Mia Sable
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Mia Sable

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
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"Real Women, Real Style: Mia Sable"

We are excited to feature talented musical artist and LA Sikara customer, Mia Sable, for our April issue. She was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and is of Korean, German, and Native American decent. Mia has always been inspired by the world around her, including fashion icons Rita Hayworth and Audrey Hepburn and the innovative and sophisticated fashions of Dior and Chanel. These inspirations have found their way into her music. Fans have compared her modern classic sound to KT Tunstall, Natasha Bedingfield, Sara Bareilles, Norah Jones, and Dido. Playing both piano and guitar, her voice ranging from sultry depths to clear sweet highs, Sable is a versatile performer with solid pop appeal.

See what questions Sikara had for Mia below!

Sikara (S): What was it like for you growing up in such a multicultural family and how has that influenced you?

Mia (M): Being multicultural was something I didn’t truly discover until I moved to Los Angeles. Where I grew up in Charlotte, NC there weren’t many people like me, so I didn’t even really know I was different! The “culture” I most identified with was just Southern culture in general. When I finally moved to California though I started meeting people who were multi-ethnic like me, and realizing that in fact there were these unique elements of my life. For example, I have definitely grown in curiosity and appreciation for everything my Korean mother learned and accomplished to get me to where I am today – although she is very humble, and has never made me feel like she did anything special in that regard – more and more, I realize on my own how extraordinary she is.

(S): What is the best advice you could give to a young woman about pursuing her dreams?

(M): I think you have to develop really strong instincts, and then trust them! Unfortunately instincts are often formed along the path of the mistakes that we make trying – so you have to try and be willing to learn. Sometimes success is glamorous, and sometimes just “surviving” certain moments is the success… you have to feel pride in both.

(S): What inspires you most to write songs?

(M): Songs usually come to me in these sudden bolts of emotion – kind of like in a musical where the person suddenly bursts out in song – I try to allow myself to do that in my head… just immerse my imagination in whatever emotion I’m impacted by daily, whether it’s about a relationship, or something else I observe about living life. Then I write or record the best of those, and they often manifest into full songs.

(S): What is your favorite venue to play?

(M): Perhaps this isn’t a fair answer, but I love performing for my webcam for YouTube videos or other Internet music channels. I think this is the best way to reach my fans wherever they are, and I love getting to be really personal with them without any of the random obstacles that inevitably pop up for them or me at any given venue – I know they always have a comfortable seat.

(S): Which of your songs do you feel is the most reflective of you are and why?

(M): On my album LIGHT I think “Lying Love” represents me because it is romantic and hopeful, but ultimately it’s about having integrity and resolve when faced with things that just aren’t right. The song is about having been in love with someone who you discover is the kind of person that would expect you to just be “the other woman”, and in response, calling it out for what it is, and refusing to be that girl. It’s a song about knowing when it’s stronger to walk away.

(S): Which artist are you dying to work with?

(M): This list could go on and on… I’d love to write with Nelly Furtado, perform live with Jenny Lewis, and work in the studio with Diddy. For a collaboration – Estelle.

(S): As an independent artist, what do you think of the state of the music industry today?

(M): It’s changing everyday, and my take is just to look at it like other industries in the past that were ripped and rocked by technology. There’s going to be a period of innovation and adaptation, and at times it feels like it’s more uncertain than it’s ever been – but it’s also a great time to discover what musically matters most to you and have the opportunity to redefine how it is experienced.

(S): Is there a difference between your style on stage and your personal style?

(M): The only difference is that in “real life” I can’t ALWAYS wear heels for the sake of practicality… but if I could, I certainly would. I’ve always admired the way that R&B and Hip Hop artists dress up, like a reflection of their own aspirations, and like it really matters to them – I’m on board with that moreso than the common Rock style of deconstruction and nonchalance.

(S): What song that is not yours do you wish you had written?

(M): Probably Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You.” I used to only see the value in a really complex, lyrically deep kind of song, but nowadays I find it just as striking in a different way to have instant timeless appeal with a simple classic melody.

(S): Is there any artist or song that inspired you to become musician?

(M): I was 13 when the Lilith Fair started, and I went every year. Certainly Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb, and Nelly Furtado were influences – I’m really excited the tour is coming back this year, it would be my teenage dream to play on it. My first cassette was Mariah Carey, and my first concert was Boyz II Men, so R&B has also always been a part of what inspires me.

(S): What draws you to old Hollywood glamour?

I love how the goal was to present oneself artistically. At some point over the years people came to value that gritty “reality revealed” aesthetic, but I love how old Hollywood gave us a style that was both subtle and intentional. It reflected our ideals, which are a real part of ourselves – that’s why we still relate.


(S): What is your favorite place to go to in Los Angeles?

