Tucked on the backside of a Highland Park building was an unsuspecting door titled ‘Wild Honey Pie presents Miya Folick’. I crept in quietly, followed the stairs up to the hostess and waited patiently in line as a very sweet woman asked about the safety of parking in the back lot. After the hostess reassured her all was well, Los Angeles based singer Miya Folick popped in and greeted the woman with a big warm hug, who turned out to be none other than her own mother.
After checking in I was led to a big beautiful bar where Slow & Low whiskey cocktails kicked off the night with a bang. Wild Honey Pie treated us to a delightful 3-course meal, opening with an appetizer; hummus and fresh pita, that allowed for guests to get comfy and interact with each other. This is where I met a dedicated fan who had seen Miya 6 times – this was his 7th – and was still glowing with excitement and anticipation. For the main entree they served a beautiful Mediterranean chicken dish that left me begging for more. Over a fresh brownie dessert, Miya stepped up to the mic and humbly introduced herself as she began to slowly serenade the crowd with her powerful voice. I managed to catch up with Miya pre-performance to discuss her debut album ‘Premonitions’.
Let’s start with the album cover. How special was it for you to get your parents in on the action, and how did that idea come together?
I think having my parents involved was just a nice gift for us. Even aside from the photo that made it into the album packaging, there are just a bunch that I really love but I didn’t use. It was really fun just to have my parents participate in this world that they don’t really get to see. I even sent them a call sheet and I pulled a bunch of suits and clothes from my mom and dad’s closet, and she also incorporated a lot of Japanese textures. It just felt really personal.
With a powerful title like ‘Premonitions’, are there any premonitions that you’ve listened to and have maybe worked out for better or worse?
People often want to talk about how a lot of the songs are me striving to be better, or me being hard on myself about things I’m not necessarily good at, and that forced me to confront the realization that a lot of the things I talk about wanting to work on in the album I hadn’t actually done in my real life. But I think I’m starting to now, kinda dig deeper into what I was writing about in that album and trying to confront things in my real life, not just in writing. During the process of writing the album, I was very lost and there were a lot of relationships (not just romantic but also friendships) that were toxic and not productive at all. I actually did get around to facing those things and it may not have been one significant event, but over a year and a half of little things being checked off as they come. When I think of Premonitions I don’t think of the album but of a moment in time.
How was the creative process different working on ‘Premonitions’ in contrast to ‘Strange Darling’ or ‘Give It To Me’?
It was my first time really collaborating on songwriting and the first time that I really went in and produced music with somebody else. Previously I’d made demos and then would rehearse it with the band. We’d play the songs out live many times, and then we went into the studio, track everything live and then overdub some guitars and stuff in post. So it was such a different process being so communal on Premonitions. And honestly way more difficult because it takes a lot longer to get out ideas, but definitely was worth it. I liked writing with other people and will continue to do so. I think on my second record – which I’m working on now – I do want to have a mix of the two because it will bring a different quality having a few songs I do by myself.
“Cost your love” made me feel like I was in the most litt therapy session ever, it was so relatable. Was there a decision you had to make in this process that maybe cost you a relationship?
Yea for sure! I broke up with someone during the album-making process. That was probably the biggest event that happened. But that particular song was more about crawling back to your bad behaviors more so than a specific person.
Do you feel like now you have that will power not to go back to your bad behaviors?
No! (Laughs). Writing a song does not change who you are. I think that is something I really had to learn, writing a song about something you don’t like about yourself doesn’t change that thing about yourself, you have to actually change the thing. It is so annoying! Songwriting definitely helps me to figure out how I feel and get really specific about the details of what it is.
You do a really great job of facing dark realities without self-deprecating. Is it sometimes difficult to be open without getting too low?
I think the ugliest saddest darkest parts of me I keep to myself. They don’t exist in songs, it’s too sad. What works best for me and music is when there is some tension where I feel I’m striving or longing for something – makes for my best songs. But what I think is hardest for me is when I just don’t want anything. So I make the music I would enjoy playing on tour and for my own psyche, I couldn’t play sad songs for an hour.
What is one message or overlying intention you want people to take away from this album after listening?
I don’t think there is an overt ‘hit you on the head’ message with this project, but something I do want people to take away is, I want them to feel their lives are special and beautiful and that however big or small they think their world is, my music makes it feel huge and magical. And I think all music should make you feel that way. Like holy shit, I’m alive! And to feel not alone.
Are there any artists you’d like to work with in the near future?
I really want to make a song with Paula Cole.
Any upcoming projects or tours that we can look forward to?
We will be announcing something very soon just gotta wait on it 🙂
Words by Gustavo Oliver
Photography: Tina Chiou