Audrey Mika Wants Her Songs to Be "Affirmations"

Audrey Mika Wants Her Songs to Be "Affirmations"

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Audrey Mika Wants Her Songs to Be "Affirmations"

Photography: Tyrell Hampton

Styling: Betsy Johnson

Text: Kala Herh

This story appears in V132, now available to order!

At the age of 19 years old, Audrey Mika left her home in the Bay Area with nothing more than $3,000, a broken car and her dog, Kazoo. It turned out to be the best decision that the R&B/pop singer ever made. “Every day is a dream,” she says from her new place in Los Angeles.

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So new, in fact, the singer-songwriter didn’t even have a couch–for now, a hot-pink inflatable sectional rests in its place. When she was 15, Mika started uploading videos of her covering popular Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande songs to the streaming platform and began acquiring a steady fan base who came for her unique sound and stayed for her infectious, bubbly personality. Fast-forward a couple of years to today, and Mika has amassed over 3.5 million listeners on Spotify and a growing Instagram base of 415K fans that are interested in her music. “I want people to know who I am through my music and the things that I had gone through,” she says. “I think it’s important to how I got to where I am now.”In a digital age where everyone is exposed to everything and influence blends freely across genres, Mika takes it to new levels. effortlessly blending intricate R&B beats with shower-worthy pop melodies and painfully relatable lyrics. Her latest single “Alive”speaks to this ability. “The message I wanted to get across is, ‘You’re alive. You’re present and I love you,’” she explains. Written during a darker period of her life, the song is a sonic affirmation of sorts, is as much of a reminder to her listeners as it is to her. Loving yourself is a major theme in Mika’s work, and one she continues to explore in her new music. Whether you’ve been watching her YouTube since the channel’s inception or you just started getting into her soulful 2019 single “Y U Gotta B Like That” since it blew up on TikTok, Mika’s innate artistry is undeniable. Her emotionally charged lyrics and snappy, fast-tempo beats are an unorthodox pair, but they’re what makes her so special. And they’re what make her latest music so special, too.

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V MAGAZINE: How have you been? What have you been up to so far? 

AUDREY MIKA: I've been good. I've just been writing and I went to the Bay area for a little bit to write - it was actually my mom's idea. 

V: That's good to hear that you've been writing. So how did you first get into singing and songwriting? 

AM: I was kind of uploading on YouTube for a while just like, silly lifestyle videos. It was actually an email from someone, my friends sent a demo of mine out to somebody and they emailed him back and said, 'Oh, she sounds kind of basic, and she doesn't have like any presence anywhere.' And I was like, 'Damn, okay.' So that was like, honestly, something that really pushed me to make covers and, you know, Billie Eilish and Ariana are some of my favorite artists as well and they had both just put out music. So I was just covering, like, every single song on the albums. And I don't know, I just like really had fun with it. And I, when I was younger, I used to make videos just like on iMovie. And I thought I would bring that into the covers and just have fun with it.

V: Yeah and now you have over 3.5 million Spotify listeners!

AM: I never ever thought I would be in the position I am now. I had 50 monthly Spotify listeners and 1000 Instagram followers, and I was fine with that. And I was putting music out and I was happy. But the fact that I've been able to reach so many people solely because of music - I will die happy.

V: So did you always want to be a singer-songwriter?

AM: So I didn't actually think that I wanted to be a singer. It was always something I did on the side. I actually was a dancer for 15 years. And I definitely thought I would be able to be a prima ballerina. And when I was 16 it kind of like hit me and I was like, I don't know if I enjoy this anymore because that world is very toxic. And it's just a lot. It's literally blood, sweat and tears. And I just didn't think I loved it enough to push through. And I realized that when I was like 15, or 16, and I would come home after a long day of dancing, and I would write, instead of more dancing. And that's kind of where it shifted for me a little bit. I started really watching other artists, and I was like, 'Wow, like, they're, they get to travel the world and sing and make music like that is insane.' And, and I never thought I would be good enough to do that. But honestly like everyday is a dream. 

V: And why start on YouTube?

AM: That's a good question. I grew up watching YouTube, all those old YouTubers. I just watched to death, like YouTube was definitely a big part of growing up in my childhood. And I just thought it would be fun to make my own account and just put my songs out there and do covers as well. And I didn't actually understand what being a cover artist was until I started really doing it. I think I was just very intrigued by just YouTube in itself. And the fact that you can just make a video and put it up online, and people see it.

V: For your latest release, Alive, what themes did you set out to explore?

AM: I wrote when I was in a bit of a emotional dark place, and I really needed a song to express some affirmation and positivity that I needed for myself. And hopefully somebody else can have as well. And I wrote that song actually a year ago. And it was the first song that I had put out, like, almost a year after writing it, because usually, we would write songs, and then that would be the next one. And, you know, take maybe a month, and this one took almost like, a year. I think it was a good change for me and I was excited to incorporate the dancing in the music video as well. And I hope that really spoke to people and just kind of like, an affirmation song of like, 'Hey, you're okay. Be grateful you're alive. You have good people around you. You are loved." It's something we all need. We need that reminder.

V: I just have a couple more questions for you. But moving forward with this new music that you're producing? What type of themes are you exploring with these new songs? Can you give us a little tease? 

AM: Yes, I love teasing them. I think it's a combination of slow songs, very emotional. And then like, some bad bitch anthems like, 'Oh, yeah, like, I'm good on my own. I can do this. I'm a bad bitch.' And then there's also just like, the mid tempo, just feel good songs. But I'm so excited to get in the studio with my favorite people to create with and be able to bring those songs to life because right now, they're just voice memos and they're just me and the guitar. I feel like a lot of the songs that are about to come out are a lot more storytelling than my past songs. I want people to know who I am through my music and the things that I had gone through and how I got to where I am now and mentally, because I think it's so important to talk about that and to share that. I have the the opportunity to so I will take it and I hope I can help someone out there. And I know there's someone that feels the same way so that's kind of the goal.

V: I kind of want to loop back to where we started and how you were talking about how your mom kind of wanted you to come back and get into your roots. What role did your parents play in this musical journey that you've now embarked on? 

AM: They're very supportive of everything that I do. And when I came to my mom and told her, I wanted to quit dancing, I think it was a bit of a shock for her for sure because it had been 15 years of only dancing. And I think she liked having a little ballerina in her in their house. And so I think that that was tough for her. But she was super supportive of my music and I told my parents I was gonna move out to LA and I had three grand saved up and I remember they sat me down and they're like, 'Are you sure like you want to go?' And I was like, 'Yes, I'm going to LA ,' and this was before anything like I was planning on coming out to LA anyway, once I graduated high school. I was going to come out here with my broken down car and my dog and I could barely even afford my dog and I could barely even afford an apartment in LA, I had $3,000. That's not even enough for like two months rent. And so, but even then they supported me and my dad has actually been a huge like, just somebody that's really pushed me since I was young. And he always played music around the house. He was in a big band. And we played Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, and we played a lot of jazz around the house. And I feel like that has really inspired me as well for the next project. And a lot of R&B has inspired me as well. But my dad has always been somebody that's pushed me to be different, and to not care what people thought and to always go for my dreams. And I'm a grateful for him, and he's always been very supportive.

Credits:

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HAIR FITCH LUNAR (OPUS BEAUTY)

PRODUCER SERIE YOON (NIGHT WATER CREATIVE)

PHOTO ASSISTANT KHALILAH PIANTA

STYLIST ASSISTANT SCOTT BENNETT

MAKEUP ASSISTANT AMY RUIZ

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT JEAN GRANT

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