(M): I really enjoy finding little hideaways, the magazine archives at the public library hold volumes from the 60s and earlier, the antique shops with amazing vintage jewelry, or any place with quiet, and cozy furniture for daydreaming.

(S): What is your favorite Sikara piece?

(M): I often wear the 3 Pearl Positano Cocktail Ring, and it always gets noticed. Think it is just so basic, yet elegant and different because of that. It doesn’t look like the other trendy pieces you see around, and that’s what I love about Sikara jewelry in general – I have several pieces that I consider to be modern classics.

Mia’s Bio:



Mia Sable’s Alternative-Soul-Pop songs combine catchy melodies with the sincere lyrics of an authentic songwriter. Fans have compared her modern classic sound to KT Tunstall, Natasha Bedingfield, Sara Bareilles, Norah Jones, and Dido. Playing both piano and guitar, her voice ranging from sultry depths to clear sweet highs, Sable is a versatile performer with solid pop appeal.

Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sable is of Korean, German, and Native American decent. Always a dreamer, she grew up with a bedroom that was literally wallpapered (including the ceiling and doors) with photos and magazine tear-outs of her inspirations. Having idolized icons of old Hollywood like Rita Hayworth and Audrey Hepburn, and the sophisticated, romantic fashions of Dior and Chanel, Sable naturally migrated alone with her guitar to Los Angeles at age 18 with every intention of tenaciously pursuing her passions: music, glamour, and love. During her first few years in LA, Sable worked as background actress in movies, an intern at Madonna’s Maverick Records, and a costume shop seamstress at school while and earning a degree from the UCLA School of Film & Television.

Her independent debut album, Propeller was released in 2006 with the help of producers Jim Wirt (Incubus, Fiona Apple), and Craig Bartock (Heart). Propeller’s indie-pop sound brought in several local awards and nominations, including the LA Music Awards’ “Indie Female Singer/Songwriter 2006” for “My Mistake”, and “Alternative Female Vocalist 2007” for “Secret Code”. Following up, The Scenic Route EP (2008), with its quirky and dreamlike orchestral production from Bartock and Sable, brought forward a publishing contract with Urband & Lazar Music Publishing.

Sable began work on her 2nd full-length album LIGHT that year in New York with Roger Greenawalt (The Pierces, Ben Kweller), and finished up with Bartock and Wirt back in Los Angeles. Since its release (August 2009), she has been honored with a Malibu Music Award for “Adult Contemporary Artist 2009”, and the music video for “You Should Know” has been chosen to play on national TV through Music Mix USA.

Still independently managed, Sable has continually pulled herself up by her fashionable bootstraps, having booked and performed in New York, London, Nashville, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, SXSW in Austin and NXNE in Toronto, at Los Angeles’ songwriter hotbed Hotel Café, and in-stores at the Apple Store, Best Buy, and Whole Foods. In 2010 Sable will perform at the Martin Guitar booth at the NAMM convention in Anaheim, and showcase at the Orion Music Festival in Park City Utah and at SXSW in Austin, TX. Mia Sable is a CDBaby.com “Best Seller”, and her music is available internationally on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and other popular digital retailers. Search for Mia Sable on Pandora Radio, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Hear more at http://www.myspace.com/MiaSable - Sikara Jewelry Blog Interview


"Sable Smooth"

Mia Sable’s Supper Club Revue wraps old Hollywood style in a brand new package

By John Sollenberger 08/04/2011

Get a taste of “Old Hollywood” style wrapped up in an eye-catching new package Friday night when Mia Sable’s Supper Club Revue visits the Levitt Pavilion’s Summer Concert Series.

The talented Sable boasts velvety vocals and a stylish persona, conjuring images of tuxedo-clad players and musical divas. The singer-songwriter started studying piano and guitar at an early age, adding various forms of dance, and honed her chops with appearances in high school musical theater in her native Charlotte, NC.
As she’s matured, Sable’s added melodic pop love songs to her jazz repertoire, along with rock, folk, pop and R&B influences from such performers as Diana Ross, Fiona Apple, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Jenny Lewis.

The singer moved to LA at 18 to attend UCLA and earned a degree in musical theatre while playing clubs ranging from the Roxy to Hotel Café. She’s also performed at festival gigs, including Sundance and South by Southwest. Sable landed the LA Music Awards’ top Indie Female Singer/Songwriter honors in 2006 and the Malibu Music Awards Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year in 2009.

Her latest CD is “Light,” available at amazon.com. Check her out at miasable.com.


Music starts at 8 p.m. Friday at Levitt Pavilion in Memorial Park, corner of Raymond Avenue and Holly Street, Pasadena. Admission is free. Call (626) 683-3230 or visit levitpavilionpasadena.org. - Pasadena Weekly


"Propelling Her Voice"

On the prelude to Mia Sable’s self-released album “Propeller,” she asserts that “you’ve every right to your uncertainty, and me to my convictions.”

