“Success is a journey too. I know that you never focus on success, but instead focus on things that will make you successful, that way you keep growing and moving forward. Success will be a side effect along the way.” @MikalynHay
GETTING TO KNOW MIKALYN HAY
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and I started playing piano when I was 5. I’ve always loved music and my mom used to sing a lot, so I’ve always been surrounded by it. I don’t know what a day is like without singing. My first actual live performance was singing Irish Lullaby in front of the entire school when I was in JK at 4 years old.
I live in Guelph Ontario, Canada…
The music scene here is great! Guelph is pretty close to Toronto and Waterloo, so we can drive in when there’s a big gig. Guelph has lots of open mics too, and there’s a songwriting workshop that I attend sometimes. One of my favourite places I’ve performed in Guelph was a place called “the Sapphire.” The venue was small and intimate. It was just a really cool environment and I met a few other songwriters and musicians, which is always awesome. Some fun things I do that aren’t music related are going to the mall with my friends. We also go to the park a lot, especially in the summer.
My personal definition of success is…
Doing my best and being proud of it. If I have prepared for something, then I know I can only achieve success. Success is a journey too. I know that you never focus on success, but instead focus on things that will make you successful, that way you keep growing and moving forward. Success will be a side effect along the way.
I continue to challenge myself by…
Learning, learning, learning choir, piano lessons, vocal lessons, singing every genre, writing songs and doing covers every week, recording things in the studio, learning how to use logic pro better, figuring out how to use loopers and masteingr Instagram and social media sites. Honestly, I try to move the yardsticks every day. It’s not always super fun to sight read a new song on the piano, but I know that I need to be amazing if I want people to take time from their lives to tune into me.
I am most afraid of…
not fitting in, or of failing, like most 13 year olds do. I am also afraid to be super vulnerable and open in my writing. I know I will need to get over this hump though and I am hoping that as I get older I will conquer this.
One success story I am particularly proud of…
I would have to say it is winning that Indie International Songwriting Award. I consider it a success because the accolades came from someone outside friends and family and people in my circle. It’s so validating to have someone else tell you that something you think is pretty cool is actually pretty cool and that I am not just patting myself on the back for a job well done. I would say that “Carnival” was a success because of the collaboration and effort from people around me such as my Dad, my co-writer Paul Tarvydas, Shawn Brady and Cory Tetford and John Dinsmore. These people all pitched in their ideas and I loved that.
My overall professional and personal goal is…
to write songs and make music that makes people want to listen. I want to have lots of good friends to share the ride with together. I want a family that helps me out just enough so that I can squeeze into doors myself, but not open them all the way for me. I want to be a singer and songwriter. That’s what I want to be for my day job!!
I would love to have five minutes with…
Melanie Martinez because she’s so different. There’s nobody like her. She’s created a character that’s weird and different and seems to have struck a chord with tons of girls like me. One song of hers called “Doll House” that I covered is by far my most popular SoundCloud listing. I had no idea when I did it in my basement on my little keyboard that kids would relate to it. Melanie took her opportunity from the voice and has been able to jump at it. I would love to talk to her about all of that. Plus I am a huge fan of her music and quirky songs. However, this is possibly the hardest question here.
I challenge myself to move forward towards my goal by…
1) Writing more songs this year than last year, which was about 16. This way, I can get faster and better at it. I don’t want to be intimated by the process.
2) Improving my piano chops. There is no reason that I can’t be a highly skilled piano player, which will only help me realize more songs.
3) Building partnerships with people that have way more talent than me in everything from music to running a business. I can’t do it all on my own, so I have to explore partnerships with people that I can learn from.
is one of my song that started as a chorus. I was about to put it away after that for a whole. I’m a part of the “SAC” and was doing their songwriting challenge, and the category was pop song, so, we, my Dad, cowriter on most of my music, Paul Tarvydas and I, brought it back! The chorus was hooky and fun and so we built a song that built on the Carnival metaphor. It is about how life has ups and downs and is certainly unpredictable. I felt the song had teeth and so Shawn Brady, so he started working on it with us and we had a lot of fun taking it from a girl sitting at a piano to a indie rock anthem. A funny experience was during the recording with Shawn at the second studio we worked at (Lincon County Social Club), the plumbing backed up. We were going to not go, but we ended up going anyways because I had taken the day off school and my dad took off work. Surprisingly, we got used to the smell. We also have a video for the song that was shot by a local artist who told us we needed to make a video for the song. The result was beautiful.
