Miesa Discusses ‘Too Bad For You,’ Breakups and How Family Helped Her Music
Since she was a little girl, Miesa was surrounded by music. With parents who were both singers and a musician father, the 24-year-old New Jersey native was destined for the same path. And with hard work and perseverance, she's not only now signed to Siri Music Group, but also putting the finishing touches on her debut album, set to release later this year. The Boombox got to know the burgeoning R&B singer and talked about her family and musical roots, her single, "Too Bad for You," and how she stays grounded in the music industry.
Take us back to some of you first musical memories.
Meisa: My mom sings and my dad is a musician and sings, as well; and they met at the gospel choice in college. So I grew up around that type of environment. We had a piano at home, and my dad also always had it or the beat machine making music. We were always in the studio, helping him do backgrounds with any artist he was working with. And when family would come over, they would tell my dad to get his guitar and sing a song. The house was always music-filled. And my siblings and I would also be the entertainment. So music was around me [throughout] my life. My dad had this cabinet in the living room where he and my mom had their records, CDs and tapes. I remember I would go in there when I had nothing to do and pull out all these records or CDs and see Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and The Beatles. And I remember I couldn’t pronounce the word “archive” and called it “archiv” till I was much older.
When did you realize that music was going to be the job for you?
Since elementary [school], my siblings and I were always meant to sing. You’re constantly reminded by family and friends who would come over and say, “Oh, why don’t you sing that song?” And you’d be like, “I don’t want to sing right now. Why are you asking us to sing?” As I got older and started to work, I realized I wasn’t happy with that [kind of life]. People get so stressed about their job, their 9 to 5. And when I [had those jobs], I knew I didn’t have them for long, and it was temporary because I have music. I knew I had to incorporate music into my life.
I used to mentor little kids and ask them, “What is your passion?” Because I knew I had a passion, I would sit there and help them out. And that’s what keeps me going, I know I won’t be stuck [at some job] because I’m on the road to my dreams.
You come from a multicultural background. How did that influence your approach to music?
Sometimes when I hear music or get an open beat, [it's] nice but always seems to be missing some element. Because of the fact that my mom is from Haiti and my dad is Filipino and a musician, and the fact I was exposed to some many genres of music through him, I want to hear more exotic sounds when I’m in production. I want to hear something different, something mystical or from the jungle. I want to hear different sounds because that’s what I grew up hearing. It’s not that it’s bad, but sometimes I feel spoiled from being exposed to many sounds at a young age. And I want to explore that in m production.
You’ve mentioned an album in the works on social media. So what’s the current status on that?
The thing is we have so many songs recorded, but we’re still working. We’re still going through production and other songs because there are different things that I still want to do. We do have music, but I want to get the best out and have my message get across in the right way -- musically, lyrically, with the right backgrounds. I just want it to be refreshing to everyone’s ear.
What is “Too Bad for You” about?
Well, it’s a true story about two people in a relationship, They’re fighting to be with this person. They’re not communicating properly. And for me, it was like nothing was working. I tried being extra. I tried doing whatever I can for this person, and it’s not working. So now I have to mentally psyche myself out like too bad for you because I really have to walk away now. I’m not going to do these things for you anymore. In a way, I want him to say, “No, no, no, sorry, sorry. You’re right. I’ll change.” But I’m like, “No, too bad for you. You didn’t listen before, and now you’re going to suffer the consequences.” But in my mind, I really wanted him to stop me. But I knew he wasn’t going to; I gotta go. And I’ll work hard so you regret not being with me.
And what’s the video's premise?
In the video, we were trying to showcase his pain and not just my own because I think sometimes we never know how the other person is experiencing a break-up.
A few months ago, you performed with Andra Day and Patti Austin to pay tribute to Natalie Cole in Nashville. What was that experience like, and who would you like to collaborate with in the the future?
Well, working with them was amazing, and Nashville is amazing. Andra Day was amazing, and Patti Austin, I would love for her to be my mentor. She really opened up something in me that I didn’t realize. Sometimes when women artists get together, there might be some type of jealousy or something like that. But there was so much love, and I loved working with them. And as far as future collaborations, I’m pretty much open to working with great artists. I would love to work with Babyface. I would love to work with Andra Day and Patti Austin, of course. Toni Braxton, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Drake. I’m open to all that as far as artists. When it comes to producers, there are just so many talented people out there. When I listen to music or artists’ music that’s already out there, it’s like, “Oh man, I would love to work with them” because this element speaks to me.” I have so many options out there, and I’d love to work with every one of them if I could.
Being a female in an industry that's still like the boys’ club, how do you keep yourself strong?
I know not every family is perfect, but my foundation and my family is very supportive. And they’ve experienced things in life period; so for them to speak to me and tell me to do the right thing and be humble. And also, my faith, because I grew up in church, my faith is what keeps me [focused.] I’m not perfect, and sometimes I want to crawl up into a ball and just cry. But it’s my faith and my experiences through life that keep me sane and be at peace. You know how they say how a swan looks beautiful in the water but underneath its feet are moving so fast. I feel like that sometimes, but that’s when I look to my fait. I just continue on that path. A lot of times that keeps me with blinders on, and I don’t see anything extra. So I stay focused and work hard. As long as I work hard and keep my faith, I remain humble and stay strong.