Miya Folick At the Echo, Wednesday January 15th 2020
On Wednesday night, Miya Folick had decided to play only new music during her show at the Echo, and she was a bit nervous about this self-inflicted experiment. Just before her, comedian Sophia Cleary warmed up the crowd with a few LGBTQ jokes, while Shannon Lay opened the night with a collection of her very quiet songs performed with her whispering voice. This folk-pop peaceful music was a total contrast with the boisterous material of her other band Feels, but it put the audience in the right mood.
Miya Folick’s vocals are filled with plenty of emotion while there is no artifice around any of her performance, she has a beautiful howl, vulnerable and raw, with a breathing element which immediately reminded me Sharon Van Etten, especially during her first songs ‘Oh God’ then ‘2007’. Miya seemed to spread her heart out during these two first tracks, while her splendid vocals sounded both fierce and fragile, with a spectacular range and ease. If ‘Oh God’ was addressed to a mysterious higher power – she told us she grew up Buddhist – ‘When was the last time I felt safe?’ she seemed to ask herself when she explained her song ‘2007’ to the crowd.
With her short hair, white Siouxsie and the Banshees shirt over a vaporous black skirt, she was a unique and pretty vision, moving gracefully and often spreading her long arms in the air. Her voice was her best asset, a vehicle she was effortlessly driving through incredible heights via her eclectic collection of songs. Miya doesn’t have a genre per se, she writes emotional pop songs with great melodies that rock hard at times, but her eclectic style stays very pure and loyal to her spirit. These past years, Miya has released a few singles and 3 EPs, followed by her 2018 ‘Premonitions’, and she was trying out new songs during this show at the Echo, ‘I don’t know which songs are gonna end on the album, it’s a try or run,’ she said, ‘and it may be the only time I play some of these songs!’ The crowd was in total disagreement and started protesting at the idea that some of these gems would be left out.
She admitted being very nervous, but nothing of her anxiety was showing up in her performance, whether she was playing guitar or simply singing with the mic in one hand. She was exulting joy and sincerity, she was happy to share new material, and everything sounded good at the first listening, with catchy melodies and a consistent emotional sprawl. Quite talkative between songs, she was explaining which ones she had written in collaboration with a myriad of people and which ones she had written at home, ‘I like it both’, she said also admitting that the songs were all ‘about LA because I live here and I love LA’,… ‘the best city in the world’. As her lyrics were saturated by LA Eastside’s landmarks, the Echo crowd felt right at home.
It is a rare occurrence when a young singer-songwriter shares new material and when everything sounds memorable and almost familiar at the first listening. ‘Nothing’ exploded with confidence, a hooky melody and plenty of joy, while a real melancholy was surfacing during a few tracks like ‘Mommy’. Before ‘Lucky Doomed Stressed’, an ethereal electro-pop song with keys that she performed with a crystalline high pitch, she told us that knowing we are doomed was actually making her free,… And this same kind of bravery may have been a metaphor for the whole show.
The stripped-down ‘Teach Me’ may have been one of the catchiest tunes of the night, with her virtuoso voice racing the bars as if she was transforming a cute pop song into an Aria. ‘Sociopath’ was an emotional confession and ‘Bad Thing’ a nice uplift, with once again this remarkable voice, getting angry and vulnerable during simple hooks. Finally, she brought the house at her feet during the euphoric and exhilarating ‘Get Out of My House’.
‘You are amazing, this is so good’, you could hear from the crowd while people got incredibly quiet to listen to her last two songs she performed alone on stage, and this became especially true during the touching ‘Double Dare’. There was no doubt everyone was mesmerized by her performance. For those who knew her – and there were a lot of these people in the room – it was probably a confirmation that the songstress is the real deal. For those who didn’t know her very well, it was probably a revelation, a musical siren with an amazing voice, truly able to captivate a sold-out venue with songs never played before. There was something extremely sincere in her songs, which were encapsulating little moments of life and turning them into art, meanwhile, her omnipresent smile was masking some visible anxiety who was running through the set… the material was so good she had no reason to be nervous, but playing an entire show of new songs was nevertheless an act equally motivated by real confidence and pure fearlessness.
Lucky Doomed Stressed
Get out of My House
Break my Heart