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Must-Read Profile: Mitski ’13

The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot went On the Road with Mitski.

The New Yorker published an in-depth profile of Mitski ’13 (studio composition), a must-read for any fan. She speaks candidly about her life and career.

She talks about her childhood spent constantly moving to new locations and writing her first song at 18…

“One morning, when she returned home before dawn, something shifted. ‘I had a keyboard in my room, and I just sat down and started writing this song for the first time. And I thought, This is something I can do? That’s amazing.’”

Learn how she created her first album while still at Purchase. She met her longtime producer here, Patrick Hyland ’14 (studio production), who’s produced four of her five albums.

“The school had several recording studios, and she experimented endlessly in them. Through the Web site Bandcamp, she soon self-released an album, “Lush,” which found a small but ardent following. The album was centered on piano-based chamber pop, but for some tracks she enlisted other conservatory students to play such instruments as strings and French horns.

“At her senior recital, she was backed by a full orchestra. Before graduating, in 2013, she taught herself to play the guitar, which was much easier to lug around than a keyboard, and started performing her own songs at gigs on and off campus.”

And, how she would peruse the library for inspiration…

“Even in college, Mitski was, as she put it, ‘an independent-study kind of girl.’ She’d wander through the library, picking up books at random. ‘There was a phase freshman year where I was really obsessed with ‘Paradise Lost,’’ she said. ‘My God, what a weird fucking kid! Something about it was so dramatic and romantic, and I read it over and over and would write phrases down.’”

Read how she approaches her craft…

“‘Maybe it just boils down to: I’m a woman who’s really into her career, so I’m obsessed with the craft of my work… . There’s a romance in that for me.’ She went on, ‘I obsess over one phrase of one line of music, over and over, and I switch out words. It ends up being my biggest relationship.’”

And how she prepared for her current world tour, which will end later this summer in Central Park…

“She’ll close her current tour at SummerStage, in Central Park, in early September; she added a second show there after the first sold out within an hour.”


There’s so much more to read and there’s an audio version available.

(Photo: David Lee, Redmond, WA)