Mitski on Life Before and After Critical Success
Photo by Ebru Yildiz
This Saturday, one of the hottest singer-songwriters in the nation,
The 26-year-old New York-based indie-rock artist released her first LP, Lush, in 2012, but it wasn’t until the release of Puberty 2 this past June that her career took a sharp trajectory directly into the hearts and minds of the general public.
The professionally trained SUNY Purchase grad, whose full name is
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Your background is much like Miami — very international. You moved around a lot when you were younger. Is there a former home you hold dear that you’d like to revisit one day?
Yeah, I mean, speaking of tropical climates, I really loved Malaysia, where I lived for three years as a kid, which was long for me because I usually only lived anywhere for a year, tops. It’s summer all year-round except for the rainy season. The food is amazing, and it’s so multicultural. But I haven’t been back in years, and maybe things are different now. I feel like the world might have caught how amazing it is there and it might be a lot more crowded.
Does your background of being a sort of nomad make you more comfortable when touring and visiting a new city for the first time?
I’m much better than the average person at arriving at a place and taking everything in and doing what I can with what’s around me instead of trying to enforce ideas about what should happen, what should be available. I go places and I’m like, OK, this is how things are here. I think that makes me better at it than maybe other people are who lived in one place.
How much of that — consciously or unconsciously — slips into your music?
I think it’s part of who I am at this point. On the other hand, I don’t think I can write an album where it’s just about living in New York — only one little part of my life. It’s not a conscious decision; my music is just who I am.
You’ve recorded four records in five years, correct?
I think? [Laughs]
Are you continually writing? Do you ever worry about burning out?
I think after every album, or rather during the making of every album, I’m always thinking, This is the last album I’ll ever make. I can’t do this anymore; I can’t write any more songs. And then, a year goes by and I look in my notebook and I realize I have enough songs for another album. I don’t feel like I’m ever sitting down and consciously writing to make an album; it’s just that time passes and I realize I have all these songs.
Why do you feel that every time you write one, it’s the final one?
I think it’s just an exhausting process for me, and
Speaking of new experiences, Puberty 2 has been a massive hit with critics. What is it like to have all of this attention heaped on you by new fans and the media?
It doesn’t really change my life; it’s just made me busier. It hasn’t changed my day-to-day life. I tour a lot more, and there are a lot more people at my shows, which I’m grateful for. All the critics' reviews and things people say online, stay online. If I don’t go on Twitter, I’m just a regular person.
Aside from an endless string of interviews, like this one, what’s been the biggest change in your life since Puberty 2 really took off?
Being more highly regarded by critics hasn’t changed my life. I still have to work, and I still have to brush my teeth and go to sleep and wake up and work again. What has changed is that I’m a lot busier. Being so busy, I don’t have time or energy to think about what people are saying or how I’m being received because I have to wake up at 4 a.m. to make it to the next city on tour.
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