(Photo Credit - Rebecca Foster)
This is Elise Chandler, and I am thrilled to introduce you to Misao McGregor.
Artist Misao McGregor took the time to sit down with us here at Alt Revue and have a brief interview on life and her process as an artist.
Please be sure to check out their debut album 'Kid in the Corner' on December 17th!
Elise (E): Thank you for meeting today! As an English Major, I have been trained to critique and analyze everything, but I value the feeling and perspective of the artist, so I truly appreciate you sitting down with me today.
Misao (M): Of course! I also love to connect with others, and I agree, but I think it is also amazing to hear how listeners of my music interpret the songs. There are so many perspectives.
E: Absolutely! So, I want to note that this album is very autobiographical. I am sure it means a lot to you. What songs on this album stand out to you?
M: "She Was World's Above Me" is one that stands out to me because it was my first "gay" song. I wrote it last year, and I just love how pure and innocent it sounds. It also makes me reflect and think how much different that situation would have gone if I had just been genuine.
"Eight" I just love because I sat down and really played with the music on this track. I wanted it to have a duality. I love songs that make you want to dance, but they have deep lyrics. You know, like dance to your sorrow.
E: Yes, "She Was World's Above Me" really stood out to both me and my daughter. She's a toddler, and the music just made her stop in her tracks and listen. It is just so...authentic.
M: Thank you for sharing that.
E: Another song that I just love is "B Major". I can't put my finger on why.
M: Hmm. Yes, I decided I wanted to end this song as authentically to myself as possible. You know, with music now-a-days, it almost becomes all about what tools you have available. I just want to be me. So, I recorded this live all the way through. You can hear the lights in the background of my parents' house. The squeaking of the piano bench, but you know what? It is real. It is me.
E: That is beautiful, and it is so rare to find now. Thank you.
M: I know what you mean. Sometimes, I listen to pop music, like mainstream pop, and I just don't get what the purpose is. Is it just to dance? If so, that is fine, but I want my music to challenge me.
E: YES! You are preaching to the choir! With that in mind, what artists do speak to you?
M: Gosh, when I was younger, I would have a playlist set on shuffle and go from Rascal Flatts to Frank Sinatra to Sara Bareilles to Switchfoot, and think nothing of it!
But, if I have to get it down to a couple of my favorites -- Tegan and Sara. They were my first "gay" band, and they stood out to me for how much they were doing with their music for social reform. I just find that awesome."
"Another one -- Jack Antonoff. You know, he stands out to me because he says he always thinks of how he would process things in his bedroom as a kid in New Jersey, and his music really shows that.
E: Awesome. Thank you. So, I really like this question, and I want to be sure to hit it -- I think it is super important for the youth today to have a confident, authentic artist like yourself in their lives. Do you have any advice for kids out there? It can be musically or just as the awesome humans they are.
M: Oh yeah. I like this question too. Well, I remember growing up as half-Japanese and half-white, my Japanese culture was to always respect adults. I still agree with this to a point. But, I just want kids to know -- us adults do not always have it together. Identity is always changing.
Kids, you have so much more to share than you know. Just realize, our goal is to take care of each other the best we can, and that looks different for everyone. Don't stop growing. Listen to yourself.
E: I love that. So, would you say music can be therapeutic for you?
M: Yes. I come from a music family. So, I took piano lessons for a few years, and I am a classically trained singer, so I feel like it is how I know to express myself. For example, when I write song lyrics, I usually start by playing around on the piano. Then, I just start singing along with things on my mind. I know it probably sounds like a mess, but it really works for me.
E: No, I think it is beautiful. I mean, it is truly how you feel, and as we noted before, so much music today just doesn't have that human element. Your music is real.
M: Thank you so much. Thank you for your time, and thank you to everyone who listens to my album.
Check out Misao McGregor's debut album 'Kid in the Corner' this December 17th!