Photo Credit: Jen Rosenstein
Debuting her first single, "Quiet," at 2017′s Women's March in Washington, DC, LA-native MILCK sparked a movement that would change history. MILCK's song became an anthem and her story became the narrative. In the wake of sexual assault allegations and the #METOO movement, MILCK's voice became the unifier for people of all races, creeds, and ethnicities who have suffered and survived. Now, a full year later, MILCK can no longer keep "Quiet" as she releases her eagerly anticipated debut EP, This Is Not The End.
Breaking down social and political barriers, MILCK's title track from the new EP is the perfect follow up to last year's "Quiet." Released ahead of the Jan. 19 EP release, "This Is Not The End" reminds listeners that she's not giving up the fight just yet. Last year was a moment of visibility on issues once too painful to look in the eye; this year MILCK raises the bar, filling the gaps with a hope for healing. Catch the video for "This Is Not The End" below:
The EP opens with "Call Of The Wild," a track that will immediately send shivers down your spine. MILCK's sound is definitive; it stuns. It's an ideal first track as MILCK makes the whole world aware that though she did her "best to tame the beast that cries [her] name," it's flickered "into a flame, into a raging fire [she] cannot contain." The lyricism parallels the 2017 Women's March when her a'capella flash mob performances of "Quiet" went viral - as well as the second annual Women's March when MILCK headlined the same song.
Born Connie Lim, MILCK has always felt a strong pull to pursue music. In high school she suffered with spouts of anorexia and took to writing songs as a comforting outlet. As a way to keep up with her musical interests in college, she joined an a'capella group, hence the later experiment at the 2017 Women's March. From there she kept toying with her talents, ended up on NBC's The Voice, playing frequent and well-attended gigs in Los Angeles, and finally revealing "Quiet" last January at the march. From there things just exploded for MILCK as she was eventually signed to Atlantic Records.
We sat down with MILCK to talk about everything from the wake of the march to her debut EP, This Is Not The End.
OTW: 2017 was an exciting year for you, the Women’s March in Washington, DC in particular, did you ever imagine that “Quiet” would become such an anthem?
MILCK: I had a vision that there would be choirs all over the country singing the song. I didn’t imagine that the song would spread globally. I remember thinking that it would be amazing if this song became the Women’s March anthem, but I didn’t realize that this song would accrue 14 million views in 2 days. I didn’t think that this song would propel me to the world stage as it did. The universe has a great way of surprising us.
OTW: How does it feel now that your debut EP is out for the world to hear?
MILCK: I’m so excited and grateful for this EP release! When "Quiet" went viral, 2017 became a year of performing this one song. I haven’t tired of singing the song because of the energy I receive from the audience, but I have felt very ready to have more of my songs be released to the public. There are so many other tunes to share! It feels like I’ve been holding my breath, with all this music in my lungs, waiting to come out. So now that I get to exhale and share this EP, I’m nervous, proud, and relieved. Because this EP is the most honest and intentional I’ve created yet, I feel super naked, and have no idea how people will react. I like that high stakes type of feeling.
OTW: In an early interview you described your sound as being soulful, indie-tronic. Would you consider this EP to fall within that same genre?
MILCK: I think it’s definitely soulful, has quirky and electronic tendencies, which spur from my life as an indie, self-producing artist. The difference now is that I’m more experienced as a songwriter, and am able to get to the core of what I’m trying to say more intentionally.
OTW: As a long time songwriter, what does your process typically look like?
MILCK: Every day and every moment is potential for inspiration. I always carry a journal with me, and I jot down the things that strike me as interesting. The ideas can be as vague as a word that sounds cool, or an intriguing thing that a friend says. I collect them, look over them, and allow for them to fester in my subconscious.
When I’m super mentally healthy I start writing song ideas in my dreams, and I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, rush for my phone, and scramble to record the idea that came to me through the dream world. I will also spend time sitting in front of the piano, and pretend as if I’ve never played the piano before. I start allowing the keys to show me what I need to be playing. Once I land on a cool riff or chord progression, I’ll play it over and over again, which will naturally spark a melody in my mind. I record all these ideas, and then bring them to writing sessions with my favorite cowriters. Usually we’ll have a song written and mapped out on a scratch recording within 5 hours. I’ll let the recording sit for a while, then start flirting with the mp3 by listening to it here and there.
