Starting out singing just a few covers on YouTube, 19-year-old Audrey Mika quickly rose through the social media ranks and has proven to be the next big pop artist to be reckoned with.
Making the transition from social media star to an industry artist is no easy feat. Against popular belief, going viral is a completely different ball game from becoming a permanent fixture on the music charts. While many aspiring musicians try to make that jump, they more often than not end up with characterless, flat, and overly produced music. But when done right, someone with natural talent can utilize the momentum of viral popularity to create something more, something honest, something real. By subverting mainstream pop, Audrey Mika has created her own strain of modern music that offers a unique flair of intoxicating R&B sounds, snappy hip-hop beats, and catchy pop melodies. Mika’s evocative vocal delivery is elevated by the earnest songwriting she puts into all of her music. Her robust singing talents adds layers of depth to the intimate lyricism penned by an honest and open-hearted songwriter. But at the end of the day, it's Mika's cascading four-octave vocal range that envelops the room and leaves us mesmerized.
The aspiring musician has recently made the move from her family home in Oakland down to a place of her own in Los Angeles. "Yeah, I moved down with my best friend, who's also my manager, to West Hollywood, along with my writing partner," shares Audrey Mika over an exclusive phone interview with EARMILK. "There's just more access to all the things you need to make that next step, and I love Oakland but what I needed right now is all here."
Mika's popularity is still growing strong following the viral TikTok popularity of her 2019 single "Y U Gotta Be Like That." Beyond her TikTok and Instagram videos, the young artist had already been honing her skills at creating social media content since back in 2015. "I started writing music when I got my first ukulele for my 16th birthday," says Mika. "I played 16 hours straight that day and even wrote my own song that I uploaded to YouTube just for fun."
Since her very first introduction, Mika quickly improved upon her content skills and began producing higher volumes of greater quality videos. Fans quickly gravitated towards the singer's natural vocal talents but even more so her undeniable charm. As a dancer, she already had a built-in familiarity with sharing art openly to audiences. That skill further translated into her social media presence as she shared, "So I was dancing for about 14 years until I quit, is to go. And, when I quit it, I didn't even necessarily want to and I didn't necessarily think that I was going to do only music. But music ultimately became its own natural expression for me."
The type of pure and open interaction Mika would portray to viewers provided an element of sincerity that clicked immediately with the online community. "I think social media is an amazing place to put yourself out there. And on TikTok it's fairly easy to make a video go viral. Instagram is is a little harder because things don't really go viral on Instagram. Same with YouTube. I'm so lucky cuz I wouldn't be here without social media and I think YouTube for that. I started posting just for fun but I gained my main following by then starting to post more frequently and more consistently throughout the year. I can't believe, to this day, that there are that many people just watching me and enjoy the music. It just makes me so happy that people are truly connecting that way and we couldn't do that without social media."
Beyond her relatable and down-to-earth video commentary, Mika has also proved that her pop-culture antennae was tuned in to the right channels. Each new track release contained snippets of modern pop but diverged from ever falling into the radio-friendly trap. Her vocal style and songwriting technique pull influences from classic R&B, soul, indie-pop, and even a bit of hip-hop. In the last year, each release saw her continue to refine and polish her own musical abilities. In a blink of an eye the girl singing covers into a pink plastic mic on YouTube quickly became the talented singer-songwriter producing catchy heartfelt ballads.
Much of Audrey Mika's music destabilizes today's tiresome pop structure and swaps it out for a brighter, rhythmic blend of beat and melody. Though, tracks like "Just Friends" and "Y U Gotta Be Like That" offer easily-digestible pop chorus', it's Mika's powerhouse vocal that imbues a deep soul into her music. Much of Mika's 2019 release Level Up has her flowing in and out of R&B croons while masterfully navigating moments that call for eruptive vocals and intimate midtempo ballads. Of her newfound songwriting process, she shared, "Yeah, I have a songwriting book but I just can't write without instruments. I used to write a lot in my diary but now it's just music. Music is my diary now so whenever I feel like I need to play something I'll just write a song."
Mika also doesn't hold back from exploring new sounds and branching out to collaborate with other artists. "I think, as an upcoming artist or a developing artist, it's so important to collaborate with other upcoming musicians and it's also just fun to collaborate." She continues, "The industry can be scary, and knowing you're not alone by connecting with other artists who love music the same way you do is a really nice feeling. And so being able to have friends who also trying to navigate all of this together is really important." Through creating this industry community, Mika has been able to land features alongside artists like Ant Saunders and SAY GRACE.
After the release of her latest single "Just Friends," there's still no real way to pinpoint her sound. There's a subtle bit of that Rihanna graininess in the vocals that add an extra dose of charisma to the already mesmerizing performance. At only 19-years-old, she's a part of a post-genre era of musicians that can easily sandwich an intimate vocal ballad between a hard-hitting trap beat and an ambient orchestral melody. "I really didn't have a plan when I started with these videos, so I was really sad and lost for a while," shares Mika. "It makes me 10x more grateful that this gets to be my life now and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
With 471k followers on Instagram, 888k followers on TikTok, and a modest 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, it's clear she has something special to bring to the table. Audrey Mika's infectious harmonies, exuberant presence, and powerful singing make her one of the brightest new vocalists to watch right now.
Catch Audrey Mika's latest music releases on Spotify via https://spoti.fi/2XATOT1