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Exclusive Interview with Singer, Songwriter and Producer MIA GLADSTONE

Image Credit: BRICKS Magazine


Socials: @neillfrazer

New Jersey-born singer-songwriter and producer babe MIA GLADSTONE fearlessly challenges the norms of society, making music that is as empowering as it is relatable. Continuing her run of commentary on social media’s negative effects on interpersonal communication, Mia shares “SOCIAL MEDIA ft. Trent the HOOLiGAN, her latest single from her upcoming LOOPY EP. Produced by Mia herself, the staccato-heavy song is the soundtrack to her psyche as she unpacks the anxiety she gets from posting on social media and the pressure she feels to keep posting to further her career. If you’re someone who feels embarrassed when posting a story or picture on Instagram like me, I’m sure you’ll find yourself reciting Mia’s emphatic lines, “F*ck Instagram, f*ck Twitter/Don’t tell me what to post – you’re bitter.” 

Mia is preparing for her digital takeover with LOOPY, her upcoming EP featuring songs “EMPATHY” and “TALKING ONLINE,” which received praise from FLAUNT. Featuring collaborations with Teezo Touchdown and Matt Martians, LOOPY is out everywhere October 14th via PINK BOX STUDIOS.

  • Hi Mia, welcome to OLC! So for everyone out there tell us a bit about yourself, and how your journey in music began?

My name is Mia and I started making music when I was a little kid. I’m an artist, producer, singer-songwriter, etc. Ever since I can remember music has been at the forefront of my daily life and it’s been my greatest joy. I’ve always loved listening to music, singing, writing, playing, and it was just like this natural evolution that my parents really empowered growing up. They always validated my desire to pursue music and didn’t make me feel like it was out of reach, so I was really blessed – I’m super grateful. I started making music when I was probably like 6 or 7. My dad got me this little audio recorder. I remember being in my room singing stuff, writing songs and I just loved it. I would do it literally any time I had the capacity to.

  • How did you get into songwriting and producing and do you remember the first song you ever wrote and what or who it was about?

I got into songwriting, I think when I was around 6 or 7. Every year there was a school talent show, and when I was in second grade, I performed a song I wrote and played piano. It was called “Following My Dreams,” haha. I actually still remember how to play it. I always loved being involved with the talent shows, and it was great motivation to make music. Every year I was like, “Ok, gotta write a new song!” and then I would perform it. Through that I realized how much I loved playing live music – connecting with people through sound. I felt really comfortable and confident on stage when I was younger, so it was always really fun. I started producing in elementary school as well, but in a less serious capacity. I had this software called Mixcraft and I would put together little preset loops and sequence them and just kind of fuck around in the software, usually with my brother, and we would score his YouTube videos haha. It was really fun. It was just like a casual thing I did – I never really considered producing, but it was I guess, and that was like my first foot in the door of being a producer. Then I got more seriously into production in the last couple years, when I became increasingly aware of how few women were doing it or how little representation of women in production there was. I was like, “This isn’t right, I gotta do my part.” I just felt like I could better express myself and get my ideas across if I was to be the one executing them and producing it myself, and not having to depend on other people to make stuff.

  • Who was your biggest inspiration and why?

Hmm, that’s a difficult question for me, I don’t have like one sole person who was my inspiration. But, someone I always think of and look up to in so many ways is Amy Winehouse. I felt very connected to her growing up. Her voice, her songwriting, it’s so honest. And I’m very into her astrological chart as well, it’s actually like the perfect combination of my chart and my moms (we’re a virgo mother-daughter duo) and if you just switch out whatever sign per each part of the chart, it’ll equal Amy Winehouse’s basically. So Amy Winehouse is a Venus in Leo and Mercury in Virgo. Meaning, she communicates like a virgo, but in terms of how she loves she’s a Leo. She’s very passionate and I relate to that heavily and hear it in her writing. So I’ve always been really inspired by her. I feel like she’s one of those artists who you hear and you feel like you know her. She’s just so personal and vulnerable. When I write, I try to embody that same honesty and forwardness. It’s very therapeutic for me.

  • You have a brand new single out called “Social Media”, can you tell me a bit about it and what inspired the song?

“SOCIAL MEDIA” is an honest depiction of my experiences online and obsession with my internet persona. I’m singing to social media as an entity, confronting it and highlighting the fact that I feel so much better without it. I see it kinda creeping in and trying to dim my light when I decide to not use it. I have this feeling of trying to run away from it because it’s everywhere and it’s so ingrained in our society. At this point, it’s really difficult to avoid, especially as an artist. We’re really told to use social media to our advantage and for visibility, and I find myself kind of resentful of that sometimes because I see so many negatives to it. I don’t think it’s great for the mental. In terms of production, I was kinda just chillin’ when I made it. I was in my little studio in New Jersey making this weird drum pattern and experimenting very late one night and then it turned into a whole song. I’m really happy with it, and super happy it’s out in the world.

