constantly writing, all day every day, and hopefully I’ll get to publish my stories soon. Just your typical gemini trying to work out my inner feelings through arts.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
SM: I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’m the youngest of three children by 11 and 10 years, which means I was spoiled rotten. My parents were artists, both involved with theatre, and my mom worked for the circus, so as you can imagine, I lived a pretty creative lifestyle as a child. My siblings always supported my artistic endeavors. We grew up to love music – my dad worked in a big research project in which he would research everything about Brazilian Popular Music’s origin. I was so inspired by the amount of unique songs only he knew, and being in that environment has directly contributed with me being so addicted to music. As I grew older, I became a huge fan of punk rock and learned how to poorly play the bass. I had a couple bands while I still lived in Brazil, but ended my career at the age 17. Who knew I’d be back, and releasing music? Life is crazy. I believe when you’re born to be an artist, you just have to live your truth. I’m so much happier now that I don’t deny my identity anymore, because for many years I tried to find myself in some comfortable box, and I was really unhappy that way.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
SM: I have so many influences, but I’d say Kurt Cobain, M.I.A, 2NE1 and Linkin Park. I also believe anime has inspired me a lot, shows like Sailor Moon and NANA. Literature also constantly contributes with my craft. For example, I wrote a song recently about Nagini, from Harry Potter. Anything and everything can be inspiring, but the thing that inspired me more than anything is my family – for good or bad haha.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
SM: My biggest dream is that everyone has access to universal healthcare and food. I think I’d think less about money if I knew these things were covered, and I would just make more art. My other big dream is to travel the world and get to know as many cultures as I can. I also dream about having a house by a beach. I also dream about publishing many books. I also dream about always keeping dreaming. I’m a very spiritual person, so I really pay attention to what my heart is telling me to do next. That is my priority – to always be true to myself.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
SM: I write my songs! All of them. Then I take them to collaborators for some melody tweaking, some arrangement ideas, but lyrics is all me. I write about as many things as I can, but I’ve found myself writing several songs facing my depression and my PTSD. My previous work was about that, and it was called GETTIN SIKKER because I felt like the more I explored these feelings, the sicker I felt, and yet I felt like I needed to dig deep into my sorrow to come out stronger. Turns out I was write! Lately, I’ve gotten more political, but I’m trying to venture and writing about experiences beyond myself. Like I said before, I wrote a song inspired by a character from Harry Potter. I’ve been trying to write about other people’s experiences, other characters from literature or even from a painting. I find it incredibly challenging not to write about myself, which is probably a good reason to try and write about something beyond my experience.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
SM: I rely a lot on of word-of-mouth. Getting my friends to tell their friends about me. I also promote heavily online through social media, and through reaching out to independent publications. It’s a lot of work. Sometimes promoting takes up my entire day and I don’t get any art done, so although I enjoy the work I don’t enjoy getting distracted from my main focus – creating. I read a lot of literature, blog posts, forums and watch videos to learn new tactics. I feel like a baby learning to crawl, so I don’t have a lot of tips but my biggest tip is “don’t be afraid of hearing no”, The worst thing that can happen is that someone won’t like your music and they won’t publish you, or review you. That’s okay. Art is subjective anyways. Move on to the next person, and the next. Someone will like you. Someone you see you.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
SM: You mean illegally? Well….. It’s a complicated situation. I believe most people do want to support others, but they don’t understand the value and the work that it takes to produce music. Unfortunately, there’s this culture that artists don’t do any work, that making art is so easy, it takes no time. But it takes so much time, and it’s costly, and it’s important that artists start sharing how hard the work is more openly. That’s why I’ve been obsessed with the singer HANA lately. She made album HANADRIEL by herself while streaming the entire process. I think this type of movement created a connection with the public that clarifies the value in art. I always try to keep my music free for all to listen to as much as I can.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SM: So many! There’s this song by BTS called “4 O’Clock” and it’s such an introspective, lovely piece. Whenever I listen to it, I can pinpoint exactly the moment in my life that I felt in the shoes of the writer. Which is why I’m so envious and I wish I had thought of that song before they did it – but alas, it’s better in their voice anyways.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
SM: My biggest music industry pet peeve is when men come to explain to me how music works – especially DAWs, or recording, or producing – without solicitation and simply because they assume my woman-brain can’t grasp the concepts of technology. GUESS WHAT? I’m smart AND cute!
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
SM: When I wrote LIKE MY STATUS. First of all, all of my friends die laughing with this song. It’s so ridiculous! I was so angry at somebody for some petty Facebook posts they wrote about me, and when I arrived to the studio I couldn’t focus on anything, all I did was talk about that situation. My producer said that we should use that anger to write a song, so I agree. As I was spitting fire on the mic, I realized how petty my anger was, and I just used that pettiness to write a funny song in which I was boasting about imaginary riches, and dissing somebody for something minor because sometimes we don’t have to be deep, we can just have some fun! I love performing this song. It’s such a relief especially because songs like I COULD LIVE take so much out of me emotionally.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
SM: I’m working on a lot of things. Musically, I’m working on a music video for I Could Live. I’m also working on recording some new songs. I’m working on a book, and I’m working on reimagining my live shows. So yes, a lot on my plate.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
SM: Like I said, I’m reworking my shows. So I am taking a small break in order to get rehearsing with the band, and working on a new arrangement. But fear not. I’ll be back very very soon. If you love to dance, sing, scream and laugh you should come to my show and have the time of your life. I promise you won’t regret the experience.