Describe your music in three words.
What’s the earliest musical experience that inspired you to pursue music professionally – that “I want to do that” moment?
A college admissions audition for theater that required singing. I performed “ Somewhere over the Rainbow” and was accepted to the conservatory on the spot. Something magical happened to my body - it felt like I belonged in it, and the atmosphere of the room shifted. I’ve been finding ways to relive that moment ever since.
You released your debut album, “Elliyahu” in September of 2017 to great fanfare and accolades. Your lead single, “16 Shots,” was featured all over Spotify and other digital media outlets, as well as touted by some noteworthy music peers, such as Christian Scott. Since then, what have you been working on or working toward?
I’m excited to take some time off, to transition into motherhood. I’ve been performing weekly multiple times a week for nearly 10 years now, and my writing has been affected by the hustle of New Orleans gigin lifestyle. There’s new music to share and I want to give it its propers before I just churn it out for the sake of staying on the radar. I’m committing myself to the incubator stage, and I’m proud of myself for not being too anxious about what’s next.
Allen Toussaint once stated, “Music is everything to me short of breathing. Music also has a role to life you up-not to be escapist but to take you out of misery.” With that said, how has music gotten you through hard times in your life?
The only reason why I’ve been performing for all these years is because of the transformative experience music brings to my being and those that are open to share in the experience. I’m not built to be a performer, on paper. With all the diagnoses and the trauma, I don’t even fit the bill of someone with enough nerve to be on anybody’s stage. Music erases the stigma and makes the stage a safe space, for me it has been a means of survival.
When you hear the phrase “Music for the Mind,” what does it mean to you on first impression?
Clearing. We focus on the heart a lot but there’s an area between the heart and the mind that gets murky. One could have the greatest intentions in the heart and be swayed by doubt and delusion in the mind. I think inherently hearts are pure, it’s the mind that houses the unhealthy habits, negative self talk, and just down right chemical imbalances that need the most care and attention. Clearing out the cobwebs through music can help renew the mind or atleast provide a reprieve.
In addition to music as a cathartic measure, what are other resources or coping skills that you use to care for your mental health?
The river. I can’t swim, sitting as close as I possibly can near a body of water that could overtake me and render me helpless, but soothes and shows me compassion instead of swallowing me up, provides great relief to me and teaches me how to treat myself. My mind can be a very dangerous place for me to dwell at times, but it’s beautiful… it’s my internal river.
Here’s a fun one: You’re singing karaoke on an off-night – what’s your go-to song?
“Say A Little Prayer For You” (by Aretha Franklin). I’ve never done karaoke before but I’d like to live out the scene from ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding.’
Any final thoughts/comments you’d like to share regarding these questions, music, mental health, both combined, or anything at all?
What we listen to when we are at our breaking points matter. What we feed our minds sonically matters. We can’t agree that music can heal and not also acknowledge that some music can send us spiraling into a deep end. It’s a hard challenge but I try not to listen to the song that reminds me of that devastating old love, or triggers a violent experience. I’m learning not to torture myself through music. There’s room for all our emotions and we shouldn’t deny any of them, but we should be mindful of when we’re wallowing in the muck hiding behind a relatable song.
Mykia Jovan is a New Orleans-born-and-bred songwriter, vocalist, performer, and community activist. Her most recent album, “Elliyahu,” garnering her accolades from renowned artists near-and-far, thousands of Spotify plays and playlist features, and major national festival appearances, Mykia’s music is a powerful blend of RnB, soul, pop, and sometimes even folk and rock elements to create a channel for poignant, pertinent lyricism. You can hear and learn more from Mykia at:
Official Website: https://www.mykiajovan.com/