Last time we spoke to Myla Smith, she was becoming the new face of American Folk music, now her new EP, “Drugs” has made it to Amozon’s Best-Sellers list. Her new music video: “Slow Down”, which Sonic Eclectic is proud to feature, has also been a huge success on YouTube. With her hard work as an independent artist and amazing vocals, Myla is definitely making a name for herself.
SE: Welcome back! This is your second interview with Sonic Eclectic, what have you been up to since then?
Myla: Wow, where to start! I got married, hired a publicist, made a video, recorded a new record, and I just found out it hit #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Singer-Songwriters! It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least.
SE: Your new album, “Drugs” is now available on iTunes and Amazon. Can you explain the meaning behind the title of the album? What inspired it?
Myla: I think you can define a “drug” as anything that you use to medicate, intoxicate, heighten your senses, dull them, or — here’s a big one — distract yourself. If you define it that broadly, drugs can look like a lot of different things. The thing they all have in common is that they are all temporary. All drugs wear off. I feel like the age we are living in now is chock full of “drugs”, and I wanted to explore that on this record.
SE: Any favorite songs on the album? Why?
Myla: That’s tough. Songs are kind of like your kids, so you love them all for different reasons. “Help Me!” has always been the climax of the record for me. It just feels so honest in its desperation and sense of urgency. I think it really underscores the idea that all “drugs” leave you feeling empty and isolated. We had a lot of fun producing “Chemistry.” On the second verse, the bass (played by husband Richard Thomas) starts playing a different rhythm and the whole tone of the song changes. I absolutely love it Myla Smith
SE: It must be nice having your husband take part in your song. Did he help you work on any others? Would you like him to work on more songs in the future?
Myla: Yes, it’s awesome! He’s usually the first person I play any new song for, to get feedback, because I trust his musical instincts. We fully intend to be making music together from here to eternity. It’s what brought us together in the first place.
SE: Your new single “Slow Down”, which is featured on Sonic Eclectic, is very poetic, you mentioned in your last interview that you started off writing poetry. How did you transition to music? Do you still write poetry?
Myla: Poetry is a first love. I attended a songwriting workshop once where they were pretty emphatic that songwriting and poetry do NOT mix. They were trying to make the point that songs should provide clarity, not confusion, and that you risk losing your audience if you’re not careful. I totally agree with that, but I also believe that figurative language can be a powerful, and beautiful, part of storytelling, if done well.
SE: In your new single, you say “The busyness that I’m excusing is a drug that I’m abusing but I don’t have to let it rule me the devil lies, he won’t fool me…” Is this in relation to you hard working in the corporate world? What is the positive and negative of transitioning between working as an accountant and an artist?
Myla: There are pieces of my corporate experience in that song, but it has more to do with the pace of life in general. There’s so much pressure in our culture to succeed, achieve, do more, better, now! Like no matter how much you’ve done, it’s still not enough. I think everyone feels it, I definitely do.
Speaking to the accounting/artist question, that balancing act is a little bit tricky, since they are such entirely different fields. It’s hard to live in both worlds at the same time without feeling a little crazy! I’ve found that what works best for me is to dedicate myself exclusively to one or the other for a block of time. Fortunately, now that I’m 100% self-employed, I have the flexibility to set my own schedule.
SE: You mentioned on your Twitter that your fans have been emailing you about how “Slow Down” connects with their personal experiences. It seems that you motivate and inspire a lot of your fans. Knowing that so many people look up to you, do you feel pressured to maintain a specific image for them?
Myla: Of course I’d be lying if I said that pressure wasn’t there to a certain degree. But my primary desire is for authenticity. I want to be real. I think that’s what people are actually looking for anyway.
SE: Congratulations on the success of your “Drugs” album, are there any goals that you’re aiming to reach with the release of your next album?
Myla: We’re so happy with the response that “Drugs” is getting, so we’re just building off that great momentum. A new full-length album is already in the works, to be released in 2013, which is really soon! I’d love to get to 10,000 Facebook fans by the end of next year.