In addition to being one of Kansas City's brightest musical lights as a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, ;Miki P is a staunch advocate for fellow aspiring local musicians. After seven years as drummer and vocalist for the much-beloved band American Slim, Miki P is proving herself as a versatile solo musician. Her debut album under her own name, Dome of Swallows, has been described as "a nugget of excellent music". In this interview, Miki describes what she's learned so far from going solo and what's she's currently listening to reading. Enjoy!
Introduce yourself. Describe your music for new listeners.
Hello! My name is Miki P and I'm an artist living in Kansas City creating original music to make your heart sing and swell all at the same time. I say my writing has lyrics that reflect on my life experiences as well as melodies that hit the heart, my music is for those who love to listen and get lost in the story.
Talk a little about recording your first solo album, Dome of Swallows. What did you learn that you’ll take to future projects?
It was such a dream come true to record Dome of Swallows. I've recorded music before for/with other groups (a big one is American Slim, I was the drummer/singer for 6 years!) but nothing compared to this experience. I learned so much. I grew so much, as an artist and a person. Once we started recording and really got into the process, it just felt like I had finally found my voice. So special, I'm grateful I was able to do it at this time in my life.
As for the future I learned a lot of what not to do, haha. It was my first time putting together a project this big and I realized shortly getting into it that I hadn't really planned anything out, with the exception of my songs I had written. I learned how important it is to stay organized, while still letting the art have its space to flow in the yin and yang of creating art while also being a professional.
I love that you give time and space on your website to interviewing and sharing the music of other local artists you admire. How did this idea come about?
Thank you! I love the Kansas City music scene, through and through. Most of the people in it I have looked up to for years and now I feel so lucky to be working and playing beside them. My album release show for Dome of Swallows featured seven female openers, so I started a video/blog series focusing on each of them and released one each week leading up to the show to promote for it. I would love to continue it and keep writing the blogs but they take a lot of time, maybe I will get back to it one day..
Describe your creative process. How often are you writing songs? How do you move through creative blocks?
My creative process varies on how I'm feeling/how busy I am/life. Sometimes I sit behind the piano, guitar, or ukulele and have a full song in thirty minutes, other times it's over days that I work on something only to come up with four lines. I try to keep my process natural and never force anything.
Lately I've been writing songs like crazy! I'm nearly done with an entire next album at this point, but I definitely go through dry periods. Sometimes it's months without finding inspiration. That's not the case right now, fortunately and my flow has never felt better. As for the blocks, I just try to take it easy on myself and experience life for what it is in that moment.
Besides, I wouldn't have songs if I weren't truly living during those times.
What music are you currently raving about?
I've been listening to so much music! I can't recommend the new Punch Brothers album All Ashore enough. I've probably listened to it about 30 times now, no joke. So good. I saw them at the Kauffman Center a couple weeks ago and was absolutely blown away, they create such an atmosphere with their natural acoustic instruments and voices. I've also been listening to Jon Batiste's new album Hollywood Africans. It's an incredible, raw piece of art. It would be a dream to shake his hand! Last but not least, my favorite new artist is Jade Bird, she's a 20 year old songwriter and I love her approach and to her words and attention to detail in her EP Something American.
What’s ahead for you for the rest of 2018 and into 2019?
I have a lot of plans, with music videos coming out until the end of the year and then new music early 2019. I'm collaborating with other KC artist lately, so plenty of new music happening/being created around the city. I just joined a project called Two Lions which I play drums in and we will be releasing new music soon. I'm hoping to travel more as well, I'm ready to share my music with other parts of the country and meet other humans! The sky isn't even the beginning of my limit, I have so many ideas and I can't wait to share them over these next couple months.
Here are my recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog: The first is a book I read as a child that has ultimately stuck with me in my adult life called The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It's an excellent read for any person of any age & tackles a lot of obstacles while explaining lessons in resilience and imagination. A journey from start to finish with out a dull moment. Another book, that a good friend actually recommended for me to read, is The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. It takes a look into the life of Pooh Bear and breaks it down that his outlook runs a parallel with Tao beliefs/ideals. It's really beautiful and is jam packed with meaningful phrases, as well as memorable moments & lessons between the friends of the hundred acre wood. As for music from the catalog I would give the Preservation Hall Jazz Band a listen; they have meaningful roots here in Kansas City jazz scene and their music is incredible!