Mitski

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Mitski
Mitski performing at St Jerome's Laneway Festival in 2019
Mitski performing at St Jerome's Laneway Festival in 2019
Background information
Birth nameMitsuki Laycock
Born (1990-09-27) September 27, 1990 (age 30)
Japan
OriginNew York, New York, U.S.
GenresIndie rock
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • piano
Years active2012–present
Labels
Websitemitski.com

Mitski Miyawaki (born Mitsuki Laycock; September 27, 1990), known mononymously as Mitski, is a Japanese-American singer-songwriter. Mitski self-released her first two albums, Lush (2012), and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business (2013), while studying at Purchase College's Conservatory of Music. After graduating, she released her third studio album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014), through Double Double Whammy. It was followed by Puberty 2 (2016) and Be the Cowboy (2018), released on Dead Oceans.

Early life[edit]

Mitski Miyawaki was born Mitsuki Laycock[1] on September 27, 1990 in Japan to an American father and a Japanese mother.[2] While growing up she moved frequently due to her father's job at the United States Department of State, living in many countries, including Turkey, China, Malaysia, Japan, the Czech Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, before eventually settling in the United States.[3][4][5][6] She was eighteen when she wrote her first song.[7]

Career[edit]

2012-2015: Lush; Retired from Sad, New Career in Business; and Bury Me at Makeout Creek[edit]

After enrolling at Hunter College to study film, Mitski decided to pursue music instead and transferred to Purchase College's Conservatory of Music, where she studied studio compositions. During her time at Purchase College, she recorded and self-released her piano-based first and second albums, Lush (2012) and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business (2013), as student projects.[8][9][10]

After graduating, she served as the vocalist for the short-lived prog-metal band Voice Coils[11] and began work on her third studio album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, which was released on November 11, 2014, through Double Double Whammy. The album represented a sonic departure from Mitski's orchestral and classical piano background found in her first two albums, exchanging it for raw, impulsive guitar.[10] It garnered acclaim from numerous publications.[12][13][14][15]

2015-2017: Puberty 2[edit]

On December 22, 2015, Mitski signed with Dead Oceans before releasing new music the following year.[16] She announced her fourth studio album, Puberty 2, on March 1, 2016, and shared the lead single, "Your Best American Girl".[17] She released another single, "Happy", before the release of the album on June 17.[18] The album was recorded over a two-week period at Acme Studios in Westchester County, New York and was produced by longtime collaborator Patrick Hyland.[19] The album received widespread acclaim from music critics.[20] "Your Best American Girl" was named 13th best song of 2010s by Rolling Stone.[21]

In a 2016 episode of the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, her song "Francis Forever" was covered by Olivia Olson as the character Marceline the Vampire Queen.[22]

On February 21, 2017, the Pixies announced US tour dates with Mitski as a supporting act.[23] On May 1, a compilation album consisting of 100 songs by different artists titled Our First 100 Days was released. It includes Mitski's cover of One Direction's song "Fireproof". The compilation aims to raise funds for organizations that support causes threatened by Donald Trump's proposed policies.[24] Mitski played a cover of the song in 2015, but that version has since been taken down.[25] Mitski also covered Frank Sinatra's 1951 classic "I'm a Fool to Want You" for the 7-Inches For Planned Parenthood compilation album.[26] On October 4, 2017 Lorde announced Mitski will be an opening act for selected dates as part of her Melodrama World Tour.[27][2] On November 1, a short film starring Mitski called Sitting was released.[28]

black and white photo of a young Asian-American woman with shoulder-length black hair singing.
Mitski performing at a concert in Seattle in October 2018.

