The Artist that Took Over Tik Tok: Mia Giovina

Music has always been a part of Mia Giovina’s life, but in a year where music struggled the most, Mia made the best of her circumstances and built an empire. We got a chance to chat with her after the release of her debut single “Sirens”.

It’s great to meet you! For our readers who may not be familiar with you yet, could you give us an introduction to you and your music?

My name is Mia Giovina, I’m a singer-songwriter from New Jersey and I’ve been doing music for my entire life! I kinda started out performing when I was 9 years old, I auditioned to be in a production of this musical called The King and I because they needed little kids to play the king’s children, so I started with musical theater and did that for middle school and high school. Then freshmen year of high school I kind of switched over to wanting to pursue a career in the music industry. So I started performing out in coffee shops, and getting gigs at restaurants and bars, and writing music (or attempting to write music) and I made an Instagram account where I posted a bunch of singing covers and stuff. I did all that throughout high school, then after high school I decided to put college on hold for now so I could focus completely on music and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since! I am very happy with my decision because I’m just like…living my dreams right now it’s been great.

That’s incredible! I love that progress. Now your career has kind of picked up speed recently through Tik Tok (which is a relatively new platform for artists to be navigating). Tell us what it was like to see those views sky rocket and gain that spotlight so quickly.

I always say it felt super fulfilling. I’ve been posting singing videos online since I was like 14 years old and they never really went anywhere but they were my everything, I put everything in to those videos. So I think to finally see some of those videos getting the love that they are getting just felt super fulfilling as an artist. As I’ve started to post more of my original music, seeing people resonating and connecting with it makes it even better. It’s been amazing.

A lot of your content on Tik Tok currently is you re-writing popular songs from a different perspective. Where do you draw inspiration from when creating those alternative narratives?

I started doing that a couple months in to quarantine, it was something I had never done before but I saw another girl on Tik Tok named Kate Franka do it, she posted I think a re-write of a Harry Styles song and I saw it and I hadn’t seen anyone do anything like that. I was like “Oh my god this is like…revolutionary. I have to do this.” So I wrote my own version and I posted it on Tik Tok and I tagged Kate and she ended up seeing it. I like, freaked out. I think at the time I had maybe 100 followers, if not less. So I was like “Oh my god there’s a celebrity seeing my video” and I think she commented about wanting a full version so I made a full version and posted it on Youtube. I think it got like, a thousand views which was the biggest thing ever on my Youtube channel. Usually on my videos at that time I would get like ten views on a video if I posted. I saw how many people loved it and it was really something I loved to do, so it kinda became my thing. I think with the rewrites, especially now that I’ve been doing them for so long, I really try to do songs that I am listening to and not necessarily focused on what songs are going viral right now or what songs I think will do well. I just really try to do songs that I am obsessed with and those are the ones that do best.

A lot of your talent was focused on re-writing songs, but now you are starting to release your own music like your recent single “Sirens”. How did it feel releasing your music after spending so much time re-writing songs?

It definitely was a different feeling. I think it was like…it was so cool to see so many people resonating with the music. With my re-writes you would get those occasional comments like “omg this speaks to me” but that feeling only goes so far because it’s not my work, it’s still somebody else’s song. So to see people like, connecting with things that are completely mine and completely came from just me…I think that’s so cool. I think that the people that support me are so passionate, and we connect so well. When I’m writing about certain things it can feel so scary and vulnerable. Posting these songs on Tik Tok talking about struggling with mental health and body image issues, those are really scary things to open up about. But then to see the people that follow me saying things like “I go through this too and this really helped me” it’s…it’s the best feeling in the world.

I couldn’t imagine a better feeling than that. So when people are listening to your music, and as you’re writing music and putting yourself out there, what is one thing you want fans to take away from your music?

That’s a good question. I always say this, and I think it might sound a little cheesy, but I always say that music for my entire life has always made me feel so safe. It just brings me this sense of comfort. I think that as I’ve started to share my original music, it has become super clear to me that at the end of the day if my music could be that safety net for someone else…I think that’s all I could ever ask for. All the attention that my videos have been getting is obviously such a cool feeling, but at the end of the day seeing people connect with it and comments like “this makes me feel safe” or “I feel seen, I feel understood”…that is what makes me feel the best about it.

When you’re writing, are you writing with a team or is this all fully you?

Usually it’s just me, alone in my room. I think for me personally, writing feels super intimate and personal so I think I do my best writing when I’m alone and by myself. But I have been starting to do a lot of writing sessions with artists I’ve found on Tik Tok or Instagram or that my team finds and connects me with. That has been super, super cool getting to see how other people work and just watch their gears turn and see how they right a song. That’s been super cool, but yeah a lot of the time it’s just me sitting on my floor staring at a wall for an hour until I start writing a song.

A big turning point in your career started with a break down of a Harry Styles’ song. If somehow, someday Harry is reading this, what would you want to say?

I think I would actually genuinely want to thank him for being so authentically himself. I am a late bloomer with this but I really just discovered Harry Styles and One Direction maybe a little over a year ago. But I see it in the way that I dress, the music I write, the music I listen to it’s all just so…me and I feel so confident and proud to be who I want to be and I think I owe a lot of that to looking up to somebody like Harry Styles who is just so real and inspires so many people to also be real. I would just want to thank him.

I’ll do my best to let him know all that I’m sure he’d love to hear it!

Perfect! [laughter]

So what other artists inspire you and the music you write?

Taylor Swift is like, my number one girl. I look up to her as an artist, I feel like she is just the ultimate artist. She just somehow knows how to do everything and I think that her lyrics are something that I take a lot of inspiration from. She’s so intentional with her lyrics which is something I try to do with my songs. I think that sometimes in, specifically pop music, it’s easy for writers to use throwaway words like, just throwing in a “baby” when you can’t think of something else to say. I think a lot of Taylor’s songs every lyrics is very intentional and can mean like twelve different things. I really look up to her, I’ve been listening to her since I was like six years old. But I also really, really take a lot of inspiration from Phoebe Bridgers and Lizzie McAlpine. I think that their music is just so, beautiful and like, heartbreaking but also hauntingly conversational and casual. That’s something when I first started listening to their music, I think it kind of changed the way I wrote songs. I realized not everything has to be like a Taylor Swift song that has to be this big, epic love story or something like that. It can just be about every day things that everyone struggles with and it can still be beautiful and meaningful. Those three are my biggest song writing inspirations.

Your career really took off during a year where we couldn’t really have live music, but now that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel is there anything that we can expect from you coming up?

I’m super excited, now that I have original music that I would be able to perform, I’m super excited to be doing live shows. Like I said before, I’ve been gigging out in restaurants and bars and open mic nights at like coffee shops since I was 14. But it always kind of felt like a karaoke bar kind of vibe. It was always me doing cover songs and everything. But now that I have a lot of original music, and now that I have such an amazing group of people supporting me that are looking for live shows that makes me even more excited. There is nothing specifically planned yet, but my team and I are definitely looking out for venues and live show opportunities.

I’m looking forward to it! To find out about those live shows, or to learn more about you and your music, where can people find you online for now?

People can find me on pretty much any social media platform: Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, Youtube, Soundcloud. You can find me on all of those platforms just by searching Mia Giovina!

Responses may be adjusted for clarity or length.

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