Review/Interview: Kristen Zarra
We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Starlight Mikka, a Brazilian-American rock-rap artist that just released their latest single: “I Could Live”. They recently made a comeback to music in 2015 as a solo artist in Northern California, exploring expressing their true identity on stage. In 2018, they released a demo mixtape called ‘GETTING SIKKER’ with the help of DJ Broken Record and the DJ duo Deadstare.
Their latest single, “I Could Live,” is a dark-pop/indie rock-rap blend which dives deep in the psyche of somebody’s who’s trust has been broken. This song depicts the freeing feeling of finally breaking the grasp of a toxic relationship. “I Could Live” packs a punch with heavy undertones that match the melancholy instrumentals. Between the lyrics and music, listeners will be drawn in and be able to relate to the feeling of someone hurting you.
“I wrote the song more to vent than to make it an actual song, yet when I finished it I knew I could polish it and transform it into possibly an emotional experience to other’s who’ve felt the same way as I did.”Starlight Mikka
MR: how did you get started with writing music?
Mikka: It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly I started writing music. It’s always been a habit of mine to come up with lyrics and melodies, perhaps because of my father’s own habit of coming up with silly songs and singing already existing ones all day every day. My father did really amazing work researching about the origins of Brazilian popular music, and he had access to some of the most interesting and obscure songs I’ve ever heard. He instilled in me the desire of being creative too. But I remember when I started seriously writing songs. I was 12 or 13 and I’d spend hours writing songs in my bedroom. I wrote a song about how much I hated math, and how my stomach was hurting from eating a bad piece of strawberry pie. And then at 14, when I had my band and I was desperately heartbroken I wrote a song called “This Time” – my first song in English even though I didn’t speak fluently and it’s filled with grammatical errors – and it became a huge hit amongst my closest friends.
MR: what do you hope for people to feel from listening to your music?
Mikka: That’s a tricky one to answer. I always write with very specific intentions in mind, and when I hear the feedback, it’s usually very different from what I had anticipated. I’ve decided to give up on telling the audience how to feel – I expect them to feel something, of course, but in their own terms. I try to create music that is honest about what I experience. So when I write in my lyrics “Does it even matter that I’m a superstar/If in the deep dark night you’re all that’s on my heart” I truly felt as a broken hearted superstar at that moment, even though I know I’m not. But music is my opportunity to tap into those parts of myself I shouldn’t tap to in real life. It’s my chance to be obnoxiously dramatic, utterly cheesy and unashamed of my biggest flaws. I expect people to understand that and to feel inspired to also do the same to whatever degree they feel they can.
MR: What are your plans for 2020? Any tours lined up?
Mikka: 2020 has been a busy year already. I’m recording an EP, writing new material, shooting a music video e playing local shows in Los Angeles area. Because of all this work, I don’t intend to go on a longer tour until 2021. I believe it’s a crucial moment for me to settle down and work on new material, and tours are very draining of resources and creative energy. I’m being intentional about the shows I’m booking, because as much as I love to perform, I also love to perform with a purpose and a story to tell. I approach my music the same way I approach writing a play (theater). I’m crafting a new narrative, it’s only natural that I need to prepare a brand new show to fit the narrative.
MR: Who/what are your biggest influences/ inspirations?
Mikka: I have so many, it’s hard to pin point. Kurt Cobain has been a huge influence lyrically. Amy Lee from Evanescence has also been a major mentor to me even though she has no idea about it, haha. G-Dragon, David Bowie and CL can’t be ignored. Sonically, I’d say Linkin Park and Garbage. I’m all over the place.
Out of the musical realm, I’d say Edgar Allan Poe, the feminist movement, and anime such as Sailor Moon and Nana play a huge role into my craft. I like to create art that can be a multi media experience. I’m still working on expanding that outside of music, but my attire and my live performances incorporate theatre and those moods I capture from these shows, books and movies I admire so much.
MR: What are you most excited to share with new and established fans?
Mikka: Firstly, I want to say thank you to anyone who considers themselves a supporter, a fan. I appreciate every single minute you spare on my art. I’m so grateful I got to share I COULD LIVE with y’all. This song has been in the works for so long, because it’s a byproduct of processing toxic relationships. This song forced me to look at a particular friendship critically, and it forced me to look me in the mirror and notice just how broken I’ve allowed myself to become for someone else. And that a huge part of my difficulty establishing friendships nowadays come from not being true to myself in that dynamic and not knowing how to say what I want to truly say. So I’m grateful that so many people are listening to this song and experiencing their own version of self empowerment and processing.
For the future… I’m looking to share experiences! I really want to sit and talk with fans. Hear about what inspires them and learning from them. I also can’t wait to share my new music with everyone, but alas! I gotta be patient!
MR: How do you think music can connect and heal listeners?
Mikka: Oh, I think music is the primal way of healing. My uncle, who’s recently passed, was a music lover. He suffered from Alzheimer’s and barely recognized anything or anyone, but as soon as you sang his favorite songs he’d be present, and move his body, swaying to the melody. That was my last moment with him and it truly encapsulated why music keeps me going.
My entire life is surrounded by memories of music – my dad singing, my sister dancing, my brother playing guitar, me exploring my own taste with punk rock and meeting new friends through our mutual passion of playing music and singing. It’s truly that one way that most people all over the world can connect and embrace their differences and similarities. It’s the purest form of joy, for me. And it helps me process feelings I otherwise wouldn’t feel comfortable processing (blame it on the fact that I’m a gemini!).
MR: why do you think music is so important emotionally?
Mikka: Personally, because my dad wouldn’t shut up about music! Haha he truly brainwashed me. Like I said before, I grew up with music surrounding me and I can’t remember a day in my life in which I didn’t listen to music, sang music or talked about music. By the time I was 13 my bedroom was covered in posters of my favorite artists and I’d write lyrics of my favorite songs all over my walls, and you can imagine how happy my parents were about that. When I moved to the USA at age 17, without knowing anybody or anything, the only way I felt comfortable connecting with others was through…you guessed! MUSIC! Thanks Paramore! So truly, music has been my biggest gift. I’ve always loved to write, and I’ve always processed my feelings through a pen and paper. So sitting in my room, listening to the same Nirvana songs over and over again, while weeping and moping about something has been the healthiest way for me to cope with my emotions. And because I’ve suffered from severe mental health issues since I was 11, music has been my way of expressing my deepest feelings and heal my pain when nothing else seemed to help me.
Sometimes, because we don’t know how to communicate about every single experience we have, good or bad, we need to be able to do it through something and music is that one tool that I think can be amazing to lead us to an emotional processing journey.