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Japanese Breakfast's Michelle ZaunerEXPAND
Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner
Courtesy of Jackie Lee

Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Michelle Zauner, the frontwoman of the indie pop-rock group Japanese Breakfast, does it all. The ethereal, dreamy music for which the band is known shows only a fraction of Zauner's talents, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Zauner got her start in music after seeing tons of guys in her school playing guitar. After two years of trying to persuade her mom to allow her to step away from the piano and learn guitar, her mother gave in, and Zauner’s natural musical talent began to bloom.

Not only is Zauner a successful musician and talented songwriter who's touring to promote Japanese Breakfast’s albums Psychopomp and Soft Sounds From Another Planet, she's also working on a few new projects. She's creating an instrumental score for the highly anticipated videogame Sable and writing a book inspired by a piece she penned for the New Yorker titled “Crying in H Mart.”

Zauner uses those creative outlets to cope with depression and grief, especially since her mother’s death, and those emotions have manifested themselves in her writing and songs.

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“I think that I am someone that gets superdepressed, and after my mom died, I felt like I just had to work really hard, and that was kind of part of my mourning process, I think, working really hard and staying really busy and trying not to think about the dark things that exist in the world,” Zauner says. “It’s my way of processing that and coping with it... and feeling like life is worthwhile. That’s why I do what I do.”

Japanese Breakfast is set to embark on its U.S. tour this month and will make its Miami debut at Gramps Monday, February 11. Asked if she has any expectations for her stop in South Florida, Zauner says she’s mainly excited to escape the brutal winter of the Northwest.

“I’m ready to be in Florida in February. I feel like Florida concert attendees are very passionate and engaged, and I’m looking forward to that. I forget where it was in Florida, but there’s a really sweet couple... they just got married, I think, and got these like marriage tattoos that have lyrics to our song ‘Till Death,’” Zauner recalls. “I feel like Floridians know that bands oftentimes skip over them 'cause they’re so far south, so I feel like I’ve always had a really great time in Florida because people are really ready to engage in the show.”

Asked if any new music is on the horizon, Zauner says, “It will happen at some point. I just signed a pretty major book deal, so I have to deliver that in a year, but I imagine I’ll need a break and wanna make another record pretty soon.”

Japanese Breakfast. 7 p.m. Monday, February 11, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Tickets cost $20 via etix.com

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