On April 20, 2018, Mitski teamed up with the experimental band Xiu Xiu on the song "Between the Breaths" for the soundtrack of the sci-fi comedy film How to Talk to Girls at Parties, based on the short story of the same name.[29]

2018-present: Be the Cowboy[edit]

On May 14, 2018, Mitski's fifth studio album, Be the Cowboy, was made available for pre-order without prior announcement. The lead single, "Geyser", was released on the same day alongside its accompanying music video.[30] The second single, "Nobody", was released on June 26 accompanied by a music video,[31] and the third and final single to precede the album, "Two Slow Dancers", was released on August 9 alongside a lyric video.[32] Be the Cowboy was released on August 17, through Dead Oceans.[33] It was critically acclaimed and named the album of the year by publications including Pitchfork,[34] Vulture[35] and Consequence of Sound.[36]

On tour in 2019, Mitski began incorporating choreography into her live performances inspired by Butoh, a form of dance theater developed in post-war Japan, in which "performers draw on chaotic internal emotions but depict them with precise, repetitive gestures." The approach reflected her wish to "give audiences something new" on her second headlining tour since Be the Cowboy's release, as well as a desire "to develop her own, idiosyncratic ways of maintaining a grip on an audience," since she'd learned "that the jumping around onstage, getting everyone pumped up, doesn’t come naturally to me."[37] Mitski worked with performance artist Monica Mirabile to devise the tour's "highly stylized, sometimes unsettling" movements.[38][39]

Mitski shared her new song, "Cop Car", in January 2020,[40] a never-released piece from the soundtrack of The Turning.[41] She was featured in the song "Susie Save Your Love" from Allie X's album, Cape God, released in February 2020.[42]

On October 29, 2020, it was announced that Mitski will provide the soundtrack to the graphic novel This Is Where We Fall. The sci-fi western story written by Chris Miskiewicz and Vincent Kings "unpacks themes of theology, death, and the after-life". Of the project, Mitski said "It was exciting to make a soundtrack for a comic book, It allowed me to work outside of my usual songwriting form and try to approach it like a score, but without any of the cues that come with working alongside a moving image, which ended up being both freeing and challenging. I hope the end result helps to immerse you in the story!"[43] A country song called "The Baddy Man" was released as the first preview from the soundtrack on March 5, 2021. Z2 Comics will release the album on cassette with the standard hardcover novel on May 5, 2021. A limited edition deluxe vinyl will also be released. At the moment, Z2 has no plans to put the soundtrack on streaming services.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Mitski reflects her cross-cultural identity as "half Japanese, half American but not fully either", a feeling that is often reflected in her music, which occasionally discusses issues of belonging.[5][45] In a 2016 interview with The New York Times, Mitski expressed the tension of being a private person and her discomfort with the attention that comes with being in the public eye, therefore preferring to keep her personal life private.[46]