  • What message do you hope people take away from the song?

Whenever I put out music, I don’t really have any intention for what other people will perceive because I feel like people naturally will take away what they’re meant to. I never think about that question, but I guess I would hope that I give people something to relate to and maybe a sense of comfort. You know, social media is so curated and it’s very easy to compare yourself to other people’s lives that you see through social media but you’re really only seeing a highlight reel. You don’t really know what’s going on and it’s just important to remind people of that. Especially as someone like me who has a social platform. People follow me who don’t know me and I don’t want them to have a view of my life skewed through my social media identity. So yeah, I guess I hope people realize that we don’t have to identify with our social media personas. We’re just humans and social media is really not valuable or significant if we don’t allow it to be.

  • How did the concept for the video come about?

This video was super casual. We were kinda just in-between making music videos and were like, “Alright we should do a little visualizer for ‘SOCIAL MEDIA.’” At first we planned on doing a one take of me performing it and then getting Trent the HOOLiGAN to do that, and then chop them together. But then we were talking about it and were like, “Well, we’ve got the social media knocking at the door part – we could do something cool with that drum moment,” so I got my whole family downstairs and basically we just knocked on my basement door with a spotlight. It became a much more cinematic piece haha. Then we just filmed me in the pink box, which is this little space that we set up in my garage that’s supposed to represent a couple things. I made all the songs or at least started all of them in my old studio in New Jersey in my childhood home where I no longer live. Throughout the project, I’m referencing that space –  ‘Pink Box Studios”, but it’s also a deeper concept. So there’s a couple characters throughout LOOPY… There’s a positive affirmations life coach named MIA GLADSTONE, who was once very famous and then she was deemed too powerful for spreading too much positivity and the reptilian overlords banished her to the pink box dimension. So now, residing in the pink box is mia gladstone (lowercase) haha and she’s just banished there. Her only form of entertainment or outside world is viewing old tapes of herself on this little macbook computer. We wanted to film a video in the pink box to further the storyline of me being trapped in the box. We also got b-roll of some videos I took in a local pharmacy & Harris Teeter, filming labels of foods that are full of chemicals etc. Then we got this incredible pig named Squiggy, who is the daughter of a woman named Sabrina (whom I became very fond of) who works at my local post office. We just became friends over the years and she’s actually promoted me to the role of Squiggy’s Godmother, so I had to call on her for a favor. She got in the video and the whole thing was a really quick shoot, very fun. The crew was just me and William, my creative partner in LOOPY, and Trent sent in his video.

  • Where do you get your inspiration to write songs? Do you normally derive them from personal experiences?

it really depends. When I write a song, I never have an intention for what I’m gonna write about or what it’s gonna sound like. It just comes out of me. It’s this very therapeutic experience and I don’t really think about it. But I do typically derive my inspiration from personal experiences. Even if they don’t feel super personal at first, often random words will come to me and I won’t even really know what I’m writing about but it’ll just come out. Once the whole song is fully formed I’ll read it and then I’m like “ahh, ok I was reflecting on this in this kind of abstract way”. for me writing is just super healing and therapeutic and I just let it flow, I never try to write about anything specific.

  • You have a new EP on the way called “LOOPY”, what can people expect from this EP and who did you work on it with?

I’m so excited! I don’t know if it’s an EP, or an album, I’ve just been calling it a project. It’s 11 songs, I started all of them alone in my basement. you can expect experimental, interesting sounds, and really sick features. I feel like this project is me, in the sound form. It feels super true to my essence because I had no outside influences while making it, I was just like, ‘Alright, I’m in my safe space, this is my haven, and I’m just going to express myself.’ And the majority of the songs I didn’t make with the intention of a project, and so there wasn’t pressure when I made them. It was super free flowing, which allowed me to kind of dig deep without this pressure that sometimes I experience in sessions with other people. Where I’m like, “Okay, fuck, I’ve got to write something, it’s got to be good, because there’s other people here,” but there was none of that involved in this process, no people pleasing. Just like doing what feels good for myself, so ya, it’s just like a real honest project, very expressive, vibrant. Everybody featured really embodied LOOPY. I feel like all of them kind of pushed the envelope, so I’m super honored as a producer.

  • Why did you decide to call it “LOOPY”?

