MIRRAH is a passionate artist with a strong message of self-empowerment, positivity and unity through loving oneself authentically. Having grown up in between California and Sydney, it’s not easy to pigeonhole a musician like herslef with a melting pot of multicultural influences surging deep through her veins. She dons multiple hats not only as a musician, but also a radio host, poet, rapper, vocalist plus more. With a natural talent vested in music and performance at an early age, MIRRAH set her sights on London at the age of 19 years old as a dancer.
In the years 2000 – 2005, she based herself in Los Angeles featuring in multiple music video clips for some of Hip Hop and R&B music’s biggest artists and entered a reality TV show aired on UPN called “R U The Girl?” which was a contest featuring the remaining members of R&B group, TLC. The premise of the show was to find a third member to provide vocals only for a new single that was to be recorded as part of TLC.
Her long anticipated EP in 2016 is called “LIFE”. It features 5 track all produced and arranged by Zig, of The Greenroom Sydney, and is her first instalment in a 3 part release entitled, “LIFE, LOVE & MUSIC.”
Who is Mirrah?
My.Image.Reflects.Resonates.Above.Heights; reflecting that I’m a passionate person and storyteller sharing personal thoughts of life. I see the wider purpose in music, to share my creativity. I naturally resonate either positive vibes like a catalyst to empower, realign awareness to strengthen self and to strengthen all people especially females by building confidence, self respect as well as cultural pride.
What are your earliest memories of music?
Growing up with my adopted parents in LA listening to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Bob Marley in the house. Fondest was memory meeting Hip Hop at age 4 on Venice Beach by b-boys pop locking.
Who were your influences coming up?
Bob Dylan & Nina Simone (Storytellers, social awareness)
Rakim (Cadence and tonation)
Neneh Cherry, Mary J Blige (Mixing singing with rhyming)
MC Lyte, Bahamadia, Lauryn Hill (Controlled cadence and lyrical flow)
Public Enemy (Performance strength)
Phife Dawg (His vocal tone and his fun lyrical, backhanded comical & serious story tone)
Then artists and bands who made an impact to my life as a Hip Hopper – The Roots, TLC, Big Daddy Kane, The Fugees, ATCQ, De La Soul, Pharcyde, Mobb Deep & Wutang Clan.
When did you realise you wanted to make music?
In London as a dancer, and poet many people asked if I sang. I didn’t perform vocally at all, and was taught how to write rap bars from my written poetry. That magic introduction was made.
You moved over to London during the mid 90’s mainly working as a dancer. Why did you make the move and what are some of your memorable moments from that time?
I made the move to London to audition for Soul II Soul, which fell through due to them breaking up the year I arrived. I was able to start dancing for UK music videos & then for Top Of The Pops and Mark Morrison on his tours which then introduced me to perform with many more UK and visiting US male artists. I then saw and learnt stage presence of what and when and how to perform to audiences.
You then relocated to the States you appeared in many videos during the early 2000’s what were some of your favourites and what was it like working on big budget videos?
It was a great experience, by now I was recording my own music as well as featuring in big budget artist music videos.
This experience allowed me to learn behind the scenes of who really made an artist; such as the director, producer, film crew, makeup artists and stylists plus music labels etc. This was such a great eye opener and humble way to grow as an independent artist who was featuring on music videos.
I learnt how important it was to respect myself as an ‘extra’ or ‘featured’ model and to be recognised that I respected myself as a professional. I’m proud that I may show my work still and have work out there presentable from the archives.
Fave memorable videos I featured in Snoop Dogg “Got Beef”, Destiny Child “Nasty Girl”, Jesse Powell “If I”, Jay Z Feat. Missy Elliot and Memphis Bleek “Is That Yo Chick”.
How did you stay positive in such a competitive industry?
By having a great in house network such as family, partner and friends who are humble and know how important every day life value is.
You also took part of the TLC “R U The Girl” show how did you find the experience being part of reality TV?
Luckily being mature from my personal experiences in the industry, behind cameras from music videos, I was more aware of the reality TV machine. I was able to be alert to ‘producer wants’ and what I aimed to reflect of my soul to the audience honestly. Each challenge given on and off screen was taped, again knowing who I am humbly, and who I represent such as myself and family I was aware of questions, context of segments and I aimed to reflect myself as natural as I could. Being positive is natural, so it wasn’t hard to reflect that. I live with gratitude, it’s my pulse, being adopted and being able to experience what I have, man it’s the only way to reflect me.