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Work Result Ref.
2017 Libera Awards Video of the Year "Your Best American Girl" Nominated [47]
2019 Album of the Year Be The Cowboy Nominated [48]
Best Live Act Herself Nominated
Best Rock Album Be The Cowboy Nominated
Creative Packaging Nominated
Music Video of the Year "Nobody" Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Artist to Watch: Mitski". Young Hollywood. September 18, 2018. Archived from the original on May 5, 2020. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Tolentino, Jia. "The Misreading of Mitski". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on October 12, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "Meet Mitski, An Electric Folk Singer Making Sad Songs For Grown-Ups". The FADER. Archived from the original on June 1, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  4. ^ "Growing Up Mitski". The L Magazine. October 23, 2014. Archived from the original on November 11, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Puberty 2". Dead Oceans. June 17, 2018. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Mitski Episode with Hannibal Buress: Handsome Rambler". Youtube. December 21, 2017. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Talbot, Margaret (July 1, 2019). "On the Road with Mitski". ISSN 0028-792X. Archived from the original on July 3, 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  8. ^ "Taking All of Mitski". Impose Magazine. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "In Sight Out: Mitski". Pitchfork. September 19, 2017. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Donelson, Marcy. "Mitski | Biography & History". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "Voice Coils = prog metal from mems of Mitski, Roomrunner, Extra Life, Porches & more, playing 7" release show at DbA". BrooklynVegan. September 12, 2014. Archived from the original on August 12, 2018. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "Mitski:Bury Me At Makeout Creek Album Review". Pitchfork. November 14, 2014. Archived from the original on February 16, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "Premiere - Brooklyn Newcomer Mitski's Spellbinding 'I Will'". NME. October 21, 2014. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  14. ^ "Bury Me At Makeout Creek Album Review". Rolling Stone. December 18, 2014. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  15. ^ "Holding the Audience Hostage, With a Wail;Mitski Leaves Her Mark at the Knitting Factory". The New York Times. December 19, 2014. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  16. ^ "New Artist // Dead Oceans Signs Mitski". Dead Oceans. December 22, 2015. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  17. ^ "Mitski announces new album, Puberty 2, shares lead single "Your Best American Girl"". Consequence of Sound. March 2, 2016. Archived from the original on September 6, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  18. ^ "Mitski was "Happy" once on new single — listen". Consequence of Sound. May 3, 2016. Archived from the original on September 9, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  19. ^ "Q&A: Mitski Goes Back To Her Roots On Puberty 2". June 8, 2016. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  20. ^ "Reviews for Puberty 2 by Mitski". Metacritic. Archived from the original on December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  21. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s". Rolling Stone. December 4, 2019. Archived from the original on December 6, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  22. ^ "Watch Marceline Sing A Mitski Song On Adventure Time". Stereogum. Archived from the original on August 26, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Pixies Add U.S. Tour Dates With Mitski". Pitchfork. February 21, 2017. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  24. ^ "Our First 100 Days". Bandcamp. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  25. ^ "Mitski Covers One Direction's "Fireproof": Listen". Pitchfork. April 7, 2017. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  26. ^ Gray, Julia (October 19, 2017). "Mitski – "I'm A Fool To Want You" (Frank Sinatra Cover)". Stereogum. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  27. ^ Strauss, Matthew (October 4, 2017). "Run the Jewels and Mitski Touring With Lorde". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  28. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (November 1, 2017). "Mitski Stars in New Short Film SITTING". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  29. ^ Yoo, Noah (April 20, 2018). "Mitski Links With Xiu Xiu for New Song "Between the Breaths"". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  30. ^ Boilen, Bob (May 14, 2018). "Mitski Shares And Talks About New Song And Album". NPR. Archived from the original on May 14, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  31. ^ "Mitski Presents New Single, "Nobody", and Accompanying Video". Dead Oceans. June 26, 2018. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  32. ^ Daramola, Israel (August 9, 2018). "Mitski – "Two Slow Dancers"". Spin. Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  33. ^ "Be the Cowboy by Mitski on Apple Music". Apple Music. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  34. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2018 - Page 5". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on December 14, 2018. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  35. ^ Jenkins, Craig (December 3, 2018). "The 15 Best Albums of 2018". Vulture.com. Archived from the original on December 6, 2019. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  36. ^ "Top 50 Albums of 2018". Consequence of Sound. December 3, 2018. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  37. ^ Talbot, Margaret (July 8, 2019). "On the Road with Mitski". The New Yorker (July 8 & 15, 2019). Archived from the original on July 3, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  38. ^ Horn, Olivia (August 20, 2020). "Mitski Shows Off Her Moves". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 27, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  39. ^ Austin City Limits. "Mitski on Austin City Limits "Happy"". Vimeo. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  40. ^ "Mitski Shares New Song "Cop Car": Listen". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on January 22, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ Richards, Will (February 22, 2020). "Hear Allie X and Mitski team up on shiny new song 'Susie Save Your Love'". NME. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  43. ^ Droke, Carolyn (October 27, 2020). "Mitski Is Recording A Soundtrack To An Upcoming Graphic Novel". Uproxx. Retrieved March 5, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  44. ^ Gregory, Allie (March 5, 2021). "Mitski Soundtracks Sci-Fi Graphic Novel 'This Is Where We Fall'". Exclaim!. Retrieved March 5, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  45. ^ "Don't Cry for Mitski". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  46. ^ Caramanica, Jon (June 2, 2016). "Mitski's 'Puberty 2' Mines Her Scars for Raw Meaning". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 8, 2016. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  47. ^ Gensler, Andy (April 25, 2017). "Radiohead, Run The Jewels, Bonobo, King Gizzard Lead A2IM's Libera Award Noms: Exclusive". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 19, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  48. ^ "A2IM Announces 2019 Libera Award Nominees". BroadwayWorld. March 28, 2019. Archived from the original on July 26, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]