Coming from a rural area myself, I know all too well how Ms. M|CHL felt growing up in Oklahoma. Our conversation started there as we explored the solace she found in singing in church, and as our chat continued we explored falling for a mistake, her latest release, ‘Anaxiphilia,’ and so much more!
Kendra: Many singers have found their voice in a church setting, but for you, it wasn’t just music but solace as well, living in rural Oklahoma. Was the church the only place you truly felt like you could just exist in peace?
Ms. M|CHL: In a lot of ways, yes. When I was at church I was with my family so I always felt safe. But I also entered a lot of talent shows and I was always in choir, dance, and sports. Essentially, I tried to be performing in one way or another at all times. That’s when I felt removed from my circumstances and I always knew performing would ultimately be the key to my escaping said circumstances.
Kendra: Now let’s head towards the present and talk about ‘Anaxiphilia.’ The name of your 2020 release as well as what happens when you fall for the wrong person. Now, how many times does one have to experience this for it to influence a record?
Ms. M|CHL: Ha Ha Ha! Well, for me this record covers three different occasions (YIKES!) that my heart ran away from reality and dove headfirst into the oblivion that is unrequited love. It sounds much grimmer than it was. And hey, the third time must be a charm! Because a great album came out of it. I often reflect on the last relationship in question and I truly believe that the only reason I met him in the first place was to inspire this work. I’ll take it.
Kendra: Did you save anything you wrote at 12, and if so – could it be found on this record or a future release?
Ms. M|CHL: I am giggling at the thought of sharing some of those songs! I mean me in sixth grade! Ha! I was not very experienced at expressing my feelings back then. However, I do have one song in particular that has always stuck with me. I don’t know, it could make it to the next record. That innocent and naive view of the world may be a welcomed reprieve from the current state of the world.
Kendra: When you were first starting to realize that music was a career choice you were about to make and not just a mere hobby, were there any artists you thought about in terms of careers you wanted to emulate?
Ms. M|CHL: Well, I’ve known this was what I wanted to do since I was five! So, with that, the artists that I have wanted to follow in their footsteps have changed quite a bit. In this day and age, I look to Indie Artists that just kept grinding until they caught fire. Lizzo comes to mind, as well as Chika, and my favorite Active Child.
Kendra: Writing and recording a whole album can be not only exhausting but also exhilarating. You finally have this creative baby out in the world. Did you learn anything about yourself during the process that surprised you?
Ms. M|CHL: I learned so much creating this record. Not the least of which is that I am stronger and more talented than I ever gave myself credit for. I was lucky enough to work with very talented people like my co-writer and bandmate, David Moriarty, and our producer, Jack Seige. They helped me develop as an artist and discover how deep I can dive and how hard I can hit. Ya, dig?
Kendra: With all that has transpired this year, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
Ms. M|CHL: Wow, this year has been tough for all of us. I have been torn on what to say or share and when it is best. As a creative, I want to share my offerings and I want them to be received with the vibe I intended. I have found myself going inward more and looking to find answers and peace there. I am creating from that space and I pray that I will be able to share some of this journey soon. I hope it is received as a little offering of light in a dark time.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Ms. M|CHL: Like I alluded to earlier, I am currently writing the next album very carefully. In these confounding times, I find myself listening to the songs I listened to in the past when I felt like things were ending. I know it sounds crazy to listen to or write sad songs when you are already sad and defeated. But for me, it is a way to remember a time when I thought all was lost, and then somehow, someway, I made it through. And just like that, you have a soundtrack to your triumph. My favorite choice for this ritual is the last track on my album, ‘Anaxiphilia.’ The song is titled “My Name“, maybe it will comfort you too. I very much hope so. Black Lives Matter.