- Words Notion Staff
- Photo Credit Bryce Glenn
Mia Nicolai invites us into a world of escapist pop as she chats following her heart, pinch-me moments, go-to karaoke song, and more.
Welcome to Fresh Face, a quick-fire interview series spotlighting the best rising talents in today’s youthful music scene. From biggest pet peeves to party tricks and death row meals, we’re stripping things back from the formal Q&A format. Think of it like speed dating, but with some of the freshest music makers worth discovering.
Born in Amsterdam to a Russian mother and Dutch father, Mia Nicolai started to take music lessons at just three years old, pushing back against her music teacher’s wishes to learn classic repertoires, asking them improv with her instead.
Truly international, Mia has lived everywhere from London to Melbourne, New York, and Los Angeles, making sure to absorb every experience and channel it into her artistry.
Mia’s travels and love of escapism were reflected in her debut single “Set Me Free”, which she self-released last year. Her follow-up single “Mutual Needs” was exclusively premiered by Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 and then this year, Mia dropped “People Pleaser”, a defiant pop bop about “the journey towards finding yourself”. Now, she’s back with the single “Dream Go”, which shares the disappointment of meeting someone special, and it not turning out the way you had hoped. Mia commented: “I was in pain, it felt like the dreams I had in the relationship weren’t even close to coming to the right fruition, it hurt cos I really wanted it to work out but it somehow didn’t seem to, no matter how hard we worked at it”.
We caught up with Mia Nicolai to ask her the questions we really want to know. Dive in!
If you could bring three music icons to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would you bring?
I would bring Frank Ocean, David Bowie and Queen to the table. I feel like I would have an insane amount of fun with Freddie and David. Dancing on tables and making jokes for days. And I have a feeling Frank would watch us and laugh with and about us while writing a song about it in his head and later we would sit down and talk about some deep meanings of life and Inspire one another to be even better.
If you could revive one fashion trend, which would it be?
Fashion trends have never been my strongest suit, I kind of don’t really know what’s going on and just wear what I feel like wearing! But I did hear that I look like I am living in the ’90s so maybe it’s a good idea to use this as an answer. Let’s revive the whole era of 90s/00s Clothing!
How can an artist stay original nowadays?
I think an artist can stay original by following their heart – going inwards to find answers to the stories they wanna say. At least this is what I do. I always tap into my heart and just ask “hey do I like this ?” If my heart glows then it’s a yes and if not then I don’t do it. It’s like a moral compass for art! And each heart is unique and original so listening to it will already be more original than copying what is already in existence 🙂
What is your biggest pinch-me moment so far?
The biggest pinch-me moment was the moment when Zane Lowe premiered my second single. It was so crazy because I literally wrote it down a year earlier that I would like that to be a reality and then a year later it was. Which was so wild! I am still so grateful for this moment. It was a dream come true!
What’s your party trick?
My party trick is that I don’t drink yet I’m always the one that’s most drunk. And I’m gonna leave that one mysterious haha.
Finish the sentence: I feel happiest when…
I feel happiest when life aligns. When things go in a flow you can’t explain. You just meet the right people at the right time, there’s a certain trust you end up feeling in life when this happens which I absolutely love. I guess I feel my happiest when I trust in life! Like when I was working at a venue and Dominic Fike was playing. The drummer/producer walked up to me after the show to invite me to join drinks after and he and I became best friends and ended up working on music together. “Mutual Needs” and “Set Me Free” were both produced by him – Ryan Raines. You can’t make this story up! It was just a fantastic moment of life in flow.
What’s your favourite karaoke song?
My favorite karaoke song is “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. When I was a kid I had a Discman and the only thing I could listen to was the no doubt album and for some reason, I would always have don’t speak on repeat. I think this has been a major influence on why I wanted to be an artist/singer because the feelings I had from that song were just super real. So I guess it’s very nostalgic to me to sing that song as well as it’s just a great song to sing ha!
What does love feel like for you?
Love to me feels like bubbly chocolate milk with a strawberry on top. It feels like a glow up and it feels like everything is possible and nothing matters. Choosing to live from my heart from love sometimes gives me the feeling of flying which might sound super hippie but it’s so true! Best feeling in the world.
Which other rising artists are you loving at the moment?
Other rising artists I love are Holly Humberstone, Dora Jar, Willow Kayne and it’s not a rising artist but my friend Duncan Laurence is absolutely fantastic and about to take over the music game. All super authentic in what they do! They are creating a full world combining visuals and songs that are cohesive and authentic!
Are we alone in the universe?
I don’t know if we’re alone in the universe, I don’t want to say no because we just don’t know, do we?