This week we caught up with Mikaela Davis, a harp playing indie artist, to talk about Rochester and how she got into music:
(Photo credit: Jill McCracken)
RI: So tell us a little about yourself.
Mikaela: I started the harp when I was in third grade so I’ve been playing for eleven years. I go to SUNY Potsdam; there is a great school of music up there for performance.
RI: So how did you start playing the harp?
Mikaela: It’s a funny question. It was offered at the elementary school, the school had 2 mini harps, and I wanted to play because my Oma (German for grandma) she passed away when I was in second grade and I wanted to play something that she could hear. I have a sky light in my living room and I would put my harp under the skylight so she could watch me playing the harp.
RI: That’s awesome, It makes the music real unique since you don’t normally someone get on stage with a harp.
Mikaela: Yea I know, but there are actually a good amount of people who play the harp around Rochester; unfortunately Penfield is the only high school that offers harp at school. I also started taking private lessons with Grace Wong, who is awesome; I continued to take lessons with her until 2010.
RI: So when did you start playing shows around town?
Mikaela: Not until last year. I began writing songs in 7th grade, kind of cheesy songs that I preformed while playing the piano. I put on a couple of concerts in middle school, but I then I stopped playing and really didn’t really write music again until my senior year of high school. I started writing music for the harp and playing shows around town last year.
RI: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Mikaela: Sufjan Stevens is my biggest influence. Elliott smith is one too, and Joanna Newsom, who plays harp and sings as well. I love 60s music as well, such as the Beatles and the Remains.
RI: So where do you spend time in Rochester when you are not playing music?
Mikaela: I really like the Bug Jar, it’s really cool because the furniture and stuff hanging from the ceiling; the Lovin Cup too. There are some good shows that play at the Lovin Cup and Bug Jar.
RI: So you said you had a CD coming out; can you tell us some more about it?
Mikaela: I’m recording at Red Booth Studios with Bryan Moore (the owner and engineer) he is awesome. We have finished all of the harps tracks; we did a lot of it live. It will hopefully come out in August.