Accompanying the emergence of female artists in the independent music scene is the hasty characterization of these seemingly melancholic females as helpless. Though fifth-year theater student Mia Sable focuses on unhappy circumstances in her music, this does not describe her or the proactive attitude that has gotten her this far. Sans manager or label, Sable earned recognition as a female indie artist at last year’s Los Angeles Music Awards.

Fans will be able to see the fruits of her labor for themselves tonight, when Sable plays a set at the Genghis Cohen bar/restaurant on Fairfax Avenue at 8:45 p.m.

During her time at UCLA, Sable’s musicianship and her desire for emotional release through writing organically merged. Songwriting became her preferred method of catharsis.

“I love doing music because it has all the performance elements, but it is also such a nice individual release to say what you want to say to who you want to say it to,” Sable said. “It’s kind of like if you write that letter to that guy and you can’t give it to him, but you can post it on a bulletin board that’s public so everyone else can know. Eventually it will get back to him.”

Taking a cue from female artists such as Fiona Apple, Lily Allen, Regina Spektor and Jenny Lewis, Sable also desires to change the music climate for women into an atmosphere of expression rather than exploitation.

“Since around 1999, (the music scene has) gotten really sexual and every song is promiscuous or ‘me and you’ and there’s really nothing to counter that,” she said. “A lot of people don’t realize that those songs are written by 55-year-old men for those artists. It’s not even women expressing female sexuality.”

Nonetheless, Sable is aware that a sophisticated and self-aware female voice will not appear out of nowhere and requires serious work from artists and fans alike.

“The music industry is still primarily male-dominated and most of those guys aren’t anxious for a feminist movement,” she said. “I think it is up to the fans and the young women out there to really be it, demand it and say ‘this is who I am.’”

An embodiment of this philosophy, Sable listens to a wide array of women singing about personal views and maintains a do-it-yourself attitude that has allowed her to win awards and play venues such as the Hotel Cafe.

“I’ve done everything myself so far in terms of writing songs, making the album, booking myself, and managing everything I am doing,” Sable said.

Though these tasks are not easy, Sable manages her time and is knowledgeable about the music industry. She is a former Daily Bruin A&E contributor, has taken UCLA Extension Music Industry courses, and gained first-hand experience through music-related internships.

“I am very into learning about the business and doing everything the smart way,” she said.

Though unsigned, Sable is conscious about the pros and cons of different-sized labels. Though the Los Angeles Music Awards labeled her “indie,” her goals may go beyond this term.

“If you have to give a little to ultimately get more freedom, money and exposure to ultimately do more then it’s worth it. But I wouldn’t just sell out for anything,” she said. “I would obviously consult well-versed people to make the right decisions to make sure what I am doing has integrity always, and is something that I can live with. It’s no good if you go crazy and pull a Britney Spears.”

While she wants to showcase for managers and labels this year, she realizes that she cannot wait around for a record executive to woo her.

“I have my own plans (for the future). I am re-launching MiaSable.com in April and I am planning on doing a low-budget music video for YouTube,” she said.

While some may shy away from the internet’s capability to expose, Sable embraces what it can offer. Sable’s MySpace page, for example, is close to reaching 10,000 friends and has allowed her to connect with fans all over the world.

“I sell CDs to people in Denmark and then they write me messages on MySpace and that’s just amazing because I’m like I go to UCLA and I write my songs in my bedroom,” she said.

On her MySpace page, Sable forges further intimacy through a blog. Though her songs are highly personal, her blog gives her the ability to inform fans about her life on a daily basis.

“People like to keep up with my escapades of failed dating and annoying ex-boyfriends,” she said. “(The blog) is good because people can feel like they know you and they write me and I am still at a point where I manage it myself so I can write back.”

Maintaining intimacy with fans is something Sable also hopes to accomplish through her songs. While she finds it flattering when a fan tells her that one of her songs pinpoints how they are feeling, she is most proud of being able to transform an abstract concept – feeling – into words.

“I know when I hear a song that puts into words what I am feeling, and maybe I don’t have words for it yet – it does something for you,” she said.

Sable’s music is, in turn, driven by her desire to transform her feelings into words.

“I am a very sensitive person and a lot of my songs are sad and that’s just the way it is,” she said. “One of my biggest pet peeves is when people – and it’s always stupid random people – say, ‘You should write happier songs’ or, ‘You’d be more successful if you wrote happy songs’ or, ‘Maybe if you wrote something people can dance to ... .’”

Given all that Sable has been able to accomplish herself, it would be unfair to characterize her as a sad sack. Instead, she is an artist aware of her need to express herself.

