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INTERVIEW WITH MIMI PAGE
By Betty Davenport
Mimi Page is an eclectic singer/songwriter and producer. Her unique style blends ethereal dreamy soundscapes with melodic, thought provoking vocals and has been compared to the likes of Portishead, Enya and Fiona Apple. After self-releasing several EPs, her single “This Fire” went viral after debuting on MTV’s The Real World charting #1 on Amazon.com and #11 on iTunes’ electronic charts. Mimi has also collaborated with and been remixed by some of the top producers in electronic music including Bassnectar, Bare, Phrenik, Minnesota, Omega, Skytree and Shotgun Radio. Mimi is actively scoring independent films along with licensing original songs to film and television. Her debut full length album “Breathe Me In” featuring co-producer Warren Huart (The Fray, Aerosmith) released February 14th on UK label Hunter Records.
Betty: When did you first start singing and writing songs and tell us a little about your background.
Mimi: I first learned the piano at five. My grandmother was a concert pianist and she taught me piano. Ever since I learned the piano I was writing music. Music is just a gift for me. I always wrote minor keys which is kind of funny because when I look back on my recordings at six and seven it was very dark and moody. It was in high school that I got into electronic music. I went to a specialized music academy in Los Angeles. I had an electronic music class which taught me how to record myself. I never really thought I had a good voice. The musical theater department in my high school was kind of big on Broadway belting and my voice was very soft so I kept to myself. I had a passion for singing though so started recording myself and made some demos. My final project in high school was an album so I decided to put my music up on MySpace. I slowly started gaining a following with those first recordings I did in high school.
Betty: That goes into my next question – did you receive formal training?
Mimi: Yes, I was classically trained in music school. I actually majored in recording engineering in college. I wanted to get away from the formal structure of music and learn more of the techniques of recording so I could build my own studio and produce myself. In this day and age it’s really tough in this economy when you’re an up and coming artist to afford studio time, so I wanted to be able to cheaply build my own studio and produce my own albums which I did with “Breathe Me In”.
Betty: You have a unique style to your music, how did your style evolve and where do you get your inspirations?
Mimi: I’ve always wanted to be a film composer. Eventually, that’s my goal and I do that on the side, but I also love singing and writing songs. In high school I was really into Radiohead and Fiona Apple. I love Seal as well. There are so many great songwriters out there that inspire me. I personally look at music in a different way, where the songs are not always pop structured. I like to experiment and mix sounds together. I have a large library of unique and interesting samples that sound like live instruments. All this has inspired my way of writing. I am very cinematic in my approach to music. I want to create a mood and an atmosphere for my listener. My records are like “soundscapes”, an escape for the listener.
Betty: Who are your major influences?
Mimi: I draw a lot of inspiration from the electronic music community right now. I just wrote a song with Bassnectar who I’ve been listening to since I was in college. Our song is called “Butterfly” which is on his new album ‘Vava Voom’. I got to mix my style with his, so it’s a really dreamy track even though it’s still technically dubstep.
Betty: What was it like opening for Jefferson Starship and tell us the story about how they contacted you.
Mimi: That was amazing! It was a chance of a lifetime really. I had sent a few demos to Sirius/XM Radio and ended up getting accepted. It was amazing because I went from being an obscure artist writing music in my apartment to having a couple of songs streaming on Sirius/XM. Jefferson Starship’s manager heard one of my songs “This Fire” and contacted me. We opened for them and I was really nervous because the generation gap is so huge and our styles are very different. It was amazing because I sold out of all my CDs the first night on tour because their fans were just so awesome and accepting. What we have in common is that we are both psychedelic in our approach to music. I am more psychedelic electronic and they are more psychedelic rock. I became good friends with Paul Kantner on tour. He turned seventy one on one of the dates that I opened for them. He really inspired me because he’s dedicated his entire life to music.
Betty: Tell us about your collaboration project “Butterfly” with Bassnector.
Mimi: Like I said earlier, I listened to Bassnectar all throughout college. I’ve been remixed by quite a few Producers/ DJs in the past year and Lorin ended up spinning one of my songs “A Bad Place” at his live show. I reached out to his management and thanked him for playing my song. I thought it was going to end there but he called me out of the blue one day. He said he really liked my voice and wanted to write a song together for his new record. Three months later we ended up with “Butterfly”. Vava Voom debuted at number thirty four on Billboard, and number one on Itunes. I am so proud to be a part of that project and really happy that his fans liked our song.
Betty: What other collaboration projects are you working on?
Mimi: I just finished a song called “Let Go” with a dubstep artist named Kezwik. He’s only sixteen years old and he’s got such incredible ideas and production technique at such a young age. The song is doing pretty well on the Beatport charts, so I’m very excited to be a part of his blossoming career.
Betty: Your music has been progressing into the film and television industry. Tell us about some of these projects.
Mimi: I had a few songs licensed to MTV and a bunch of different reality shows like The Real World and The Kardashians. On the film composing side I’ve been writing for a sci-fi television series called ‘Tyranny’.
Betty: Have you started planning your next album?
Mimi: Actually I wrote so many B sides for ‘Breathe Me In’ that I already have half an album done but I need to perfect them. I play a lot of these live. I have a song called “Black and Blue” that I play live. It’s probably my favorite song that I’ve written so far. I want ‘Breathe Me In’ to have it’s time first before I completely launch a new record though.
Betty: Any advice for young ladies starting out in music?
Mimi: Yes I do actually! It’s very important to find your own voice and identity and do that before you really decide to move into the industry. Be unique because there are so many artists out there and the worst thing is to sound the same as everybody else. It reduces the competition in the industry if you are different. Be yourself and believe in yourself.
Betty: Is there anything else you would like to share with us that we haven’t talked about?
Mimi: Yeah, I am excited about my live shows. I’m adding visual art and I have a director who is making short films and ambient visuals to be displayed when I perform. So it is going to a cinematic and visual experience on top of the audio. I wanted my live shows to be a dreamworld where people can escape and disappear into.