Happy first AOTW of 2017! To kick off the year, we’re bringing you a week of content from Houston native MIEARS. Keep on reading to see what the electro-pop singer has to say about her start and where she wants to go. To stay up to date with all things MIEARS, check out her Soundcloud, and keep an eye out for her new EP, Who Will Save You? , out February 17th!
1. Introduce yourself!
My name is Michelle Miears and my self-produced solo project is called MIEARS. I am also in a band called BLSHS. I love to write and produce synth-based electronic pop songs. I am extremely passionate about music and creating music, and I spend hours working on and enjoying music each week. Outside of music, my other passion is advocating for and helping homeless animals, and I volunteer regularly at Montgomery County Animal Shelter.
2. How did you get started in music?
I started making and playing music at the age of 10 with my best friend Heather. She taught me the basics of playing piano, and we would hang out in her room for hours, writing and recording songs that we wrote on her karaoke machine. From that point, I taught myself to play piano by ear and went on to play flute and snare drum in band through high school. I always loved learning and playing new instruments, and I always loved to sing. My grandparents also inspired me to play from a young age, as they always had instruments around and they both played in bands for a huge portion of their lives. My grandpa was in a band called The Sparkles and my grandma and grandpa played together in a band called The Branded Four. Eventually my love for music overtook me, and I decided that I would take it to the next level by collaborating with other musicians, putting my voice out there and moving past my stage fright, and creating and playing music any chance that I could get. I had a moment where my performance anxiety and self doubt were outweighed by my overwhelming desire to be a part of music in a bigger way, so I went for it.
3. What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
My favorite part of the creative process is the portion when the song has been composed and written, and I start to dive into the details of the song’s production. I love polishing and designing sounds, making critical decisions on arrangement, adding or removing instrumental parts, and putting the finishing touches in the vocal production. In my opinion, the little details make a huge difference. Sometimes I will add one little vocal accent or a small synth part that makes me think “this is exactly what the song needed”. I loving working through the details, and then listening to the track in my car. At that point, I can critique my work and dive back in during my next session.
4. You definitely have a unique style – for somebody who is just starting to listen to your music, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is emotive, melodic, and intended to be a synth-driven soundscape. I always strive for epic and emotional melodies and love for all of them to intertwine to become something that you can lose yourself in.
5. Who are your biggest musical influences?
My biggest musical influences are self-produced women such as Imogen Heap, Grimes, Lights, Bjork, Bat For Lashes, and anyone similar. I love discovering new self-produced acts. My most recent discovery is an artist called Psychic Twin and three self-produced women called KING. I am totally inspired by these strong women who have worked so hard to create their own identity and sound in such a male-dominated space.
6. Any non-musical influences?
I am very lucky to have a family in which my grandparents and parents have all shown me an example of the importance of hard work and dedication. My Granny never stopped chasing her dreams and always had a child-like energy that fueled her to live her life to the very fullest. My Gippy and my Papa are the most loving, selfless people I have ever met, and two of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. My Nana is the epitome of strength and love. They all embody traits that I strive to reflect in myself. Also, if I end up being a fraction of the amazing person that my mom is, I would be so proud. She is amazing and she is my rock!
7. How do you think being involved in the Texas music scene has influenced your own music?
I have been greatly influenced by the Texas music scene, and more specifically, by Houston’s music scene. Houston has an incredible, thriving music scene that I am extremely proud to be a part of. Houston’s music scene has influenced me to work hard, to support and be a part of a community, and to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am encouraged daily by my peers in music who are achieving amazing feats and who are pushing boundaries with their creativity and their tenacity. The Suffers are a great example of a Houston-based band who has worked extremely hard to achieve extraordinary success. They are successful, but have remained humbled and grounded in their Houston-roots. Kam Franklin is a true star who continues to support her fellow Houston musicians, and she regularly encourages everyone in our music community to keep following their dreams. I love looking up to artists like Kam who encourage me to keep pursuing my own dreams and to be fearless in doing so.
8. Tell us a little bit about your newest single “Directional”!
Directional was the first song that I finished on my EP, so it was symbolic for me, as it was kind of a victory of sorts. When I started this EP, I had a very basic skill set within Logic. Creating Directional was a learning experience for me, as I was on a major learning curve throughout the process. Emotionally, the song was written at a time when someone close to me was drifting off into depression. I was feeling desperate to guide this person back to the light, and back to a happy place. Waiting for a loved one to find their way through depression is a difficult position to be in, but I know that the depressed individual is going through a much more difficult time. When I wrote this song, I was hoping to be the light at the end of their tunnel. I have co-dependent tendencies in relationships, and I was definitely putting too much of the weight on my shoulders and assuming I could be the hero. I have learned that this typically is not the case, and usually just being there and waiting it out is the best thing that you can do. This song was kind of my plea at the time, letting them know that I was there.
9. What’s been your favorite music related memory so far in your career? Last Saturday, I played my first show as MIEARS at a small, private house show here in Houston. I played with another solo female artist called Black Kite, whom I greatly admire. The energy of last Saturday’s show was incredible; all of the attendees in the crowd were so warm and supportive. Vicki from Black Kite gave me so much strength and confidence with her words of encouragement and by being there in the front row, dancing to all of my songs as I performed. I was incredibly honored for this to have been my first show as MIEARS, and I could not have asked for a better, more positive experience. This show gave me some wind under my wings, and encouraged me greatly for the road ahead.
10. What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
I am looking forward to sharing my EP, Who Will Save You?, and playing the songs live. I already have four or five new songs written and in various stages of production, so I am looking forward to creating my next EP as well, as this is already on my agenda. I am really just looking forward to continuing on my journey in music and learning as much as I possibly can about production and improving my skills and techniques.
11. Favorite album of all time?
Imogen Heap – Speak for Yourself
12. Favorite song to sing in the shower?
Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek
13. Any interesting pre-show routines?
I wear the same exact jewelry at every show, so I always put my lucky jewelry on before I hit the stage; this includes a lucky penny that is always on me when I perform. I also drink throat coat tea, do some funny sounding vocal warm-ups, and read through my lyrics before I play. Sometimes I do ballet bar exercises as well, to calm my nerves. I guess I have a lot of interesting pre-show routines 🙂
14. Current must-listen to songs?
Rennen – SOHN, Stop in Time – Psychic Twin, Lips – The xx, Why I Love – Shy Girls.
15. If you could collab with anybody for any part of the creative process, who would it be?
Definitely Imogen Heap; she is my absolute favorite artist and she handles every single part of the writing, production, and post-production process herself, other than mastering. I could learn infinite things from her.