Mychelle | On The Rise

Hackney’s best-kept secret, singer/songwriter and guitarist Mychelle, sonically steers through a break-up, facing grandiose emotions with her head held up high, fighting for her worth and leaving negative energy in her previous chapter.

“Sometimes love is like a cycle,” she sings on ‘Hurts,’ one of the standout tracks of Mychelle’s latest project ‘IT’S not YOU, it’s me.’ Mychelle inhibits an empowered image honoring her self-worth and knowing what she truly deserves on the tranquil ode to herself, ‘Magical.’ This EP focuses on letting go of low standards and loved-up naivety.

Mychelle’s career breaking point included Idris Elba, out of all people. One moment she was busking around the streets of London, and one thing led to another; her talent blew Idris Elba away to the extent of being invited to his studio. Mychelle ended up writing and singing on Elba’s Yardie Mixtape project and the soundtrack to his directorial film debut of the same name.

On top of Mychelle’s unique blend of R&B and neo-soul roots with her deeper engagement with indie, folk, and acoustic pop, she expands her creative mastery with music videos for ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Hurts.’ She opted for character-focused grounded cinematography working alongside Thea Gajic.

Noctis unpacks Mychelle’s inspirations and stance on break-ups and the consequent heartwrenching healing process.

Could you describe your surroundings at the moment?

I am currently in the laundrette hehe. I don’t have a broken washing machine or anything, but you know when life gets on top of you and the washing piles up, it’s sometimes nice to get it all done in one go. 

What female artists do you look up to the most?

Growing up I looked up to artists like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé, but as there is so much access to music now, I look up to so many artists. There are so many female artists doing their thing! 

Before pursuing this career professionally, did you have a conversation with yourself about staying authentic, sticking true to your values and morals?

Definitely. I think enjoying the process is very important too. I find that when I am staying true to myself in all that I do, that’s how I get to enjoy it. 

What is themain messaging of ‘Younger Self’?

I’ve always written in diaries and I often go back to read them. I wanted to write from the perspective of my older self, writing back to the younger me who wrote in those diaries. I wanted to let her know that, yes it will be hard but you will get through it. Reminding her to trust her instincts because they are very strong. 

I also really enjoyed your collaboration with ENNY on ‘Forbidden Fruit’, could you share how this came about?

It was a song that I wrote a couple years ago and I always used to play while busking. When I finally went in with a producer to get it finished, it felt like an extra verse would work well on the track. So, I reached out to ENNY and asked if she’d be up for featuring on it! I was so happy when she said yes. I really feel like it added new life to the track. I’m such a big fan of ENNY. 

Could you talk us through your new EP ‘IT’S not YOU, it’s me’ and its conceptual inspirations?

The EP is essentially about going through a break up. However, it isn’t just about breaking up with a partner, it also includes the process of taking a step back from a friend or a family member who may be affecting you negatively. Although it stems from a sad place, I wanted the project to also feel liberating as you’re leaving the negative situations behind because you know that you deserve better. 

To break a pattern of writing sad love songs, you wanted to put together an uplifting track, was it hard to write ‘Magical’ and change the tone of your songwriting?

I really enjoyed writing ‘Magical’, it felt like a song I needed! I was feeling really inspired by ‘Video’ by India Arie around the time I wrote it with Ed Thomas. I feel like ‘Video Girl’ really speaks to me and I wanted Magical to come from that same place. To be honest I wouldn’t say it was hard to write. 

What did you want to express in your music videos ‘Hurts’ and ‘Tight Rope’? What was the mood board you and your team came up with?

I knew I didn’t want to be the lead character in either video. I wanted them to follow the lives of other people. That was definitely the first idea. We then decided it would be nice for the videos to almost be a short film in the way that it tells a story. I worked with the same director for both videos – Thea Gajic. I’ve been a fan of her work for many years so it was an honour having her direct the videos. 

Although Tightrope could be interpreted as a song talking about a love interest, we wanted the video to say otherwise and force the listener/viewer into interpreting the song from a different perspective. 

I initially wanted ‘Hurts’ to almost be a manual of how a break up goes in stages. It still has that feel but the director suggested we film it as if the lead in the video is documenting her break up which I thought was a great idea. It made it feel more personal. This is the world we live in… documenting a breakup doesn’t seem so far-fetched. 

What other genres would you like to experiment with? 

I would love to experiment with some more psychedelic soul and indie vibes. I also love Zouk, Kizomba and Bossa Nova, so it would be great to somehow incorporate those sounds into my music. 

It’s only April, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?

I’ve got shows coming up that I am really excited for! I love shows! I would also LOVE to put out some more music before the end of the year, but we will see!

Before we go, what are some up and coming artists you would like to highlight and share with us?

Definitely check out Nectar Woode & Sophie Faith – their voices and their songs are amazing! 

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Words: Karolina Kramplova