BENCHED: Miggy DeLa Rosa
Miggy Dela Rosa, steadfast to his faith and unwavering tradition; has birthed a E.P from the toil of mental health and depression. His Italian heritage and wealth of musical knowledge, has encouraged a experimental method to his musical practice; presenting a cultural-infused essence, unique to the singer/songwriters sound. Through his lyrics, music, and personal style; he wishes to inspire his audiences to find the same freedom he found during his creative process. Advocating healing through art. Here’s what happened when we met:
Lets start with something fun: What was the first cd/cassette that you bought? Mine was the Honeyz.
Thats a good one!! I bought the single for TLC No scrubs, from Woolworths. However, the first cassette that was bought for me, was the Macarena.
Your music changes a lot; How would you describe your sound at the moment?
I’m definitely pulling from electric music, but with a deep soul origin. I love soul music, but I didn’t want to make music that was just pretty. I wanted something that was healing and I wanted to explore electric sound within that.
Where does the the aspiration of ‘healing’ in your music stem from?
My lifestyle; Im very into tradition, I have a strong faith, I’m open to energies and how we can better people. I wanted to bring my thoughts and values into my music; not only touching people with lyrics, but with the amazing sounds that my producers have created.
Growing up what artists influenced you?
Lauryn Hill, is a lyrical queen, the most beautiful and important thing that I look for in an artist is when they’re honest. I feel like she delivered content that was just her, no embellishments and just rough. Nat King Cole, my Nan was a big fan. My mum used to play guitar, so we used to sing Elton John songs. You cant get better than Elton John.
So your music is a mix of the lyricists of yesteryear and the futuristic/electronic mood of the music now.
Yes, I love the Weekend, James Blake, Jamie Woon and Bon Iver; artists who aren’t afraid to experiment with their voice and sound to incite emotions.
How was the process of making the E.P?
It was birthed from dealing with depression and mental health. The lyrics i wrote shone a light on that and helped me deal with it. Its literally been 2 years of, my producer Kai and I, working out sounds to make that marriage. Though it has come from a organic place, it wasn’t easy. But it was a very romantic process.
You mentioned the religious and spiritual aspect in your music; where does that come from?
I grew up in a Roman Catholic family and Gregorian/Worship/Gospel music was always played at home. I found solace in uplifting music. Music that was more than just ‘lets get a drink at the bar’. So I wanted to create pop music that was hopeful.
Do you feel the pressure to stay true to that, when you hear other artists?
Yeh. You’re automatically put under the pressure of ‘what are you saying that the young people want to hear’. But its like I said about Lauryn Hill; honesty transcends anything that is appropriated by the media.
What are your thoughts on music now, are there any artists that you are loving?
For a long time I felt like everything sounded the same. But i’ve heard some people with that same faith spark. It may not be the same faith but at least they’re standing up for something. Solange created a landmark album in our generation, where she celebrated and shared her black experience. Stormzy’s album is a worship album; he talks about hope/love/faith, but he does it his format.
Your parents are Italian, how has that culture influenced your music?
If you know any latin background you know there is a lot of heat and a lot of texture. So many different layers; fiery, calm, submissive and loving. So aromatic. We’re really inspired by the warm, festive, rooted sounds of North African music.
Do you think, as a artist, it’s important to have that wealth of knowledge in music?
I don’t want to say that anybody who doesn’t have that capacity is not doing a good job. I just think it helps. I’m interested in how the same instrument can be manipulated depending on where you live; I’m using the same voice box as people in Pan-Asia, but they can split there voice into polyphonic harmonies. I think having that wealth of knowledge broadens your taste level and appreciation.
With that playfulness that you have with sound, how does that translate when your working with other artists ?
It’s difficult. I like to play around with the structure of my songs; usually you have a verse, a chorus, a verse, a pre… But I don’t want to stick to any format; so I may have a verse, a chorus and a outro. What I’ve found in writing sessions, especially with pop artists, is they’re excited by it, but at the same time they are challenged because they don’t want to break away from a structure that works.
How has your experience within the industry been so far, is there anything that you’d like to change?
This is specifically for the U.K; I wish that we didn’t limit the music to the fact that we have to understand the language. I’ve listened to music that i cant understand, but I’ve still felt it. A track is a track and I wish that we were open to music from different cultures. But, I’m inspired by the industry all the time; you don’t think that a new music can happen and then it does. The evolution inspires me.
Your very visual, whether it be your personal style or your painting; Who or what inspires that part of you creatively?
It comes with maturity, confidence and being comfortable; for the most part London offers that. My mum gave me confidence to do me. Boy George was so brave and bold in a time where it wasn’t socially accepted to be a different sexual orientation, let alone express it. Wear you! You wanna plait your hair with pieces of silk from a curtain, do it! Musically, George Michael! But fashion wise… Primark Lol!! No the high street makes things that are on the runway so accessible, giving those who aren’t well off the opportunity to play around with their personal style. In terms of art, I’m heavily inspired by tattoo artists; there’s a British artist called Mr Patterson who works a lot in dot work and its beautiful.
What’s in the pipeline for you?
We’re currently working on the live sound for performance. Hopefully a UK tour and then head off into Europe for a tour there.
Finally do you have any words of encouragement for any young person who wants to work in the industry?
Stand firm, even in your hardest hour, and know that if you love doing your craft and your art, you have to stick to it. Its very easy to have people say that ‘you should be normal or to have a regular kind of job’; but there’s nothing regular about this planet. Keep at it, because you will be heard, someone will understand you and people will get it.
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