IT has been cool catching up with Makk Mikkael…
as she tells me about her latest track, Use Me. I was eager to know what its story is and whether we might see more material down the line – the Canadian artist talks about some of her favourite artists and albums.
I ask what Toronto and its scene is like right now; how her current material differs to her older stuff; how she unwinds away from music; what she would say to artists coming through right now – the songwriter ends the interview by selecting a cool track.
Hi, Makk. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. I’m feeling great, thanks! New music is out, so been super-busy with that.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi, guys. My name’s Makk Mikkael. I’m a singer/songwriter. I’m back and forth between Calgary and Toronto currently working on my debut album. I’ve been writing since I can remember and been passionate about music from a young age. I want people to feel anything they need to when they listen to my songs, to be transported to a different world and escape their day-to-day life. Music is so emotional: it’s therapy for many, myself included, so just to feel free, I think, is so powerful.
Use Me is your latest song. Can you explain the inspiration and backstory?
Use Me is my third single. We wrote this one based on of a girl being obsessed with a drug (more specifically, heroin). She’s dealing with withdrawals but always ends up going back to it needing it in her veins at all times. It’s completely controlling her life. Use Me definitely takes a darker turn; we wanted to portray something so real for today, whether it’s heroin or alcohol. We use these substances to escape reality.
How do you think it differs from your earlier material? Do you feel you are at your most confident right now?
I feel super-confident right now. I’ve been in the studio making lots of tracks with my producer Jody Tompkins. We’re experimenting with going darker and taking the music somewhere that the first singles were hinting towards. Everything that we’re creating is so cool. I’m excited to release this album.
Might we expect some more material next year? Are you looking ahead to an E.P. or something similar?
My album will be released, yes!
What is the Toronto music scene like right now? Are there are a lot of cool local acts emerging?
I love the Toronto music scene and feel like there’s a lot of space for creativity right now. The city is filled with talented individuals doing their own thing. It’s cool to get out and see what everyone is up to.
Do you recall when you got into music? Was there a time or moment when you knew you had to chase it?
From a super-young age, I had an experience on stage with my mom and I was hooked. I feel like that night something clicked in me and I’ve been chasing it ever since. The hunger has only grown with time and I can’t wait to release more music.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I’m currently working on my debut album so I hope to get that all wrapped up and released. From there, start touring…
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
When I was young, my mom brought me onstage to sing a song at this bar. I was super-underage (like seven. Haha). I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the way people were watching, the lights; everything about that night…I fell in love with it and knew I had to pursue this no matter what.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
SZA - CTRL
It’s insane. I haven’t heard an album like this ever. I love that there’s a story top to bottom; each song completely flows into the next and expands on the story. She’s amazing.
Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy
Totally different lane for Lykke Li. I’ve been a fan of hers for a while. I love how dark and twisted her lyrics and her new image is on this album. The colours and words are so vivid and Dream-Pop-sounding. I feel like this album is so necessary for millennials right now.
The Japanese House - Saw You in a Dream
Super-nostalgic vibes. It’s a short E.P., but listening top to bottom; it makes you feel lost in the best way. You can sit with your emotions and feelings and be still. Amazing.
How important is it being on stage and playing? Is it possible to describe the emotions you feel when connecting with fans in the audience?
Making the music is half of the puzzle piece: the other half is playing live. You need both. When I watch one of my favourite artists live It’s almost closure for me and I feel like I fully understand them and what was going through their heads when they wrote that song/album. I have yet to perform live. As of right now, I’m building the album and getting everything in order to play live. Very excited for it.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I feel like, if you've found your sound, you're golden. It’s all about what makes you and your music unique. In an industry where so many artists blend together, what makes you stand out and makes you different is your ticket.
IN THIS PHOTO: Lou Val
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’m really into Lou Val. I like the low-key Toronto R&B a lot.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I honestly don’t need time away from music. I love when I’m fully consumed by it, always. Maybe that will change later on but, as of right now, it’s my passion. I’ll write/read to chill when I need a little break.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Did We Lose Our Minds - Sabrina Claudio
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