Elissa Mielke could have had it all. Nearly two years ago, she signed with a major label, who wanted to make her a pop star in the mold of Katy Perry and Ellie Goulding. At the moment, she could have been playing in front of huge audiences and sold thousands if not millions of records. Her story would have been one made for movies – small-town girl from rural Ontario finds success as a model (she’s been featured on Toronto and national publications) before catapulting into global pop star. But she didn’t want any part of the label’s plans. She wanted to write music that was her own.
She was released from her contract and embarked on an independent career. She headed to New York City to continue writing and obtain feedback. As she told Aesthetic Magazine Toronto in an interview in April, “I was just doing some writing in New York with a major producer. We were trying to write hits, which I realize is not my goal in life, but I learned a lot from him.”
Her debut EP was initially to be released in April 2014, but it never saw the light of day. Some sixteen months later and under the moniker Mieke, Mielke has finally released her debut EP. The four-track Mieke isn’t anything like what Katy Perry or Ellie Goulding have written. Instead of radio-friendly, dance-pop songs, Mieke is filled with tender pop ballads highlighted by Mielke’s dainty yet endearing voice and some splendid songwriting, a craft she has been honing since she was fifteen years old.
While “Sleeping Alone” is a lush and gorgeous song, Mielke poetically describes the dissolution of a relationship, the grief that follows, and the new life ahead. The glacial “Vulture” is a vivid depiction of an abusive and negligent partner and the loss of innocence lost. The interplay between Mielke uttering “my love” and moments later describing him as a “vulture” is a brilliant contrast of the feelings experienced in a broken relationship.
“Magnolia” takes the perspective of the start of a relationship and the to and fro that happens. However, like with the previous two songs, there is disappointment at the end. On “Moving On”, the most upbeat of the four tracks with its mid-tempo pace and groovy rhythms, Mielke describes a person leaving loved ones behind, saying goodbye to friends and family as she takes a journey to the unknown. It’s a young woman growing up quickly and wanting to discover who she is, much like Mielke herself. While she has experienced a bit of a turbulent ride, we should be thankful she knew at an early age exactly what she wanted to and how it was going to sound.
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