I had the pleasure of talking to Micah about how her career started, her music role models, what defines her own sound she calls Global Pop, and what sets her a part from the rest.
MusicLife: What made you say I want to sing and dance for a career?
Micah Kiyo: I've actually been on stage for a very long time. I was probably like 4 years old the first time I was on a stage. My dad's start was in theatre and directing shows here [Atlanta]. So his background was with Michael Jackson in the Bad video and he was in the original Dreamgirls. So I just kind of grew up in it. I don't ever remember really making the decision to do it because it just seemed like something I was supposed to do.
MusicLife: Who are your musical role models who have influenced you along the way?
MK: Vocally, I love Brandy! She is my favorite all time singer. B-52s, musically I love their sound and they've influenced me as far as the energy and vibes of my music and of course The Jacksons--Janet, Michael as far as performance goes because I do sing and dance at the same time and of course my father.
MusicLife: The music industry is saturated with so many new artists trying to make their mark. Right now, you being a female artist who sings and dance, you're competing with the Rihannas and the Britneys. What makes you stand out?
MK: I consider myself a true Pop artist like back when Pop was out of style, when R&B was the trend. Now that Pop is the trend, there are a lot of artists that do Pop music because its the thing to do now and I don't know if they would consider themselves a true Pop artist. The definition for me of a Pop artist is one that only does upbeat dance music, lives to perform and does the whole big production. When I think of a Pop artist, I think of Michael Jackson. I do think of Britney Spears. I'm going to be a Pop artist for the rest of my life regardless of what happens.
MusicLife: Describe your sound. I know I read something about Global Pop. Give me a definitions of that and how your sound fits in that category?
MK: To me, Global Pop means when I'm writing my music, I think of catering to the world. I think about what will the people in Japan want to hear, what will the people in Ausltrialia want to hear. Not necessarily a particular region or a specific culture. I try to think more broad and that's what Global Pop is to me.
MusicLife: So you say you write your music. Do you write all of it? If so, where does that inspiration come from?
MK: I write on all my songs. I do welcome other writers. I work with a guy named Jamaica and my producer who writes as well. But I do make sure that I'm definitely involved writing and the song overall. As far as inspiration, it depends on my mood that day, depends on my circumstances that's going on, the environment I'm in, where I'm writing. And sometimes stuff that comes out is totally subconscious that I don't even realize I'm feeling and it just comes out.
MusicLife: Does being biracial [half African-American and Japanese] influence your music? How does those two cultures fuse into your music or does it?
MK: It does for sure. Because I am half black, I naturally love the music that we make. I love Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B. I connect with that and it shows in my music as far as the rhythms and the beats. I make sure that urban side is in my music. And as far as the Japanese side goes, I have this need to speak Japanese sometimes like phrases or I like to make sure that Japanese sounds and instruments are incorporated too. I've gotten challenged as far as the Japanese side is considered and people are like it's a gimmick. If me being who I am is a gimmick, then whatever, take it or leave it.
MusicLife: What artist would you love to collaborate with one day?
MK: I would choose Taylor Swift and let me tell you why. I have this thing for country music and I don't do country but I feel like certain tones in my voice do well singing in the country style, the twang. So I think it would be cool to do a song with her or I would be happy if we just collaborated in writing because I think she's an awesome writer.
MusicLife: In your down time, what would be your favorite artist to listen to?
MK: I'm gonna go with my Brandy. I can't stray away from her. I will listen to her right now.
MusicLife: Being an artist just starting out, what do you hope to gain from this musical journey and what lessons have you learned so far?
MK: My main goal right now is to reach as many people as possible, to gain fans, to reach people through my music. I want them to hear what I have to say, see what I have to offer. As far as what I've learned, as long as I'm being true to who I am as a person and have integrity and stay humble, I will be able to go as far as I want to go as long as I'm persistent.
MusicLife: How would you define your music life and what music means to you?
MK: To me, music is part of who I am. It's not just what I do. After God and after my family, it's music. It's 80% of who I am.
Already, Micah is living up to the meaning of her last name which means artistic, entertainer, pure. Check out the video that gives you a taste of what she's all about.
Micah's latest tune Superhero Boots is available on iTunes now. Preview other songs here. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahKiyo or visit her website: MicahKiyo.com
Thank you Micah for a fun interview and special thanks to Pashae Williams from A.B.C. Publicity for setting up!