Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's home for music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on women artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Growing up in the rural township of Woorabinda, Australian singer-songwriter Miiesha had never really imagined life outside of the city limits of the mission. Her plan was much like everyone else's around her: working and growing alongside her family and friends in the area for the rest of her life. But even as she prepared to walk the beaten path that had been paved for her, Miiesha had a special dream that would soon come true, altering the very course of her life in ways she'd never envisioned before. Music was her destiny, her ticket to a world beyond Woorabinda — and a door that she could open for those coming behind her.
Miiesha's journey as a musician officially began with what she now recognizes a universe-ordained phone call with a friend in 2018, leading to her decision to leave Woorabinda for an intense two-week songwriting and production session. The impromptu retreat sparked something in Miiesha and opened her eyes to two things: her talent and her real possibility of making it in the music world. The rest was history. She dropped her first single "Black Privilege" in 2019 and then upped the ante with the Queensland Music Award-winning “Drowning" before the official release of her critically-acclaimed project Nyaaringu.
"Made for Silence" is the second single of Miiesha's 2021 comeback, a companion piece to the recently released "Damaged" from just a few weeks ago. Funky and uptempo, the new track boldly explores the often terse nature of familial ties, a subject close to home for the newbie singer-songwriter; its lyrics draw from the strained, work-in-progress relationship that Miiesha has with her own mother. The visuals for the new song, premiering right here on Refinery29, pay homage to her family and to her roots but in a different, more positive way — even as she struggles to move forward in one familial relationship, the love and knowledge gleaned from another connection push her towards serenity.
Braving a 14-hour time difference all the way in Australia, Miiesha linked up virtually with Refinery29 during a recent Zoom call to share more of her unique story, touching on the lessons her family taught her that she'll never forget and her dreams for those that she left behind in Woorabinda.
Refinery29: What was the moment that made you realise that you wanted to be a singer?
Miiesha: "I always felt like I was going to do something with my music, but I never thought the opportunity would open up for me. It didn't seem realistic. I was praying on it for a long time, and one day, my brother Stephen invited me down to Sydney to work on some songs with him. During the two weeks that we spent in intense music mode there, we wrote a bunch of really great songs. At the end of it, I decided to fully commit and move down to Sydney full-time. The hardest thing for me was leaving my family and everything that I knew to step onto this unknown path, but I thought, Just give it a shot, Miiesha — you're young! Just go for it!"
Tell us about the backstory behind "Made For Silence."
"I wasn't in a good place in my journey [when I wrote this song]. This was around the time that my Nana passed, and I was also going through a tough time with my mum. My writing sessions were really dragging on because I was going through it; I remember thinking that I didn't even want to do music anymore."
"For me, 'Made for Silence' is about that rollercoaster relationship with my mum. The song is me expressing my exhaustion towards our arguing and tension. Like, can you be quiet for one second and just listen to me?! Writing the lyrics and singing them has been really healing for me because it was so emotional to even just vocalise the things I'd been feeling. And for my momther to hear it...that's done so much for me."
The car you're riding around in in the video is also the same vehicle from the visuals of your last hit, "Damaged." Are the two songs linked narratively?
"In both 'Damaged' and 'Made for Silence,' that car represents my late grandmother and will actually tie everything coming up in my EPs together. For the last video, my family was grieving and holding onto this car because they couldn't let my Nana go, but at the end, I left in the car — taking what she instilled in me and letting it fuel my journey, which you see in the 'Made for Silence' visuals. I'm flying around corners and swerving, just having fun and enjoying my life the way she would want me to. The road may be long, but I'm ultimately going to get to the destination with the lessons my grandmother taught me guiding my path."
You’ve become a voice for Black and indigenous people in Australia, which can obviously be both a burden and a blessing. How have the people in your community back home in Woorabinda reacted to your sound and to your message so far?
"I'm really happy because it feels like the work I've put out has made everyone really proud, like If she can do it, I can do it, too. And that's what I love the most about this whole experience. I really want to inspire everyone in my community because there's so much outside of our mission that they haven't had access to that I'm now aware of because of my own opportunities. When I left, I had to learn a lot just stepping into this new world and also to explain a lot to people as I've travelled; a lot of people don't even know what a mission is! The way we grew up back home is so different to all these fellas out here."
"I never wanted to be a role model because I didn't want to be in the spotlight, but now, I can't wait to be able to give back to my community in a real way — I'm most excited to do that. There are so many talented people in Woorabinda, but it's just that they're sitting around, waiting. I want to open doors for everyone coming up behind me."
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.