Plans for the Fall…
I’m hoping to start writing enough for an EP in the next year! As of right now, I’m just focusing on writing as much as I can. I have a few songs that I’m working on at the moment. The new music is pretty significant to me because it’s all my own music, which means a lot to me, and I’m trying to make it relatable to everyone. Since I’m only young, I’m still experimenting with my sound. Ultimately, if I do an EP, I want all the music to be relatable and well-written. I want it to be the kind of music that people listen to and that makes them think of their own experiences. I want to make music that makes people feel something. I am lucky to have started writing young so it comes pretty quickly. Recently, at an open mic night, I had people come up after I performed two songs and ask me if would be so kind to let them know the original artist because they wanted to download them. I had to tell them 2-3 times that the songs were actually mine. Another cool thing is that the award winning national champion youth choir I belong to will be arranging 3 of my songs including “Carnival” and will be performing them live.
The music business can be tough…
I haven’t had much experience in the music business yet, so I don’t know as many pros and cons, but from what I hear, it can be very cutthroat. One of the toughest parts is getting out there. Getting your name heard, and making sure people know you exist is hard. I have gone to a few workshops about the business and I am trying to figure out a way to navigate my way through it all. Lately, I have been getting many requests from other songwriters to sing their material. I am trying to do it all and I am still learning a lot, which is my focus. I realized that there are not too many 13 years old singers and songwriters on the radio. Maybe I can be the first ha ha! I am not in a rush. I just want to keep making progress and making good choices on how to develop into the best singer and songwriter I can be. There are so many roads to take and many will have dead ends. I am trying to avoid those.
Releasing single vs albums…
I’ve only ever released a single and from what I can read, that seems to be the way to go for new artists. I would love to have 10 amazing songs to release one day. I just want the songs to be excellent. I set a high bar for myself with “Carnival” since I love that song. I want to love all my songs as much or more.
Music marketing is where I need help…
I am not trained in marketing and I know it is such a separate piece from making the music. I know it is very important. I hope I can partner with someone who, like me, is willing to work for free in the start-up phase and we can build a brand together. I know that I have to focus on writing and recording and getting my music out there. Right now, I have been putting out new covers every week on youtube. None are viral yet, but that’s not the point. It’s important for me to establish routines that anchor in good habits. If I have good habits and capacity, if and when something I do gets popular, I will be a workhorse and I will be ready for it!!
There is too much emphasis on being current and trendy…
Everyone is trying to be perfect . Here is a line from a song I am writing.
Blonde hair Blue eyes
Just fake faces
Loose lips and lies
Boring blah blah
I am probably going to be 6 foot 2 and I don’t think I will ever fit into conventional molds. I love hanging around people who are confident with themselves, whatever their preferences are, as long as they are good people inside. Because I am young, I am still experimenting with my sound, with the idea that I want it to sound amazing. I don’t think I am influenced by trends too much because I have actually witnessed many trends in my lifetime.
Creating my music and videos…
I keep it pretty simple. I just record live off the floor and use a canon rebel digital single-lens reflex camera to capture the video. I record the audio in Logic Pro, which I barely know how to use, and then put the video from the camera together with the audio from Logic Pro using iMovie. I do want to make better videos with time, but right now I think it’s a good compromise. “Carnival” on the other hand was recorded with the help of some people that knew what they were doing, which was an amazing experience. It still started with me sitting at an old upright piano, playing the song and recording it, but then we got to layer in the vocals and other intstuments one at a time. There is even a 1970 Moog Synth in the song that sounded like a boat motor that I had to tune first before I could play it.
The video of “Carnival” was shot outside at sunset in a natural park with my friends and two younger sisters. Aaron Soch, a local videographer, did the filming. He is excellent. For fun, he is interviewing me every 6 months or so and may one day make a documentary on my experience trying to make my way into the music business. It Is way too early to tell if the story is one of success or failure ha ha. I don’t look at it that way though. I am having so much fun, so regardless of outcomes, I vote for success. Lately, for my logic pro audio recordings, I have been getting help from David Reilly to do a quick mix and masters, which really brings a nice bounce to my audio. I advise people to do this because they are experts and can save you a ton of time for very low costs.
I like social media because…
I feel like it’s a great way to get yourself out there. I’ve found a few of my favourite singers on there, like the artist Halsey, and started following her because I liked her Instagram feed. Soon enough, I had bought her EP, CD, concert tickets and a tee shirt just because I had pressed the follow button. That’s what I find really cool. One thing I don’t like is how people can hide behind anonymous identities to send hate. I’ve had hate sent to me on YouTube, but so have lots of people. One of the challenging things is being able to ignore the rude comments, but the comments only make me have thicker skin, so in a way, everything has a bright side.
I am young 13 years old singer, songwriter and artist working and learning my way through the business of music and performing. I will continue to relentlessly enhance and develop my skills through education, non-stop writing, collaboration, exploration, and by seeking out every opportunity to audition and perform. I set high bars for myself and surround myself with people that inspire me to reach it.
Mikalyn Hay Social Media Links and Website:
Soundcloud:http:// soundcloud.com/mhay67, www.mikalyn.ca
Personal Website: http://mikalyn.ca
You can buy new songs from Mikalyn Hay at : http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/carnival-feat.-shawn…/id1015077464