Mia LJ is a young alt-R&B artist and producer, known for her multi-instrumentalist talents, her skill as a producer and audio engineer, and her precociously sudden rise to music career success.
Exercising total creative control of her own works, the self-taught artist Mia also shares her gifts via projects with other artists. She recently collaborated with rapper ArchrFox to create the video “Human x Love Bomb,” a gorgeous, mesmerising meditation on a love gone wrong.
Having released her independent debut EP, These Are the Years, at the tender age of 14, this summer the now 19-year-old Mia plans to release her album THIS LIVIN. Recently she was nice enough to answer our questions about her childhood, her collaborations, and her thoughts on music itself.
What kind of childhood did you have?
I had an amazing childhood growing up in the Orange County region of New York. I played every sport there is, quite passionately, until I decided to focus that energy on music. I lived near a beautiful private lake which I still visit on a daily basis. My town is so peaceful, so perfect. Growth is never easy, especially in the early phases. I went through my share of lessons, as we all do. I’m grateful for every single occurrence, especially those of my childhood.
What role did music play in it?
I’ve been playing music since the age of five years old. Music is my life.
Was it hard to learn six instruments and sound engineering?
It’s only as hard as you make it on yourself. Such is life, haha.
Is New York a creatively stimulating city for for you?
Of course! New York is such a mixing pot, from culture to sound design. Inspiration is everywhere. There’s always something going on. There’s always a chance to meet new people. This city is my home, and it’s helped me grow in so many ways. The weather is really bipolar and traffic is wondrous, but other than that . . . I love it, haha.
Who—or what—was the best influence on you as an artist? As a human being?
Past, present, and future. Not just mine. Really anyone I’ve ever crossed paths with or studied, from business legends to innovators to artists.
You appear to have sidestepped the tyranny of the male agenda in your career, a thing many before you have struggled for yet failed to achieve. What do you think made it possible for you to maintain your autonomy in an industry that is so sexist and exploitive?
Honestly, I deal with it just as much as any other female in the industry. I have experienced everything from sexual pursuits to straight up disrespect and intimidation attempts in professional situations. I’ve learned to not allow that to phase me. I simply focus on taking action with the right intention and maintaining self-control.
Has anything funny or weird happened to you during recording sessions or while you’ve been on tour or performing?
Ah yes, of course, haha, every session and show consists of infinite horrid humor from yours truly, producers, and live band members. It’s hilarious—always good vibes!
How is recording going for This Livin?
It’s going great. I’ve wrapped audio production at this point. Just working on branding and visual production. Everything looks, sounds, and feels like a movie. I’m stoked to drop the record this year!
What’s the story behind the song “Human x Love Bomb”?
Quote via ArchrFox: “Human x Love Bomb is essentially a push & pull of emotions between two people. It’s just the intro to a complex theme within my love life and this part deals with a very important ex. I want her to accept me for my flaws while I bare my true feelings and apologize for the mistakes I made in our relationship. It’s an intentionally dramatic vibe teasing the more dynamic projects that are to come.”
Who initiated the collaboration with ArchrFox?
ArchrFox actually reached out to me via Instagram after coming across “Ambiguous” and “This Livin.”
Do you find that collaborating with other artists comes naturally to you?
It’s all about the vibe, but I normally have no trouble with composing or producing something everyone is proud of and loves.
How do you regenerate after giving yourself heavily to the music?
Listen to frequency based sounds. Rest my ears. Sleep.
What conditions do you need in your life in order to maintain creativity?
Good vibes. Really, it’s all about feeling for me. The quality of environment and energy of those I’m surrounded by affects my creative state heavily.
Are there any musical acts that have influenced your creative work?
Now, Now, Threads. Coldplay, Paramore, Jimi Hendrix, Lenny Kravitz, Demi Lovato, Metro Boomin.
What does the word “music” mean to you?
If you had an artistic mission statement, what would it be?
More and better. Tour! Debut album release. Loads of visuals. Love. Dreams transforming into reality.
Do you have anything to add?
I LOVE YOU.