Introducing: Holly Miranda
For your listening pleasure – via Curve Magazine and AfterEllen, hailing from Detroit, by way of the centre of the hipster lesbian universe, Williamsburg, we bring you out musician lady, 11 years in the making – we bring you the ethereal, haunting sound of out musician: Holly Miranda!
I started writing [“Pelican Rapids”] during the Prop 8 stuff that was going on and we played it a little bit then, but then really started playing it live with my band on the Tegan and Sara tour last year. And you know, sometimes I’d just be looking and thinking, maybe they’re gay. Maybe they’re straight. A lot of them kind of look gay [laughs], but I’d look at them and just think about where I was when I was at that age. And how confused I felt and how I felt like I couldn’t come out. Or I couldn’t be who I was inside because of the religion that I came up in or the way people thought around me in Michigan, or whatever.
So when I sing that song I feel like I’m talking to those kids just saying it’s all right. It’s okay who you are, whatever it is. It doesn’t mean you’re anything evil or wrong. I think that’s the hardest thing to come to terms with is the feeling of feeling guilty almost because of who you are. As proud as you might be outwardly, there might still be some more questions happening inside.
From the “Sleep on Fire” EP
Vocally she reminds me a little bit of Cat Power, a little bit of Sia (but better) and someone else, but I can’t figure out who…
The music Miranda makes is influenced by what she refers to as a combination of the things she grew up listening to.
“I love Jeff Buckley and Edith Piaf and Nina Simone. I grew up on Motown,” Miranda said. But what most people compare her to are modern day chanteuses like Cat Power and Feist which she says she “hears all the time.”
“Somebody the other day told me I sounded like Joni Mitchell,” Miranda said. “What? What are you smoking? Can I have some?”
Two of the above tracks are from her last album, “The Magician’s Private Library”. She told Curve: “I also don’t even own the masters to [the album] because I didn’t pay for it. Chrysalis owned the master and now Excel owns the masters. I’ll never own that record.”
She’s been toiling away writing and recording music for over a decade, but now she wants to release a record on her own terms, retaining full creative control, DIY-style:
For each donation she receives, Miranda offers a unique “reward” to the kind giver. And if she makes more than her target, she intends giving the surplus to the I Live Here charity, which funds education projects with young people in Kachere Juvenile Centre, Malawi.
And god bless her, she’s an unrepentent hipster. But we love her anyway.
Here she is on CREEP’s latest release:
(P.S. I love that she’s worked with someone named Marques Toliver. Does Armistead Maupin know this?)
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