Following the release of her stunning new album Happy (Again), we were blessed with an in-depth chat with songwriter and artist Mia Schuster, to find out more about how the project came to be, her journey as a musician so far, and her hopes for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Mia – thanks for the interview, how are things where you are right now?
Hello! Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. I’m currently back home in North Dakota due to COVID, and things are starting to slowly get back to normal here. We are reopening most things with the obvious social distancing protocols and changes. It’s definitely been a bit crazy, but it’s a nice to be back on track to normal.
Congratulations on the release of Happy (Again) – beautiful sound, great songwriting. How long was this project in the making, and what does it represent for you?
Thank you so much, I really appreciate that. This project was technically in the making for a little over a year, though, many of the songs were written long before that time frame. You could say this album has basically been in the making since I was in high school, which is insane to even think about!
This album represents so much to me, but recently it’s been feeling like such a victory of all of the years of classes, lessons, gigs, writing sessions, etc. combined into one project. It’s wild to think that so much time, effort, and hard work can be condensed into a 30-minute album, but that’s honestly what it is. It’s not just a couple of songs thrown together; it took years of focus and growth and a combination of a lot of heartbreaking and heartwarming moments. And voila – Happy (Again) was born.
How long have you been making music, and how has your approach changed or evolved over time?
I started making music around 8 or 9 years old, but I didn’t seriously start to get into it until later on in high school. I’ve picked up a lot through the years that’s changed how I approach making music, but I think the biggest change would have to be letting other people into my process. I used to write alone in my room and hide everything I made from the world, whereas now I try to involve others as much as possible.
I’ve found that inviting people into my process takes the work to a much higher level and has really helped me mature as an artist. Co-writing has become one of my favorite things in the entire world – when you find a groove with another person it is pure magic. That said, it’s still nice to go back to just my guitar and I in my room. Nothing quite compares to that. But now I actually let other people hear what I’m creating!
Which song on the new album means the most to you personally, and why?
The song on the album that means the most to me would probably have to be, Sail the Sea. To start, it’s the first song I’ve ever helped produce on and release, so that was a huge accomplishment for me. However, the song itself represents so much of my personal journey and faith-walk. It just has a really special place in my heart.
The instrumental set-up is brilliantly refreshing. What would a live show from you be like – full band, solo acoustic, backing track?
I’m so glad to hear that! I really wanted this album to be a cool blend of both acoustic and pop elements; it’s awesome to hear it translated well.
For live shows I really love to keep things just that – live! Listeners can definitely expect a band experience. I’ve never been much of a track girl, but I’m still playing with what it looks like to mix sounds in a live setting so there will definitely be some experimentation with that in the future!
Who or what has been your great inspiration in wanting to create and perform in this way?
One of my biggest musical inspirations, especially when I was first starting out, would have to be Ed Sheeran. His album Plus was actually what initially made me want to become a songwriter. Then, after I saw how he performed live, I was hooked. That dude is a genius in my book. I definitely still carry some of that inspiration into my works today, along with many other amazing creators and artists that have been key in helping me discover my sound.
What’s your plan creatively now that the album is out?
I’ve had a lot of ideas stirring on what will be next, but I’m also looking forward to taking this time to grow myself more as an artist and discover new sounds and ideas that excite me. However, I do have a new song that I’m releasing with a couple of friends coming out on July 10th it’s called Keep Breathing and it will be released under the artist name A: A M. I’m pumped to get this song out there as it’s definitely a different sound than the album. It was produced by Casey Kalmenson, who also did the production on my first single, Land – she’s awesome!
What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
One of my biggest ‘little’ dreams is to quite literally sail the sea (yes, like the song)! I really just want to get on a boat and sail, no destination really. I want to see the world – just my boat, the sea, and me. I kind of need to learn how to sail first, though. Might be helpful to have that skill before taking off. Also I need a boat. But these are later issues – haha!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
To everyone reading this, I hope when you check out my album Happy (Again) that some part of you is able to connect with it’s message, and that for a moment we can just vibe together in a place of joy.
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