Written By Chloé Sautereau
“Making music has always been my happy place,” explains triple threat musician MIA GLADSTONE as we talked about her artistic process. The New Jersey-bred singer-songwriter-producer just released her newest EP LOOPY on October 14th. A simultaneously deep and playful project, the self-written and produced album came together over the past three years, spanning GLADSTONE’s life from ages 19 through 22.
Eager to execute the majority of the creation and production herself, LOOPY was all recorded in the artist’s former New-Jersey home studio, her PINK BOX, on an eight-track recorder and a keyboard.
Growing up in a musical household to artists like Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and Nirvana, MIA GLADSTONE learned piano from her father aged just seven. “After that, it was just like this natural progression of writing stuff on piano and then recording it using my dad’s stuff and building from there.” Today she also names influences like MF Doom, for his lyricism and production and Tyler the Creator for his all-encompassing artistic vision.
“A huge intention for the project was making it a world rather than just an album or an EP, a place more so than just a sound,” the 22 year-old says about LOOPY. Indeed, with this project, Gladstone seems to uncover a new facet of her artistry. Reminiscing on her SoundCloud beginnings, the singer-songwriter explains that visuals – cover art, music videos – used to be rather secondary to her practice.
Today, the universe she pulls her listeners into is hypnotizing. Bouncy and beat-driven, with track titles including “SWIMMING ON THE FIRST DATE” and “WHEN I THINK TOO MUCH I GET SICK TO MY STOMACH,” the project beautifully balances humor, lust and hurt. Denouncing the pressures of “SOCIAL MEDIA” and dwelling between the different facets of our own selves, GLADSTONE takes us on a ride through the mind and into her personal world.
“We wanted everything to tie into the story,” she explains of her collaboration with longtime friend William Allen Harris in creating a visual concept for the album. “Basically there’s like different forms of MIA GLADSTONE: there’s the positive affirmations, life coach MIA, famous for spreading positivity with these self-help tapes… Then she was deemed too powerful and banished to the Pink Box dimension where she is stuck forever, hallucinating and watching old tapes over and over again.”
Alternating full-length songs with under a minute pieces, many inspired by old “loops” she’d created in the past, GLADSTONE reflects on the human experience we all share and seeks to extend the active relationship she has with music to her listener while fostering a sense of comfort and thoughtful understanding.
As she continues to nurture a community, MIA GLADSTONE has also proven to be an advocate for female empowerment, particularly in the production realm. Her social media page @producerswhoproduce is a personal initiative to encourage and guide all but particularly queer and non-binary producers with their craft through tips and interviews; from someone who is self-taught. Eager to shift the music industry’s male-centered narrative, GLADSTONE wants to show the world it’s possible. “I just want to inspire other people to produce.”
The rich sonic palette she brings forth with LOOPY is filled with textured treats and surprising sounds that ask to be played again and again. On a loop.