If the song gives me joy, I usually send it right away to my team. I’ve also hidden songs for months because they felt too vulnerable or naked; I’ll convince myself that the song is just wrong. Sometimes those songs are the ones that react the best with my team. Other times I will listen to something and realize that there is something fundamentally unfinished about the song, so I’ll wrestle with it, and then go in for a rewrite. Rewrites can be scary because you don’t know if your heart is going to fight you on it, as it’s easy to get attached to something you’ve heard before. However, a successful rewrite is so cathartic. I feel like a badass when I’m able to go in to a session, listen to something I already love, question it, and rewrite it. The ego needs to be out the door, and I need to be channeling some pure inspo. I love writing. I always say after a writing session, “there was nothing, and now there’s something!” to remind my cowriters of how magical creativity is.
OTW: Your song “Quiet” has influenced the recent movement of women and survivors to speak out, what is the overall message you hope to send with this new project?
MILCK: My whole life has been this journey of learning to stand up for myself, and to own who I am, no matter how displeasing it is for the people in my life. Time and time again the universe has presented me with challenges to test if I’m really able to be true to myself, and to trust my inner voice. I have also been tested with patience and consistency. I hope that people can listen to my music, and feel like they, too, can become whoever they want to be, or to express whatever loving truth that waits within them. I hope that my music will heal, comfort, and rejuvenate. Sometimes I’ve found that music made from an egotistical or fearful place can leave a listener feel lesser than, or restless. I have done everything in my human power to release my ego and come from a loving place. I hope people can feel that.
OTW: With This Is Not The End now out, what are your next steps for 2018 as an artist?
MILCK: I want to keep writing, writing, writing, and touring, touring, touring! I foresee this year being a year of serving the audience on stage, and serving the muse in the studio. I want to continue crafting a sonic and visual world for people to dive into. My hopes are to get out another EP sometime during the second half of 2018. There are many songs that are waiting in my hard drive, waiting to be heard!
OTW: Are there any
other women, now or in the past that have influenced your journey?
MILCK: There have been so many women that have influenced my journey. Why? Because women are viral. Once one woman is well, she will heal a circle of women around her. And the other women in that circle will create their own circles of women to heal. I visualize a blooming of healing circles, budding off one another, like a scientific marvel. I have been honored to be a part of so many of these circles. From my mentors to my friends to famous public figures that I look up to - they all have raised me to become who I am today.
My sister Annie, my sister from another mister Kylie Lewallen (check out her breathtaking Instagram @kyliesheaxo), Krista Suh, the creator of the Pussyhat Project, Adrianne Gonzalez, my frequent collaborator, Suzan Koc, my mentor and anti-mother; oh man the list goes on and on for those who have personally affected me.
For women who I’ve never met, but have moved me: Joan of Arc, Mulan, Maya Angelou, Adele, Imogen Heap, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Malala…
OTW: You dabbled in pre-med and then even took the LSATS; what advice do you give to students who may be struggling with the same musical pull you once felt?
MILCK: A few things: The worst thing that could happen is not failing. The worst thing would be you not going for what your inner voice is telling you, and depriving the world of the chance to see the true you.
You are exactly where you need to be at this given moment. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in is the situation that the universe desires for you to be in because you are supposed to grow, learn, and create from it.
It took me a while to battle my demons and own my voice, and the universe didn’t help me ascend towards my dreams during the times that I was trying to create to please others. It wasn’t until I stopped caring what other people thought and held myself responsible for finding and expressing my truth that the universe started opening doors for me.
Keep Zen and try again! This journey of being a musician is one of persistence and focusing on the process rather than the outcome.
OTW: What is your biggest hope for the future?
MILCK: On a macro world level, I hope that we are able to keep integrity of information, and establish trustable resources for the people. I think that desire leads me to thinking about the importance of net neutrality, and empowering the masses to continue sharing and seeking their truths. I also think that as technology continues to evolve, it’s important for our societies to put more resources into education and empowerment programs to help people who feel lost to evolve in this modern world of ours, too.
On my own micro one human level, I hope that I continue to craft spaces for people to feel, cry, laugh, and grow.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
MILCK: Will Jay, Amy Shark, K Flay, Alma Harel, Krista Suh, Dani Poppit, DRESAGE