So, I first came up with the word “loopy” when I was going through all these old beats. i had a folder on my soundcloud since like 2018 called “Loops” – random beats that were basically just loops. And then, I started working on this project with William, who’s been the co-creator of LOOPY, the visual world. And I would send him songs, and then we just started describing them as loopy. We’re like “Yo, this shit is so loopy”, like the only word we could think of to describe the music was loopy. Now it’s become this whole thing that we just use to describe anything weird, abstract, fun, strange… Anything expressive is “loopy”. It’s just kind of this quality that exists in a lot of the things that I love, it’s just kind of weird, I don’t know. So, I just use the word “loopy” to describe a lot of things, and it just felt like the perfect word to describe my project, cuz it’s very me, and I feel like “loopy” is the essence of me. So that’s why we called it LOOPY.

  • How important is social media in an artist’s career and how do you go about managing it without being dragged down by the negative feedback you can sometimes get on there?

I think social media is actually less important in an artist’s career than we think or how it’s sold to us. I think what labels tend to do, or I guess any kind of music exec, or person in the music business, tends to look at trends and then tries to follow them. But once a trend has happened, that’s not really the formula that you can use to find success for your artist. For example, there are artists that have blown up on TikTok, there’s a bunch of those, so now labels see that and they’re like, “Alright guys, get on TikTok, do the same thing that these people did when they blew up.” But really the way they blew up is because people gravitated toward something that they were doing, specific to them. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, social media isn’t that important, and there are infinite ways to find success, and I feel what you have to do is really listen to yourself, and your body’s reactions to social media, and your spirit, and just do what feels comfortable. I think the most important thing is to focus on the music. If you’re a musician, just make really good music. Don’t be so focused on, i don’t know, advertising on social media, because if you put so much energy into that… we have a finite amount of energy I think, and if you’re putting your energy into social media over music, but you’re literally a musician, that’s just a losing game. Because you’re not putting the right energy into what you’re trying to promote. I was reflecting on this last night and I just don’t think that social media is as important as it seems. And I feel like if you don’t put value in it then it means nothing. And I’ve started kind of, just like, shit posting, and really just being true to myself, which I’ve always found people gravitate towards, because, you know, people want authenticity. So, I don’t know, I try not to adhere to the algorithm… because if you’re creating under the guise of an algorithm, and trying to make stuff that will do well in terms of the algorithm, you are compromising at such a core level. Don’t you make music for free expression? Isn’t this your truest self when you’re making music? Isn’t that like a piece of your soul? So if you’re allowing yourself to make shit, in a different way, based on social media, you’re compromising at the soul level. So I’ve really been shying away from all that, and just to address how I go about managing it without being dragged down, it’s really just not placing value in other people’s opinions, or any kind of feedback, even if it’s positive. Because once you allow someone to validate you in any way, then they have too much power, and then that same person could not enjoy the next thing you put out, and then all that joy and excitement you got from their initial validation is diminished. So, to me, I think it’s really just about doing what you love, and if you love what you’re doing, people will gravitate towards that naturally, and then other people’s opinions just won’t affect you, because it doesn’t matter, you’re already fulfilled. Any other kind of feedback you get is an added thing.

  • What advice do you have for aspiring artists out there who want to get into the recording industry?

My first thing that I always think of, in terms of advice, is to just experiment. Don’t box yourself in. I think it’s kind of sold to us that we need to be very strong in our brand, and we need to be consistent, and all this shit, but I personally don’t really resonate with that, and here’s why. I think if you commit to a brand, then you kind of box yourself in, and, I don’t know, for me I really don’t like to be restricted or limited in any way. So, I think you should just be yourself, and know that yourself will take many forms, because as human beings we’re just naturally very fluid. We’re not fixed in one state, we’re always evolving and growing, and learning new things, gaining perspective, so that will always reflect in our creations. So I think just allowing yourself to be creative and flowing and fluid is really important, because then you can never be boxed in, because the whole essence of your being is someone who can’t be boxed in. You know what I mean? And then, I would also say it is important to just follow your intuition. It’s really typical for people in the industry to kind of come in with this weird complex where they’re like, “I’m going to teach you something because you’re this young naive artist and I’ve been doing this for years.” And I think our gut tells us everything we need to know and we have all this inner knowledge and just tap into that. Don’t let industry people tell you things about yourself, you know what you got to do, but I also think just be open. Be open minded but have at your core your inner knowing that you’re worthy, that you can do this, and that you don’t need to compromise to be successful, and that success comes in many forms. You might have a very specific image of what success looks like for you, but just be open. Know that things can change overnight, and don’t allow social media, or any other minor thing to discourage you. 

  • What does the rest of 2022 hold for you?

It’s hard to say at this moment in time. LOOPY comes out October 14th, and that’s really what I’ve been working towards for a really long time, so after that we shall see. I’m going to be playing some shows in New York, LA, probably some other cities. My desire is to go on tour, so I hope that happens. I’m just going to flow with life and just let it happen, I don’t know! I guess we’ll all see what 2022 has in store for us. And ya, thanks so much.

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