Heed Exclusive: Mila J. Talks New EP & More!
Mila J. set the iTunes charts on fire a few weeks ago with her debut EP, “M.I.L.A. (Made in L.A.)” and Heed finally had the opportunity to catch up with the West Coast beauty. No stranger to the entertainment industry, Mila has been in the spotlight since she was a little girl, appearing in the music video for Prince’s 80’s hit “Diamonds and Pearls”. Fast forward several years later and Mila appears on Prince’s latest album where he samples a track from a mix tape she released previously. With her new EP and current singles doing very well, we are looking forward to hearing the progression in her forthcoming full length LP. Check out our chat with Mila as she talks everything from the new EP, working with Prince and her take on music!
Mike Sanford: Hi Mila, how are you?
Mila J.: Hi, how are you?
MS: I’m doing very well! First of all thanks for giving us this time! It’s a pleasure to finally be able to talk to you! Congratulations on the new EP too, it’s killing it right now!
MJ: Thank you!
MS: So, how does it feel to have your debut EP making such a great impact on the charts?
MJ: It’s super exciting for me! I’ve never put out a full body of work for sale or anything so it’s just dope to be getting really good, positive feedback! It’s been a lot of work and a lot of time, so it’s just really exciting to see it actually completed!
MS: So, the title of your EP is “Made in LA”, which I just figured out spells your name! [Laughs]
MJ: Yes! Mila! [Laughs]
MS: How is it actually being from LA? What has done for your drive and your motivation being from a city like LA, where people go to make there dreams come true?
MJ: Yeah, where people come to pursue their dreams, but when you’re from here…I was actually talking to someone about this the other day! It’s easy to get too relaxed, because you’re from here. It’s like, “ahh, I can go down to the label tomorrow…” versus a person who probably came here on their last $20 and works extra hard. But, it’s dope! I mean it’s the perfect place to pursue music and entertainment. There were opportunities that were available right away as opposed to if I were anywhere else. For me it is a dope environment. I feel like LA is a melting pot so you can always be inspired. So many people do move out here, so you’re always inspired by different styles. I also wanted to debunk the stereotype of what an LA girl is. I feel like we get a bad rap, because of the whole Hollywood situation. I’m like really born and raised in LA, not the Hollywood part! I think that people need to realize that LA is not just this fake place.
MS: If you had to pick a favorite track from the project, which one would it be? My personal favorite is “Times Like These”…
MJ: Thank you! But, it’s definitely hard for me to pick a favorite. It really depends on what mood I’m in. Honestly, and I know this going to sound so cliché, those 5 songs made the EP because they were my favorite songs out of all of the songs I’ve recorded. I just think they all have different vibes. I think we did pick the right 5 songs because it’s literally been equal across the board in terms of favorites. There’s a group of people that love “Times Like These”, but then there’s a group of people that are like “Pain in my Heart” is the one! So many girls love “Champion,” so it’s kind of hard to figure out what should be next. I guess that’s a good problem! [Laughs]
MS: I read somewhere that TLC and Missy Elliot and all of those greats are some of your inspirations. Do you have any additional musical influences that you drew from growing up?
MJ: Definitely Prince and Janet! Janet is like my favorite artists! When I saw her as a little girl, I related to her! I started off as a dancer, so it was like the first time for me seeing an artist that was singing and dancing. She’s just an all around performer and she was like the first female performer that I was like “okay, that’s the footsteps I want to follow in!” She’s always innovative; she always came back with totally different look and sound to go with it. I love Janet!
MS: Speaking of Prince, you worked with on his latest album? How was that experience, having worked with him back in the day on his “Diamonds and Pearls” video?
MJ: It’s dope because I feel like it came full circle! Of course, I’m sure he didn’t remember that I was ‘that girl’ from the video, but of course I remember! [Laughs] It was surreal because for one it’s Prince, but then he doesn’t sample anyone so it made it that much more special that he chose little ole me. To be on his new album is historic for me. To be able to say I’m on a song with Prince? Hopefully the next step will be us actually recording a new song together! That would be even more awesome!
MS: One thing that I really love about you is that you’re very versatile, but you are still very relevant. What is your take on the climate of music today?
MJ: Actually, I think it’s an exciting time! I think right now is a really good time, especially for R&B. I just know that’s how the world works, like every so often people get inspired by what came before. I think right now because 90’s is so popular, the younger generation is just now discovering all of those things that we already thought were cool. I think R&B kind of got lost for a minute…[laughs]
MS: It really did.
MJ: But, I think right now it’s in a really good place. I think there are a really good artists. I think there is a new wave that’s coming in and that’s what’s exciting. It’s like a new energy to R&B and it’s kind of making it’s way back. It’s like every other style was kind of peaking for a minute, but now it’s cool for you to actually have R&B.
MS: And it’s cool to see that you’re apart of that. So, in terms of your album, can we expect it build on this sound of the EP?
MJ: It’ll definitely be along the same lines. But I’m always just trying to do something better than my last project, so obviously I’m going to try and top what I’ve done. The sound will pretty much remain the same. I’m not going to come out with a whole techno album [laughs].
MS: Right! [Laughs]
MJ: But, thinking about being an artist, you might be in that mood where I do want to do a song that’s up-tempo. Then you might want to do a very emotional ballad and I feel like you should have that option to be able to express yourself how you want. But, I feel like it’s all in how you do it. There are so many sides to my personality that I don’t think I’d have a problem with the transitioning between genres. I think I’ll be okay and I don’t want to rule that out. I was just telling someone that I love country music, so don’t be surprised if you see me on a duet with Miley or something! [Laughs]
MS: I just have one final question for you! I’m sure you’ve probably worked with a bunch of people in the industry, but who’s one person that you haven’t worked with that you’d like to work with?
MJ: Kanye for sure! I love John Mayer. Andre 3000.
MS: Oh, you like the greats! [Laughs]
MJ: Yes! Definitely [Laughs]
MS: Thank you for giving us this time Mila!
MJ: I’m so glad we finally got to talk! Thank you!
Check out her brand new video for her latest single “Pain in My Heart” ft. Problem!
Keep up with Mila J!
All Photos © 2014 Motown/CMG