Mirnaz was born in Baghdad, Iraq. She began singing at age 3. She moved to the United States in 2009 and later started making music in high school at 16 years old.
She wrote the song “Eyes On You” about that special moment you lay your eyes on that special person when they walk into a room. Even when you know they might not be the best match for you.
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
MIRNAZ: I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, MI. It all started when I was 9 years old. I started living in a country where I did not speak the language so I turned to music in an effort to learn English and understand American culture. In that same year, I started writing lyrics to try and make sense of everything I was feeling during such a vital time of adolescence.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
MIRNAZ: I was in choir for 4 years from elementary to the final year of Middle School. The teachers I had were professors of music at local universities who also worked part-time as choir instructors. I learned a lot of operatic techniques from a very young age. For the past 4 years, I have been vocal training with Ben King Quale and I couldn’t ask for a better teacher!
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘MIRNAZ’?
MIRNAZ: My first huge influence was Kadim Al Sahir. My parents played his music on repeat when I was growing up. His music feels like it has been the theme of my life if it was a TV show. He was able to compose the perfect melodies over the greatest pieces of poetry ever written and I consider him to be one of the greatest musicians alive.
Mirnaz is simply my first given name ‘’Mirna’’ with a little pizazZ…
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
MIRNAZ: Whenever I write a song and finish it, there is one thing I contemplate. That one thing is that I hope my music inspires someone, somewhere to dream way beyond all preconceived restrictions. The most awesome thing we have at our disposal is that we can imagine whatever we want, whenever we want. If you really think about it, we are all self-programable. I was able to use that to get through rough times in my life and turn them into inspiration. That inspiration turned into seeking ideas and music from everywhere in the world. I turned to music like French dance, Brazillian funk, 90s Hip-Hop, K-Pop, and many other sounds to imagine what life would be in that part of the world when I didn’t feel like I belonged where I was. That is why you can hear a little bit of all in my music. And if my music helps at least one person out there think outside the realm of their reality, then I’ve achieved my goal.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as POP?
For me, it was definitely hard to discern what I truly wanted to create versus what I thought people wanted me to create. That is what I had to learn before anything else. After that, the emulation factor was very conflicting. On one hand, I am the type of person that gets inspired by others’ work very easily.
On the other hand, the people I was inspired by were 25 years into making music and performing. Coming to terms with the fact that I need to let time take me there pushed me toward my own style. I would definitely classify my style as pop or world pop if were to be more specific.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
MIRNAZ: I think the freedom people have to express themselves at the best capacity that they feel represents them reflects society’s efforts to improve. If the artists of that society can be fully creative, then society will benefit from their innovation.
I do try to be innovative with the topics of my music. Specifically to prove that creativity is what moves us all forward.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
MIRNAZ: I don’t expect fulfillment from my music. I expect my music to reach someone and inspire them to find fulfillment through inspiring others as well.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
MIRNAZ: My creative process is very narrative-based. I always get the best ideas when I am doing homework. I think the more I use the analytical part of my brain, the more the creative side fights harder to be used. I end up jotting all kinds of one-liners in my notes app. Then, when I am in the studio listening to instrumentals to try and conjure an idea, I will remember one of the lines in my notes and build on it. I collab with Ethan Marc on all of my music. He is one of the most talented artists and sound engineers out there and definitely the best in Detroit.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
MIRNAZ: The most difficult thing for me and many other immigrants is the conflicting thoughts, feelings, and views between the culture I was born into and the culture I ended up growing up in. If it wasn’t for music and the outlet it gave me to find myself, it would have been a lot more difficult to endure.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
MIRNAZ: The most significant point of my music career so far is when I reached 10,000 steams on ‘’God Complex’’ on Spotify.
11. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
MIRNAZ: Ignore it. No one is worth risking your digital footprint.
12. Creative work in a studio or home environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excites you most, and why?
MIRNAZ: I feel like one proceeds the other naturally so it’s hard to pick. But I would go with live audience because seeing how people react to music right in front of you is very exciting for my data/analytics craving mind.
13. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
MIRNAZ: I think everyone should be free to interpret my music in their own way. Through writing and recording, I already went through the motions of what the song means to me. When it’s out there, it belongs to whoever is listening to it.
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