A week ago, I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and came across a music video posted by our friends at medievalists.net. I hit “play” and was completely enthralled. Upon sharing the video on our The Tudor Thomases Facebook page, I received a gracious response from Natasha Mira. After learning she is a new vocal talent of both Cinematic/Symphonic and Medieval Pop Music, I just needed to learn more and share her considerable talents with Queenanneboleyn.com followers and browsers, as well as the talents of her phenomenal photographer and cinematographer, Armand Nour.
Singer/songwriter Natasha Mira, graduate of USC’s Music Business Department, is a gifted music video producer and founder of her own independent production company Type A Entertainment. Working in the film industry as a creative marketing manager, Natasha shapes the creative direction on movie trailers, movie posters, TV spots, and featurettes.
Natasha Mira’s currently working on a new album called CINEPHONIC which will most debut in early 2019. After enjoying our interview here at Queenanneboleyn.com, be sure to visit Natasha on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
Video Credit: Natasha Mira (YouTube)
INTERVIEW WITH NATASHA MIRA
Natasha, I became aware of your phenomenal talent through medievalist.net when they shared your newly released video of your single “Calling Out to Me”. Tell us about the song. Who composed the lyrics? How about the accompanying music?
“Calling Out to Me” was a collaborative project with my longtime friend and producer Dan Solovitz. My mother, Ilona Europa is also a singer/songwriter and she introduced me to Dan, who shared this epic orchestral track with me. At the time, it was only about 90 seconds long. I asked Dan if I could try writing a melody and lyrics on top of his track, and I wrote the first half of the song. We loved how it turned out, so Dan expanded the instrumental and I wrote the second half. Eventually, it developed into the full song you hear today!
How did you get your start in music? Are there any mentors you would like to credit for starting you on your way?
I 100% credit my journey in music to my mother, Ilona Europa. I was actually rather shy growing up. Music was all around me when I was younger because my mother would be writing and recording her own music, or developing talented musicians. The artists she developed would be coming to train with her all the time, and I would be in the room next door listening through the wall, and singing harmonies to try to hear my own voice. When I was around seven years old, my mom would take me to the studio about once a year to record a song she wrote. Even though I was never one to push for the spotlight, I always loved being on stage when I had the opportunity, and recording studios became my second home.
Growing up in that environment, when I turned sixteen I eventually started taking writing my own music seriously. Believe it or not, some of the songs on my album will include songs I wrote when I was sixteen or seventeen. Even though I’m twenty-four today, I saved specific songs that were very special to me, because I couldn’t find the right genre to represent them at the time. My mom is truly responsible for my music career. She’s the first person I show all of my songs to and get her feedback. She trains me before recording sessions and has helped pair me with incredible producers to bring my album to life. My mother made me believe in myself, and she will always be by my side! Your readers should definitely check out her website: (ilonaeuropacreative.com) my mom is the most incredible woman, I’m so thankful to be her daughter!
Video Credit: IlonaEuropaMusic (YouTube)
As I have been learning more about your talents and interests, I learned that the two genres of music you are known for are Cinephonic and Medieval Pop? Can you tell browsers about these two music genres and what drew you to them?
“Medieval Pop” is actually a brand name I came up with in college when I was earning my Music Business degree at USC. It was around the time when shows like Game of Thrones were exploding in popularity, and I was trying to find a way to differentiate my music and brand myself with a niche audience that also loved “medieval-inspired” programming like I did. I’ve always been fascinated with the Renaissance and Medieval time periods. I think it’s my Polish and European heritage that made me feel so connected to those eras. As time went on, I felt “Medieval Pop” was too limiting, and I was forcing my writing to fit a genre that didn’t fully represent myself as an artist.
After graduating college, I started working in the film industry, and the more I became exposed to film music, I began to realize that what I loved about “medieval” and “fantasy” programming was the orchestration and epic music behind them. As soon as I made that connection, everything clicked and CINEPHONIC was born – Cinematic/Symphonic music with a singer-songwriter melody. All of the songs I had saved finally started coming to life and found their purpose. I feel like a part of myself that I had been searching for finally made sense. I was no longer trying to force an idea, I just found who I wanted to be. Medieval Pop was just a stepping stone to find my true sound and musical identity.
Video Credit: Natasha Mira (YouTube)
Who are your musical influences and why?
I listen to a wide variety of music, but I would say my biggest musical influence is Imogen Heap. I’ve listened to her music consistently since 2005, and I feel that her albums are evergreen. I still hear new elements to her songs, she’s a genius – I also love her use of minor chords, poetry, and harmonies. Other big influences are music production companies like Audiomachine and Two Steps From Hell, which create music for film and television. They have wonderful orchestral pieces that I love to listen to. I’m also a big fan of video game composers, like Jeremy Soule (Skyrim), and artists like Woodkid, Coldplay, and Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical: Hamilton. I think all of those artists have one big thing in common, they truly capture emotion through music and create works of art that are timeless. I hope to do the same with my music!
I understand that you have a debut album in the works entitled CINEPHONIC. How exciting! Tell us all about it!
Yes! CINEPHONIC is truly the embodiment of my music from the past ten years. I feel like I’ve been growing and preparing for this moment, and feel so excited to share my own vision with the world. This is the first project that I’m completely directing. From producing photo shoots and music video shoots to writing the songs, to giving notes on the arrangements, I’m touching every aspect of this album. My first single Calling Out to Me was a great introduction to the concept and power behind the word: CINEPHONIC, but I think listeners will be surprised that I also have several songs that are more cerebral, subdued, and haunting. The entire album will vary in style and intensity, but they will all have emotive orchestrations with a singer-songwriter melody in common.
