Donatella Meets Pia Mia
After scouring the net listening to new music I stumbled across Pia Mia, and instantly I was mesmerized. This young girl with supermodel looks and a killer sense of style intrigued me from the outset, but it was when I heard her sing that I was really blown away. I was intrigued to know more. I soon found out I wasn’t alone in thinking she was special. Pia already had close to 100,000 people subscribed to her Youtube channel to see her belt out acapella cover versions of hit records with her own unique spin. Now ready to unveil her debut video ‘Red Love’ to the world, I caught up with Pia in L.A exclusively for The Wrap Up.
The Wrap Up: Where do you come from and how did you get started?
Pia Mia: I started singing when I was 8. I originally come from Guam; I was in school and all my friends wanted to try out for this play, and I kind of followed the crowd and I auditioned for it. I ended up getting the part of Cinderella, so that’s how I started singing! It’s also how I found myself on stage and got comfortable with myself. I continued to sing and started singing at Japanese weddings. Everyone started telling my parents, ‘you have to move her off the island’ and I was begging my parents to let me move to LA. When I was 13 they agreed to let me go to LA for the summer and said I could stay there for three months, but then had to return back to school in Guam… I never went back, I’m still in LA!
TWU: ‘Red Love’ is your debut single. Tell us all about it and your inspirations behind it?
PM: ‘Red Love’ is based on true events that happened; it’s actually taken from one of my journal entries. It was a song from a time in my life where I felt like I was having my first love - when you’re in that moment and you just want to give everything you can to this person and you think this is the best thing in your life. It’s a song you can listen to if you’re going through a breakup but also before you get into a relationship because that song is my experience of what I thought that relationship was going to be like, and how wrong I was. It was months of me believing this was ‘it’ - but it was the complete opposite.
TWU: So it’s really a track where you lay your emotions bare. How do you feel when you’re performing ‘Red Love’?
PM: Honestly, it’s kind of hard for me to sing ‘Red Love’. I even kind of messed things up on the day of the video shoot. It was the second take on the first day and as I began singing, an emotion overtook me and I just started crying. I completely ruined all of my make up and we ended up not being able to use so many of the scenes… So it’s definitely a really hard song for me to perform. It’s something so close and personal to me but at the same time I love being able to share my experience, especially for anyone else that might be going through the same thing. It’s a comfort to know we’re not alone in going through things like that and hopefully through my experience I can help to guide and get others through problems or questions that they might have in a relationship.
TWU: I’m in LOVE with your sense of style, you always look great! Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
PM: My fashion inspiration comes from everything really, just life. I wear a lot of street wear, but sometimes I like to dress it up and make it a bit more high fashion. The thing with what I wear is that I really don’t care about if it’s a high-end line or super expensive, if it’s dope, it’s dope. I do always have a bandana with me though and my grills, they’re my style staples right now.
TWU: Musically, who has inspired you?
PM: My genre of music is so hard to specify as the styles I have differ from track to track; some songs are really stripped back with just piano and my vocals, others are slightly more pop, but then I have tracks that are more urban. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix and I like to think of it as rhythmic pop. Artists I love are Kanye, Drake, Jay Z, Beyoncé and I love Celine Dion too. I really dig Emeli Sande; I found her a while ago… wow, she’s amazing! When I first heard her voice I loved the rawness in it and I was inspired by how she sings from the soul. There isn’t many people out there who still REALLY sing and she really sings and I love that, she’s so talented.
TWU: Speaking of Kanye and Drake... you actually got to sing in front of them, how was that? OMG I bet you were so nervous?! Tell us everything…
PM: [Laughs] I was SO nervous. Kylie (Jenner) is a really good friend of mine and had invited me to dinner and I had no idea Drake was coming. I knew something was up when she had me sit next to Kanye. As we’re half way through our salads Kanye turns to Drake and says ‘Hey Drake, you see Pia, she’s got this whole cool fashion thing going and she sings too.’
Drake responded saying he was ‘digging my style’ and then Kanye looks at me while I still have food in my mouth and says ‘Sing something Pia!’ I practically choked on my salad at that point. Kylie had just heard the Drake cover I’d done that I hadn’t released yet. I’d changed the entire melody too, so to say I was nervous was an understatement. It all worked out though and Drake really liked it, as did Kanye. That was a pretty surreal situation, I never thought I’d have the chance to sing Drake his own song!
TWU: What else do we have to look forward to from you?
PM: We have an album that is pretty much done, so you can look out for that - I’m so excited to share it with everyone. I’m also going to be dropping a free EP on Christmas day as a thank you to the fans that have supported me so far. Everything I talk about in my music is based on situations that have either happened to me or people close to me; I just want to keep things really real so that is what you can expect.
Words: Donatella Panayioutou (@LittleDonatella)