What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop / r&b talent. Today's guest is singer, Mia Ayana. Mia hails from Los Angeles by way of Mississippi. The rising singer is buzzing in her hometown so we had to tap in with her. Check out the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: What's up, Mia? Your sound is dope! When did you start making music?
Mia Ayana: I started writing songs around 2015 when my grandmother died. Her death took a huge toll on me and writing songs, singing.. gave me an escape. I started pursuing it seriously around 2018/19.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope! What city do you represent?
Mia Ayana: I’m from Mississippi so it’s the South before anything but I now live in Los Angeles.
Westleaf Staff: Shout out to the Sip So how did you create your stage name?
Miya Ayana: It’s my real name. Mia was once considered a variant of Mary, my late grandmother who inspired this journey. Ayana is of Ethiopian origin and means “beautiful flower”. I think it perfectly describes me as an artist and as a person overall.
Westleaf Staff: That's a dope name. So how did your early life shape your interest in music?
Miya Ayana: I was always a loner. Growing up, reading and writing were my favorite hobbies. And singing came from my time in church. I grew up in Mississippi where gospel music was a staple and the voices around me were extremely powerful. I always had a softer voice and I was really shy so I never broadcasted my abilities. People knew I could sing and I would perform at events in high school but I didn’t gain the confidence to share my voice and the songs I wrote until later.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! So who is your biggest Musical influence?
Miya Ayana: I have several but I think the artist that really inspired me to share my voice is Jhene Aiko. Simply because she paved the way for voices like mine… Her wordplay and delivery and even the subject matter made me realize I wasn’t the only person like me.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! I feel that. Jhene's a legend! What's been the defining moment in your music career thus far?
Mia Ayana: 2019 was a defining year overall. I performed across Las Vegas that entire year, opened for Lyfe Jennings, performed at SOBs in NYC, dropped the first single I was actually proud of and gained a lot of traction with my songs. I mark that year as the real beginning of my journey.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope! So what makes you a unique artist?
Mia Ayana: I’m just me and I don’t give up.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! Never giving up is key. So what does art mean to you?
Miya Ayana: Art helped me hold on to life when I wanted to end my own so to me, art is a means of survival.
Westleaf Staff: That's deep! I'm glad you made. it through. Where do you see your music career going over the next few years?
Mia Ayana: The expectations I once had for this journey have completely changed since I started. I think ultimately I just want to keep creating music that tells my story, connect with like-minded artists/writers and just go from there. I’m not really focused on a record deal or being a global superstar. I’m just interested on being authentic to myself and letting my music speak for itself.
Westleaf Staff: I wish you much success! Before we go, describe music in three words.
Mia Ayana: Ethereal, raw, authentic.
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