I’m working on another music video concept currently with Armand Nour (my cinematographer for Calling Out to Me) and I hope to release a few more singles over the coming months to keep everyone up to date on the full album before it debuts! I’m so excited to be working with Armand and to share so many creative projects together. He’s absolutely wonderful to work with, and is truly helping to shape the visual elements of my album!
I also have a concept I’m working on with my graphic designer (Josie Eli Lapczynski @acornphotosjosie) where every song on the album will have its own “movie poster.” I began with photographer Sylwia Kozyra where we had a photoshoot with a few different looks to help embody the different songs on my album. The title of each song on my album will become the title of the “film”, and each “movie poster” will vary in genre, just as the songs do. I thought this would be a great way to market the cinematic component of my music. I’m really excited about this concept and love how this album is developing.
I’m currently organizing a photo shoot for the shoe brand Blowfish Malibu, where Armand, and my photographer friend Jaqui Gaball (@gaballbabe), will both be doing photoshoots for the brand. Blowfish Malibu’s Social Media and Marketing Manager Allie Woerner (who is also an incredible writer with her own blog: “Sparkles and Stilettos”) will be pairing the photos we capture along with a piece about my music video, so a lot of creativity is currently in the works!
I understand that you live in California, but that you have dual citizenship with Poland. Do you think that influences your music?
Absolutely! While I’m born and raised in the United States, I would definitely say I have a European soul at heart. I’m so grateful and honored to be able to celebrate my Polish heritage and to be a citizen of the world. My album also is a tribute to that, as I’m working with several producers from all over the globe! I have a song with German producer and composer Michael Summ, as well as Polish animator and composer Jonasz Wiewiór. Dan Solovitz, who produced “Calling Out to Me” is based in the US. It’s amazing to be able to work internationally and create with no limitations. I’m so grateful for all the incredible artists and life-long friends I’ve made through the creation of this album. This is only the beginning!
Is there anything else you would like to share with Queenanneboleyn.com members and browsers?
My dream and goal are to license my music for film, television, video games, and advertising! For licensing inquiries, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Armand Nour is a freelance photographer based in Southern California.
A former veteran of the film industry turned full time photographer on a mission to capture the best locations our world has to offer.
I recently caught up with Armand to discuss his professional collaboration with Natasha Mira so that he could give us all a “besides the scenes” view of the production of Natasha’s new single release “Calling Out to Me” and her upcoming debut album “CINEPHONIC”.
Armand, it is our understanding that you are the cinematographer of Natasha Mira’s brilliant new music video “Calling Out to Me”. What exactly does a cinematographer do? Can you tell us about the production of the video?
That would be me! The cinematographer is in charge of the look of the video, how it’s going to be shot, what lighting and camera techniques to use, etc. Usually the cinematographer works closely with the director to figure out a look for what they’re shooting but in this case I guess Natasha and myself were co-directing. We went pretty simple on this shoot, all one location with natural lighting, nothing too crazy.
It’s kind of funny how the project evolved into what it is now. She initially contacted me in December of last year wanting to use my drone footage for a lyric video for Calling Out To Me and it slowly morphed into a full on production. There was actually going to be drone footage from other locations from my travels but it didn’t quite work out and decided to just keep it all one Iceland.
How did you come to meet Natasha Mira? Can you tell us about your partnership with Natasha and how you collaborate?
I actually met her 4 years ago on one of my first film sets outside of school and we loosely kept in touch over Facebook, which is where she saw all my photos and drone work from my trips. Collaborating with her is pretty cool because she’ll tell me what were going to shoot, like a product or a video or whatever it might be and leaves the creativity up to me and we’ll go from there and build on that, which makes the process really fun and easy.
The landscapes and scenery highlighted in the video are simply breathtaking. Tell us about your talents as a photographer and about those exquisite location shots.
Thank you! My photography work is mainly landscape and travel based, I’m currently traveling the world building up my portfolio and starting to work with brands and licensing images, etc. So far this year I’ve been to Iceland, Island of Kauai, Japan and New Zealand, I think the next trip is going to be Canada before summer is over. Also hoping to visit a good portion of Europe after summer and possibly back to Asia at the end of the year.
As for the shots in the video, it was all shot on location in Iceland during my trip in January. The two northern light time-lapses were at Skógafoss and Dyrhólaey and the drone footage was from the Snaefell Peninsula and the black sand beach. It was my second time in Iceland so I knew exactly where I wanted to shoot what and it all turned out exactly how I envisioned it, luckily.
Tell us about your former career in the film industry. Did expertise developed while working in film contribute towards your current talents and career interests?
I worked in the film industry for about 3-4 years as a digital imaging technician and post colorist. I was working on everything from features to web series (when web series first starting becoming a thing) to commercials and everything in between. I still work on some film projects here and there for fun because it’s always good to catch up with old film buddies and have a change of pace once in a while.
I definitely think working in film contributed to my current talents and career, as a DIT/colorist I was always working closely with different cinematographers and directors and observing their work and learning new things all the time. I do use the things I learned from film in my photography quite often and vice-versa, they’re very similar in some ways.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us regarding either your partnership with Natasha or other current or future projects?
There is actually some things in the works with Natasha and myself, most likely another music video and some editorial style brand work. We might even be collaborating on a song together. As far as other projects I’ll still be traveling all over the place and working on various photo and video projects in between my travels. Very busy schedule for this year with a lot of cool things in the works!