Your new EP “Life” is the first in a series of three EP releases. After not releasing music for a while what made this the right time for you and why the EP releases instead of just releasing an album?
Interesting enough in LIFE, we each have a personal timing that ticks to the right time for one to really feel when to share who you really are. Be it a dream job, school or a dream goal to achieve.
I have been rehearsing and touring with L-FRESH The LION for 5 years and have learnt so much, a band member and as a vocalist who sings, raps and hypes live. My self confidence as an artist and song writer felt that my self expression was ready to be heard. Also I suffer from anxiety and I have been learning to contain and become stronger from it’s past challenges.
The EP is a personal achievement of sharing music produced and composed by Zig Parker and fellow band mates from L-FRESH The LION. I also included artists who have supported myself and Zig’s musical goals to feature, such as DJ DIOLA, DJ DZAR, Jonathan (trumpet) Duane (guitar and bass) Clinton (drums) Karrin (cello) and L-FRESH, Nate Wade & Kev Hannibal.
The music is handled by the Green Room collective what was it about their sound that made you want to have them handle all the production?
Zig has known me for 19 years. We met touring together and have built a awesome working relationship together. The music is also a hidden conversation of our respected relationship. My lyrics is my perception of the communication. The beauty of it’s composition is the mixture of beats and live instrumentation. When listening to the EP I feel you really get to know me, Mirrah and what I feel about LIFE.
What can we expect from each EP release?
My personal reflection and perception musically to reflect the titles given for each EP.
What’s your favourite track off the “Life” EP and why?
Corny as it is I love all 5! Each have a personal meaning to how music makes me feel and the importance of communicating my feelings of each subject.
So Right – How music gives me life.
Reasons – A mixed message of how positive love is as equal as great music metaphorically makes one feel.
We Wanna Know – How important life as an ethnic multicultural background, or the indifferences in our world are. Acknowledging violence and ignorance needs to stop killing LIFE.
On My Level – That wonderful feeling of finding likeminded people in your life.
Lil Vicki – Sharing empowerment to young ladies or to those who have become victims to societies false requests of how we are supposed to be seen and accepted in this world.
How would you describe the Mirrah sound?
Like when you hear vinyl on a light breezy, summers day and you feel positively refreshed about life.
You are also a member of the L-FRESH The LION’s live show which has seen you perform all over Australia. How have you found being in a group set up and what have you learned as an artist in your own right?
It’s been my dream and goal to be a part of a band and likeminded creative people. It’s so much more fun to share a musical experience with a team. When you are a solo artist there is a lot of pressure. So when in a band there’s teamwork and a vibe to spread together.
What are your thoughts on Hip Hop in Australia compared to when you first started out?
Wow it’s evolved, it’s more diverse and multicultural.
What one thing does Hip Hop in Australia need now?
Not to be called Urban, and to be open and financially supported to Hip Hop, Soul and Jazz artists by the higher ups in the industry and labels. Also for promoters to respect and book professional independent and signed Australian artists. This way the country as a whole can grow overseas as it’s invested by the countries industry.
Name 5 tracks/albums that have influenced Mirrah?
1. Nina Simone – Strange Fruit
2. Erik B & Rakim – Paid in Full
3. Neneh Cherry -Man Child
4. Bahamadia – Kollage
5. Guru – Jazzmatazz Volume 1
For someone who has lived in the UK, USA and Australia what are the positives and negatives of each country?
Positive is that I had a passport and was able to meet and learn about so many diverse cultures in each country and continent. Negatives is that there needs to be more people to get passports and travel so more of us humans can be open minded to the world and it’s multicultural beauty!
What is the best piece of advice ever given to you?
I am grateful to have been given this advice by my respected pioneer peers:
Flavor Flav – “Always stay true to your soul, know you can achieve anything you desire with the spirit you hold, you are a fire fracker and don’t let anyone take the fire and light from you”
KRS One – “Always remember to sound as equal as you did when you recorded your song in studio or sound better than what you sound like when you perform live”
What does the future hold for Mirrah?
May I affirm: health and safety, quality friends, quality business partners and opportunities with respected financial backing, passionate and patient supporters/fans and for me to continue a happy path in my musical ventures. Positive recognition of my creativity is all I aim, so I may mature and be the best I can.
What’s your definition of Grindin’?
A movement with hard work ethic, forward thoughts, momentum, teamwork, sacrifices in ones daily lifestyle. Happiness is also a grind as your soul is passionately doing what it enjoys. Grindin’ is the fun part to reflect in LIFE!
Interview by Duggs.