“If I write all sad songs, that doesn’t mean I am a sad, depressed person; it’s just the kind of art I feel right expressing,” she said. “I’m not going to paint you a fruit basket. That’s not what I do.” - UCLA Daily Bruin- Mindy Poder


Discography

Propeller (2006)
The Scenic Route EP (2008)
X-Mas (2008)
Light (2009)

Photos

Bio

To reference the title to one of her own songs, Mia Sable is someone “You Should Know.”

“My dream venue would be one of those classic dinner clubs, like Rita Hayworth in Gilda or even Cameron Diaz in The Mask. Some place with a horn section and boys that can lift you onto the piano… Maybe I can make that happen somehow...”

It is not hard to imagine the scene when she inevitably pulls in a backdrop of tuxedoed players, for even in her acoustic performances, the fetching Mia Sable’s velvet vocals and stylish allure has that kind of effect on audiences. With a seductive jazz croon tied to melodic pop love songs, and a fiercely independent sensibility that counts rock, folk, pop and R&B performers like Jenny Lewis, Fiona Apple, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson as influences, the Charlotte, NC-born singer-songwriter is one of the town’s best-kept secrets, a star not just waiting for her big break, but intent on creating one for herself.

Always interested in music and performing, Mia picked up the piano and guitar at an early age, studying all forms of dance, while appearing in high school musical theater. Pandora Radio plays her alongside Lea Michele from Glee, though, according to Mia, “I was always the one in the background chorus line, who knew every part, but never got to play the lead… It was frustrating, but I learned how to sing and dance every part from first soprano to tenor—when we didn’t have enough boys—and it turns out that was perhaps a blessing in disguise.”

Though charming and down-to-earth in person, Mia embraces style as an essential part of her life, preferring feminine dresses and pin-up pumps on-stage to a T-shirt and jeans. “It’s sort of a Breakfast at Tiffany’s philosophy,” she says. “Even if I had only one single piece in my wardrobe, I’d want it to be something fabulous. I often discover my new favorite musical artists in fashion magazines.” They are starting to discover her, too, as she was recently featured in Sikara Jewelry’s blog Real Women, Real Style.

Mia is the daughter of a German-Native American father, a self-made real estate entrepreneur, and a Korean mother, who first met in a Georgia disco in the 70’s. “That’s where my persistence and resilience come from,” she says, adding, “Also my love for the pop/R&B of the Bee Gees and Donna Summer.” Strikingly exotic, with an understated beauty, Mia describes her image as “a little to the left of Mandy Moore… I’m a little old-fashioned about some things and I consider myself to be a lady, though I’m certainly not the girl next door.”

At 18, Mia moved to L.A. to attend UCLA, and began writing songs and interning at her “second home,” 4th Street Recording Studio in Santa Monica [Incubus, No Doubt, Nelly Furtado]. While earning her degree in Musical Theatre, she played all around L.A., from the Roxy to Hotel Café, and everyplace in between, including appearances at Sundance, on Park City TV, and at SXSW. Upon graduation, she traveled to London, New York, Toronto and Nashville to play well-received showcases, and returned to perform at NAMM for Martin Guitars, as well as in-stores at Best Buy, Whole Foods and the Apple Store.

Mia was honored with L.A. Music Awards as top Indie Female Singer/Songwriter in 2006 (for “My Mistake”) and Alternative Female Vocalist in 2007 (for “Secret Code”). She was also the recipient of a Malibu Music Award as Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year in 2009 for LIGHT, her second self-released album, which she started recording in New York with producer Roger Greenawalt [The Pierces, Ben Kweller], then finished back in L.A. with Jim Wirt [Incubus, Fiona Apple] and Craig Bartock [Heart], who also worked on her 2006 solo debut, Propeller, and 2008 EP The Scenic Route. In a matter of months, LIGHT has become a best-seller on CD Baby’s “Pop Underground” list, and is widely available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

Despite starting out alone at the ground level, precocious and determined, Mia has done everything for herself, from managing her career and booking her own dates to starting her own label, Moduristic Records. While her career picks up forward momentum, she remains inherently connected to her roots, casting one of her former Charlotte classmates, a Clark Kent type, in the video for “You Should Know,” which was added to Fuse TV On Demand. Thousands of YouTube views later, she is hard at work planning another Internet scene-stealer for a still-secret song, to be inspired by what she calls the “spirited and clever fashion” introduced to her on a recent trip to Tokyo.

“Ultimately, like any artist, I want creative respect, I want to deliver the story and the song, make something I love that other people think is good and earn a living doing so,” she says. “But in the grander sense, who doesn’t want to be the ingénue in the musical? Nowadays I live my own show.”

It’s one well worth catching.