Mieka Pauley: Interview
By: Lauren Jonik
As most artists recognize
early on in the development in their craft, creating is a necessity,
not a luxury. It becomes a way of navigating both the world and
life itself. But,
the roadmap is one that's dotted with mountains and valleys, as
the endless road beckons forever onward. For Mieka Pauley, traveling
on that path is something that's more than just metaphorical. For
the past several years, Mieka has spent much of her time criss-crossing
the north and southeast and the midwest bringing her engaging songs
and demonstrative performances to those who meet her along the way.
With vocals that rise like rings of smoke into the air, her songs
allude to the fire just beneath the surface. As she sings in Bravely:
Do it bravely, save me from the weak and lazy. If you can't face
it, don't do it all.
Though she has been
singing since she was a child, it wasn't until being influenced
by her time in Cambridge, MA while attending Harvard that Mieka
Pauley realized the possibility of performing as a profession. "When
I was tiny, I remember making up songs and singing them into household
appliances like they were microphones," she recalls. Those imaginary
practice sessions became real when Pauley decided to try her hand
at street performing after having witnessed other musicians doing
it for four years. "Being surrounded by that made the transition
easier. I think street performing could be a foreign concept for
people who aren't exposed to it. The idea is that you've got to
build your audience just on the basis of your performing because
nobody's there. They're just walking by. It teaches you how to perform
And, that includes New York City. Playing frequently at The Living Room and the Rockwood Music Hall, Pauley has built a solid fanbase of familiar faces who return again and again. "Those place feel like my home since I keep going back there." Appreciating the responsiveness of NYC audiences, Pauley values the welcome she has received. "I'm surprised at how receptive New York is, but I think their reputation incorrectly precedes them. They're a lot more open. They're going out and seeing music. Everywhere you look, people are at shows."
Currently working on her new album, Mieka Pauley is pleased with how the project is progressing and is eying a late summer release. "It's going great- I'm so happy. A friend of mine, Brian Cassagnol from the Boston band Harriet Street, is producing the album. I love collaborating with him on a musical level. It's so great to see what he does with songs that before had not been fleshed out outside of me, " Pauley explains. With many miles and countless hours on stage now under her belt, Pauley is anticipating that her next collection of songs will be "more artistic and more actual incarnations of my songs and music." She states that the working on her CD has been a chance to discover what her sound really is.
Oh to take sorrow and use it as a crutch / And have all you need and never know it as such / Oh to want the warmth of fire and get the burn of its touch. . . " Pauley sings in Devil's Got My Secret, one of three new tracks from her recent recording sessions being sneak-previewed on: myspace.com/mieka To get a taste of her songs live, both new and old, Pauley will be performing at the Rockwood Music Hall on June 28, 2007 at 9pm.
originally appeared in IndieSoundsNY
(Issue #24 July 2007). Photo by Lauren Jonik. Reprinted with permission.