Mila J Talks Her Prince Influence, the Need for Girl Groups &...

Mila J Talks Her Prince Influence, the Need for Girl Groups & Explains Her Roots in the '213,' Talks

127
0

Mila J Talks Her Prince Influence, the Need for Girl Groups & Explains Her Roots in the '213,' Talks news

She may not have a full-length album on record yet, but Mila J’s not new to this. Growing up in a music-loving family, Mila commit to her craft at an early age. But if you ask her, it was Prince who initially inspired her; she even appeared in The Purple One’s “Diamonds and Pearls” video in 1991. Learning to rap, sing and write songs took time, but by 12 years old, the Los Angeles-born musician was singing and dancing back-up for groups like Immature.

Under the tutelage of Chris Stokes, founder of The Ultimate Group and the man responsible for acts like Omarion, Sevyn Streeter and even Mila’s sister, Jhené Aiko, young Mila experienced the ups and downs of the music industry. But after signing a new deal with Universal Motown, Mila is finally coming into her own. And Mila’s EP 213 is paying homage to her roots in the City of Angels.

There’s no question you’re a ’90s kid. People can just tell by your swag. Your new project is heavily influenced by one of hip-hop and R&B’s greatest eras. What inspired that this time around?

Mila J: That music has always been nostalgia for me. So, I wanted to incorporate that into the sound.

The first track, “Oohwee,” sounds wholly original, but you incorporated an R&B classic that goes far beyond the ’90s for the second track.

That particular sample – [Kool & the Gang’s 1974 hit “Summer Madness”]- brings me back to childhood growing up…ever since I saw Boys N the Hood.

The video that supplements “Kickin’ Back” takes you right back to the days of Doughboy, Ricky and Tre. Were you looking to use that single to recall an iconic West Coast era?

That was something that was important to me for the visual. (The Internet has a lot of perks and pros, but at the same time because everything comes out digital, that effort towards videos is more laxed now. [People] think, ‘Oh, it’s just gonna be on someone’s phone.’) I was like, ‘I’m gonna do a [real] video … to get people excited.’ It was really important to incorporate [that feel] for me.

“Kickin’ Back” appears alongside five other tracks on your EP, 213. The title is obviously a nod to L.A., but is there a deeper reason you decided to name the project after your hometown area code?

Well, I still haven’t put out my first album yet, so I feel like I was taking it up from where the first EP (M.I.L.A.) left off. I wanted to keep with the same theme since the first EP was made in L.A. It was kind of like a continuation to represent where in from. That’s the original area code of L.A. before 323. This [one] was more laid back vibes versus the first one. Songs one through six [are] like a typical summer in Cali.

After listening to your new music, it kind of sounds like “Friend Zone” will be the next hit. Would you agree, or are you rooting for “Kickin’ Back” to hold that spot?

It’s funny because I was actually just at [a] radio [appearance], and [“Friend Zone”] was the song that they picked. So it’s interesting because a lot of people are really gravitating towards “Friend Zone.” I got to listen to the people…so we’ll see what happens.

You’re really working to push your solo career right now, but before, you experienced lot of ups and downs in a few groups. How does that compare to being a solo artist now, working to do your own thing?

I definitely like it because I feel like you can explore and get to figure out who you are. In a group, sometimes that’s overlooked because it’s like four people, or however many people are in the group, compromising [and] trying to come to a happy medium. But when you’re solo, you get to do literally what you want to do. I still always like being in a group ’cause it’s a pact and you guys can have each others back. Somebody may be having an off day, but the other ones can pick up and make up for it. When you’re solo, it’s like if you sick, your sick. Nobody can cover you. I would day that’s probably the only downfall.

If you had the chance, would you join another group?

I’m not opposed to one. I was raised in groups. What I think is dope about groups is everyone in the group is a different individual, so your reach is dope because every one [fan] can find that one that they can relate to. I think there need to be more groups, actually. This era doesn’t really have groups.

The only real girl group that’s out right now is Fifth Harmony.

Right. Like the ones from the reality shows. And boy groups don’t exist at all anymore. I don’t even know what’s the last boy group to come out – [another one] from reality shows like One Direction?

What was it like for you to work with Jodeci on their last album?

I was just grateful to be apart of it. I actually didn’t get to go in the studio with them. Their people just kind of said that they wanted me on the song, and I was like, “For sure.” To this day, [Jodeci made] some of my favorite music ever, so I was like “Of course.” As soon as they sent [the track], I ran to the studio to record it and sent [right] it back. and they loved it. So, I was just happy to be able to say I worked with Jodeci. That’s a stamp in the book!

Speaking of your favorite male artists, you recently did a cover of Prince’s “Erotic City.” Clearly, there’s some love for and some influence from one of music’s greatest. What kind of impact has he had on your career?

That was the first artist I can remember being introduced to as a child from my father. [He’s] definitely always going to have an influence in any aspect just because he was the artist that inspired me to want to be a artist. That was the first concert my dad took me to – a Purple Rain concert. I was like one or two [years old]. Even if my music might not sound like his, I just feel like he was the person to inspire me to do music and want to be an artist. I think I’ve seen him in concert probably more than any other artist.

How did his passing impact you? When you heard that news, what did you feel?

Man, I was in shock. I was on my way to a rehearsals. Somebody sent me a text and I was like, “I can’t go to rehearsals.” It still doesn’t even really feel real. I don’t really think I processed it all yet. I went to the BET Awards [and saw their tribute], but I’m still like this is not real; he’s not dead, you know. It’s more like a denial, but his music is here forever.

You say Prince really influenced and inspired you to become an artist. But what some people may not know is that your sisters – Miyoko and Jhené – are artists too. All of you were raised with a musical background. How do you set yourself apart?

What’s cool is that we actually don’t have to try to do that; it’s just kind of natural. Growing up, we were all different. We didn’t go out of our way to be different from each other. I think that’s why it reads organically ’cause that’s just our nature’s. I’m rowdy. I’m the loud one. My older sister, she is the more organized and more serious one. And Jhené is more like the quiet, calm, mediating one. I think [that] just naturally comes out in our music choices.

You’ve worked with both of your sisters in the past, but now you’re solely focused on you. How difficult do you think it’s been to find your own way and really break through in the industry?

It’s hard. It’s a lot of work, especially now. The floodgates are open. Anyone can put their stuff out there [on the Internet], and that’s great tool, but at the same time, to stand out is that much harder because you have thousands of people that are able to be out there [at the same time]. You definitely have to be willing to put the work in because what you see on SnapChat or Instagram is literally like two percent of it. If you enjoy singing that’s one thing, but to actually be an artist as your business and as a brand, it definitely is no different than a job. You’re getting paid to create…and you’re literally getting paid to sing, and it’s like no job is better than that, [but] you have to be willing to invest and put everything into it and maybe not see a return right away. It might be years before you see that first decent check. It’s way more than just having talent.

 

 

 

source

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY