Artist: Mimi Naja
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Latest Album: Nothing Has Changed
What was the first moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
One of my earliest memories is being in the basement of my childhood home and walking past the old beat-up upright piano. It had dents and scuffs and chipped keys, and was my favorite thing in the house. I remember being four years old and reaching up to plunk the keys, or climbing up on the bench, and my feet couldn’t reach the pedals. My parents were incredibly supportive and put me in piano lessons immediately.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
“Counting the Days” comes to mind, from Fruition’s Broken at the Break of Day. The bulk of it was written ten years ago, as a relationship was unraveling. There’s a lot of honesty of shortcomings of action and character in it, which is always challenging but also essential for such a personal song. We shelved it for several years, knowing it had some golden nuggets in it, but it just wasn’t there. I revisited the lyrics for those sessions and rewrote some, with newly informed tidbits dealing with the same shortcomings, but from the unraveling of another relationship. So, opening old wounds and acknowledging new ones in the same vein. Painful and necessary.
Any body of water. If I lived near the ocean, my answer would clearly be the ocean. As it stands, I get to lakes and ponds more often, and the stillness really caters to a de-cluttering of the mind that helps writing come more easily.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
On tour, if there’s time between soundcheck and doors, I always try to walk to a coffee shop and find a local rag, or a local music shop. Mostly just in it for the walk if the weather’s good, to try to get a taste of where we are besides the four walls of a venue. Other rituals will look a lot different now that I’ve gotten sober. It’ll be ginger tea, mocktails with seltzer, cranberry, and lime, and hitting a room in the Sobriety Clubhouse.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal an a musician?
I’ve been cooking lots of Thai food. I’d like to do Thai with Khruangbin.
Photo credit: Michael Weintrob