Soon enough New York’s own Mia LJ will have her debut out for the world, but in the meantime, she’s been dropping hot hit singles left and right. First “This Livin” in June and soon after came “Take Me to That Night” at the end of July. We talked about what was next for the possibly the only 19-year-old out there not into selfies, as we chatted about her early onset goals, having an edge in the game and a whole lot more.
Kendra: Recording an album at 14, are the things you wrote and sang about now then still relevant at 19?
Mia LJ: I started recording professionally at 13 or 14-years-old, kicking my career off with the title track of my recent debut EP These are the Years. Production for my debut album was initiated in May of 2016 (at 18-years-old). With each release, my focus has always been based upon revealing the growth process – not only as an artist but as a person first and foremost.
It’s something we can all relate to, especially in our younger years as we mature. My music derives from a very subconscious place where lyrics are focused on self-prophesying & manifesting the future. A majority of the songs written in my younger years actually relate to where I stand today. Watching the lyrics from my youth convert into reality has always been a powerful thing. The release time of “This Livin” is ironically perfect as it does a great job of unveiling what life has been like since These are the Years.
Kendra: Diving deep through your IG, you’ve gotten a sort of edge the last couple of years. Does that have to do with an evolution of personal self, or artistry?
Mia LJ: I think that edge comes from both, an evolution of personal self and artistry. Representing myself accurately while serving up quality is of the utmost importance. Over the past few years, that quality has only gotten better from visuals to audio to live shows. I’ve also discovered so many different layers within myself which has really helped when connecting with fans on a personal level. To some extent, the world relies on me to convey a message, one that can’t be expressed through words but sounds. The more responsibilities and capabilities I come to realize, the more I evolve. It is always for the better.
Kendra: Going back to being 19. When you were recording at 14, did you think you’d still be doing music as you got older or did you think, hmm…maybe I’ll be like a teacher or something?
Mia LJ: I knew that I was going to play music for the rest of my life upon turning five-years-old, picking up a guitar at that age. After teaching myself six instruments, writing hundreds of songs, and grinding for over a decade this sort of outcome was inevitable.
Writing, recording, performing, and taking on any other aspects of this job was my intention from the start. People always tell me how unusual & impressive knowing what I wanted to do with my life at such a young age comes off.
We live in a world where the general mass is unsure or doubtful of what to pursue. The obvious answer is always “do what you love.” Being surrounded by people who don’t realize what they’d like to do with their lives whilst having a lengthier lifetime in comparison to mine is bizarre from my perspective. Just goes to show that age is just a number. Knowledge lies within experience.
Kendra: Music seems to be where you are grounded right now and you have your summer single, “This Livin” out. A very unexpected sound. I don’t know what I was expecting, but you were a delightful surprise. Do you get that a lot?
Mia LJ: Thank you so much! People respond to my music in that same manner 90% of the time. These preconceived ideas of what the music should sound like serves as quite an advantage because it spikes interest. Where you come from, what you look like, etc does not define who you are. Nor does your past, your success, your words. Actions tend to be the truest representation of oneself. The action of creating & releasing a certain vibe/level of music is who I am, not just what I do.
Kendra: When it came to the video for “This Livin,” did you have a lot of creative say or did you go with the flow?
Mia LJ: I actually independently drafted the visual treatment, decided upon the sole cinematographer and set designer, scouted locations, set aside trademark wardrobe pieces, selected the classic car, and more to bring “This Livin” to life. Every last detail was orchestrated by ya girl. Many artists/bands don’t have the power let alone the certainty to achieve what I independently execute on a daily basis. It just comes down to this: No one will ever work harder than you will for yourself – no matter how much you pay them; how much experience they have; etc. No one knows what you want nor do they want it as badly as you want it for yourself. All it takes is desire and will.
Kendra: Being a multi-instrumentalist, is there one you favor over the others?
Mia LJ: Hell no, they are all way to beautiful on the ears to have a favorite.
Kendra: Circling back to your IG, I noticed you don’t do the whole selfie thing too much. Is that just a trend you never backed?
Mia LJ: HAHAHAHA. I HATE SELFIES. I’m actually not too big on photos as a whole. Taking time to capture such a picture depreciates the pure memory of that moment. Creating visuals in accord with the music is very different from taking selfies as one would assume. The closest thing to me sharing a selfie is normally via my Instagram story where I take fans behind the scenes on set, in the studio, and through the day to day life. Also, the world is in dire need of quality. Selfies definitely take away from my personal standard when it comes to quality.
Kendra: Is there more to come this year from you?
Mia LJ: I have a ton of surprises planned out for fans being announced/released every 30-45 days. Making this all possible has taken my grind to a new level. I am beyond stoked to share what the future holds, but until then…
Kendra: Lastly, here at ZO we’re all about the arts. With that, I wanted to ask you to either draw or submit a piece of art that you feel best represents your sound?
Mia LJ: Ahhhh, I really want to give you guys my favorite song from the upcoming album in place of a piece of art that best represents my sound. It’s the type of music that I’d always dreamt of making, even to this day. I finalized the song about 48 hours ago, just cutting the tracklist for album placement. But instead, here’s a little trademark piece. I created the signature in sixth grade (when all the teachers told me to write out my full name haha). Fans may recognize this as it’s incorporated into all of the “This Livin” cover art(s) (which are also independently created by ya girl).