Vocally, Detroit-born, Brooklyn-based neo-pop folk songstress Holly Miranda might bring to mind Chann Marshall. But mood-wise she's got much more in common with, say, American dream pop duo Azure Ray. Both find solace in sleep, and the things that go bump in the night. And each has a way with words that harkens back to the heyday of AM radio. Be that as it may, Holly Miranda is definitely a singular singer, well worth a listen in her own right, and one whose slow crawl into the hearts and minds of the masses seems to be reaping some great reward.
Miranda's currently on tour throughout the States with Tegan and Sara in support of her new album, The Magician's Private Library, produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio. New Times reached out to her recently by e-mail and gave her the ol' Q&A.
Holly Miranda, with Tegan and Sara. Sunday, February 21. Sunset Cove Amphitheater, 12551 Glades Rd., Boca Raton. Tickets cost $30. Ticketmaster.com
New Times: What's in the magician's private library?
Holly Miranda: Merlin the Magician's secret stash of endless symbolism.
Could you please explain where the song "Sleep on Fire" springs from?
My friend was asleep in his bed when the apartment downstairs caught on fire. He wasn't waking up so a friend who was in from out of town staying on his couch went in, and picked him up and carried him outside. Later on, after the fire trucks came and put the fire out, they were allowed back inside and they found that the only part of the place that had burned was the floor beneath his bed. It was such an amazing image to me. Seizing the moment; living like your bed is on fire.
Actually, sleep (or dreams) seems to be a recurring theme. Do you get a lot of your ideas at night?
I think I definitely work best at night, when the city is quiet.
Word is you and Dave Sitek's first collaboration was a cover of Swans' "God Damn the Sun." Will that ever be released?
We actually just recently rerecorded that song together and it will be out on a Rough Trade exclusive EP of covers coming out in March.
How'd you come across the track anyway?
It was at Dave's suggestion. He loves them. I'd never heard of them before.
You've also covered Lauryn Hill, Jeff Buckley and Yoko Ono. What makes a song want you to sing it?
Something that strikes a chord with me. Maybe it's a lyric or a melody, but I have to feel it and want to make it my own.
How's you get the nod to tour with Tegan and Sara?
They are friends.
You just played Philly's legendary Tower Theater - what was it like?
AMAZING! Such a beautiful space. Most of the theaters on this tour are pretty epic!
You've some other stellar spots lined up on this tour, from Chicago's Aragon Ballroom to Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Is there one place (or one city) that you're most keen on playing?
Actually, the Ryman Theatre is what I'm looking forward to the most. Years ago my great aunt - my memaw's little sister, Olene - was invited onstage by Loretta Lynn there to sing a song with her. As she was walking to the stage someone offered her a shot of something. She turned it down and when she got on stage, she completely froze and never really sang much after that. I grew up hearing her tell me that story. She was an amazing woman. She died about seven years ago and I feel very fortunate that I get to go back to that stage now and sing for her.
What can fans expect when they show at Sunset Cove?
That's a loaded question.... They can expect a great show!!