Louiza Ponders Social Media Pressures on Idiosyncratic 'Alone': Premiere
Rebecca Mimiaga certainly isn't the only musician, or person for that matter, who has ambivalent feelings about social media. But in her guise as Louiza she has forum to vent -- which is exactly what the eclectic San Francisco-area singer-songwriter does on "Alone," premiering exclusively below from the upcoming Louiza sophomore album Swim At Night.
"I was writing for this album and everyone was telling me to really improve my social media presence, 'Really put yourself out there and make sure you're always producing content' and all this stuff," Mimiaga tells Billboard. "And I really don't like being on my computer. I don't like this whole 'snapshot of me and what I'm doing.' I feel very private about it. In the modern age you have to be on social media. You really have to promote yourself. I get that. But...." Fortunately, Mimiaga found that outside pressure to be fertile territory for the arty, ebb-and-flow pop track.
"I kinda wrote about this modern-based struggle between what we go through every day, that as humans everybody is supposed to be an influencer, somehow," she explains. "I wanted to write about this struggle we all face, whether to completely drop your phone and be in the moment or needing to post and have this many likes -- if you're busy you're important. It's, 'Do I drop this all, and that's the ultimate rebellion?' or 'Do I pursue the modern side of myself today?' It's all about that daily kind of struggle."
Mimiaga, who teaches music by day at high schools in Marin County, says "Alone" and the rest of the independently released Swim At Night, due out April 5, was "a total joy for me to write." It does, like its predecessor, cover a lot of stylistic ground, the product of formal education (at Skidmore College and the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music) and Mimiaga's own tastes and influences.
"The truth is I've tried writing in one style, and I can't," she says. "I love so much music, and I'm very moody about it; One day I'm all about Elvis Costello and the next day I'm all about Kimbra and the next day I'm all about Wye Oak or Ella Fitzgerald. I think the theme line is I really like not knowing where my music is going to go and being a little surprised with a really good melody or really good phrasing. I tend to like things that have a little bit of a twist." And one of those twists this time was the impact Mimiaga's dance studies had on her music-making.
"I think dance has become an exercise in getting into my body," she says. "I sing from a very heady place, mostly -- 'What kind of register balance did I have here? Maybe this should be louder? Maybe this should be tender?' But when I'm dancing, it's wordless. You're feeling the tempo. You're feeling the choreographer's interpretation of that song. It's like a different angle for the music, and you're expressing it differently, with your body, and it really seemed to pull out the emotion of the songs in a way that standing there stiffly and playing didn't do before. I sing with more feeling rather than more technical prowess, or something like that."
With summer vacation from teaching approaching, Mimiaga is hoping to get Louiza on the road -- either some permutation of the band or herself performing under the name. "We're just kind of playing around in California now," she notes. "I want to keep it close and keep hitting those markets and building an audience." Eventually, however, Mimiaga, who books shows herself, would like to take Louiza further out on the road, and she's currently looking for representation as well as developing the one-woman performance that will make traveling more economical. "I do plan to do more," she says. "I'm taking an Ableton course so I can do more of a solo show and give myself the flexibility to have a band or not have a band and play some smaller spots that are not as band-friendly. I just want to find more ways for people to hear the music."