With her first full-length release forthcoming, Ethos caught up with the performer Mimika Muscillo about her creative processes, passions, and life after lockdown.
COVID-19 lockdown was a creative time for Canadian singer and songwriter, Mimika Muscillo. The Ontario native, who’s about to turn 22, says she wrote the entirety of her new project during lockdown, much of it over Zoom sessions with her collaborators.
“I’m really lucky and grateful that I got to continue creating and doing what I love,” Muscillo, who performs under her first name only, told Ethos over email. “Lockdown gave me a lot of time to figure out what music I really wanted to make and then actually make it.”
A recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Muscillo has been writing stories since childhood, fueled by a home filled with poetry and music. She launched a mix-tape series in 2020, aimed at capturing distinct emotions in each one. Her first full-length release launches later this year.
‘Everything Has Deeper Meaning’
Muscillo says her music is a “layered listening experience.”
“When you first listen you’re usually going to notice upbeat production, catchy melodies, and a bunch of vocal production,” she says. “As you listen again you’ll probably pay more attention to the lyrics and see that there’s a lot more to my songs than just the way they sound. Everything has deeper meaning and intention to it.”
That deeper meaning permeates the artist’s life. Muscillo went vegetarian in high school after a sports injury that left her with a lot of side effects. That sent her on a journey of food discovery. “It’s been so amazing and I don’t think I’ll ever go back,” she says.” Now she’s more invested in ingredients and what she eats than ever before.
Her music is a lot like that conviction, too.
“I think my ethos is a huge informant of my art. I’m a very positive, happy person and I try to spread light and positivity in my life but, there’s a lot going on under the surface,” she says.
Songwriting (and Rewriting)
“Sometimes a song is perfect the way it first comes out of your soul but other times it needs a little help.” Muscillo says a professor once told her that writing is really just a lot of rewriting, and it’s a process she’s embraced.
She’s carved out a sound that nods to her inspirations like Jon Bellion, Julia Michaels, and, Britney Spears, who Muscillo says has been her idol “literally my entire life.” A fan of Scandinavian fashion, she says bright colors, fun silhouettes, and Copenhagen fashion week also provide inspiration that funnels into the music.
But her style is also uniquely her own, reflected in the forthcoming single “Bandaid.”
Bandaid, the singer says, is one of her most favorite songs she’s ever written. “It’s about mental health and my journey with it,” she says. “I was really struggling in December/ January and I started trying all of these coping mechanisms that I would hear worked for other people, but nothing was working for me. I was looking for a quick fix, a catch-all, a ‘bandaid’ to make me feel better and I realized that working on yourself and your mental health takes time and energy and work.”
For Muscillo, art and life are all about taking risks.
“I think it’s important to tell real and honest stories even if they aren’t super happy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dress it up in a beautiful way,” Muscillo says. “That’s the essence of who I am as a person and it’s completely reflected in my art.”
Learn more about Mimika on her website.