Mira Mira
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Mira Mira

Band Pop Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Returning the Favor"

Having gotten a sneak-pre-listen of the debut CD, Midnight for You, I shall now share with you what it sounds like. It sounds like... well... pop music. But not in a bad way. In an intelligent way.

It's pop music for thoughtful people, especially if you happen to be pondering false-start romances, endless nights, hopeful dawns, and arty musical pretentions. This is music for the New Sincerity, these are musicians (all apparently highly trained multi-instrumentalists) who wear lopsided red construction paper hearts pinned to both sleeves.

You know how it is. Guy may or may not have girl, guy is not really sure about girl, guy composes simultaneously hooky and detailed melodies to describe how he might possibly feel about girl. There's lots of piano and strings. It's highly Romantic, in the sense of Young Werther, but not so drastic. And yes, Charlie knows he stole that one riff from the Cure, but he doesn't care.

It sounds good. Further attempts at description fail me. Just give it a listen. - Suitcase Publishing/Claire Podulka

"Entertainment Feature / Review"

Mira, Mira off the wall
Kenosha native creates a different type of music
Charlie Williams has long had a penchant for being inventive, weird and creating his own musical style.

It’s why he started tearing apart the family piano at age 5, finding it as interesting to pound on the soundboard as it was the keys. Or why he was so enamored with a guy who visited his eighth grade music class to demonstrate an MIDI studio that he convinced his parents to buy him a keyboard and MIDI interface during a trip to Minneapolis.

It’s also why the combined sounds of an engine in a seven-person taxi, the road underneath it, an ancient cassette tape and rushing cicadas during a trip through West Africa a few years ago formed such an intricate symphony that it inspired the 26-year-old Kenosha native to create his first album.

“Any band can write a song about like how great it is to walk on the beach with someone, like ‘la la la la la,’ ” says the scruffy-looking Williams, sipping coffee on a sunny morning at Common Grounds. It’s just that Williams prefers bands with the ability to mold abstract songs into imaginative albums. “The songs aren’t about anything. They’re really abstract, but when you look through the whole album, you just have this feeling of being out on the West Coast, chilling out. I think that sort of complexity is what drives a lot of really famous songs that you wouldn’t think of.”

Upon returning from Africa, Williams, fresh out of Northwestern University and figuring he’d have a career in classical music, started coming up with other ideas.

He’d enjoyed a recital he played five days before his Africa trip, during which he performed all new music that was creative and pushed boundaries — growling and whistling and hitting-the-piano type stuff.
Williams decided he would again visit his love of the piano and began writing songs for Mira Mira, a new Chicago-based band he’s fronting with a collection of other highly trained musicians. Their album, released late last year and titled “Midnight For You,” is dubbed “a collection of piano-driven indie-chamber pop.”

It’s an introspective piece of work that Williams acknowledges might be relegated to background music at parties and gettogethers. But it’s also about the mindset it creates.

“It’s sort of a nighttime thing,” Williams says. “There’s that mindset that you get if you’re staying up talking with somebody until 3 in the morning. Your mind works different, you share secrets, you feel like everything is cosmically important, and you feel this connectiveness to people.”

His musical roots

Williams started connecting with music with his first piano lessons around age 6 or 7. By fourth grade, he began playing the violin.

He fed on the knowledge of every music teacher he had — from Dawn Pakkebier and Ken Wiele at Lincoln Junior High School to Stan Nosal and David Schripsema at Tremper High School, to his last piano teacher, Laura Staerkel, a popular local musician who died in 2000 of a brain aneurysm and to whom Williams dedicated “Midnight For You.”

Williams appreciated their willingness to engage him as a musician and “not as some kid who just picked up an instrument.” Williams was serious about music, and his teachers respected that, he says.

“I think that if I had gotten the same kind of social reinforcement for being good at math, I’d probably be a mathematician,” Williams said. “You’re in junior high, you’re figuring out who you are and nobody thought it was cool if I was good at something else, but if you’re good at music, people think that’s cool. And that kind of got me in. It was reinforcement that was really important at that age.”

As his high school graduation approached in 1997, Williams auditioned for a half dozen colleges, from the University of Southern California to Sarah Lawrence in New York. All of them accepted him for his piano prowess, but only one took him seriously on the violin. Williams had nearly packed his belongings for Rice University when he ultimately settled “on a coin toss” to attend Northwestern University and study piano.
“As soon as that happened, I realized, of course piano’s my instrument,” he says. “I’m better at piano, I like piano more, I practice piano more. It’s one of those things where once you realize it, it’s so obvious.”

So he showed up at Northwestern with 11 other pianists. And he was near the bottom.

“There’s no official ranking, but you know. You hear people play, talk to people about their experiences growing up,” he says, wearing a half-embarrassed smile. Yet, Williams was determined not to be one of those who don’t know what they were doing and eventually weed themselves out.

“I was in a position to be competitive with most of the people in the class, but I knew I had some catching up to do.”
After switching teachers, Williams spent much of his sophomore and junior years holed up in a room, practicing his cr - Kenosha News (Mark Hornickel)


Midnight for You (LP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Coming from a conservatory background can be dangerous in the world of pop music, but "post-classical" pianist Charlie Williams doesn't so much hide his training as render it transparent; writing songs that draw on fancy footwork when necessary, but leaving musical space often enough that one doesn't get the sense of being at a recital.

"It's pop music for thoughtful people, especially if you happen to be pondering false-start romances, endless nights, hopeful dawns, and arty musical pretensions. This is music for the New Sincerity, these are musicians (all apparently highly trained multi-instrumentalists) who wear lopsided red construction paper hearts pinned to both sleeves." —Suitcasepublishing.com