Here comes Mila…

Mila Smith is a sixteen-year-old student at Herzlia. She’s also a talented singer/songwriter with a newly released debut single and another on the way.

She describes how she’s been singing as long as she remembers, putting her thoughts and feelings to music as far back as the age of three.

The CJC asked her about her career thus far — what were the pivotal moments? The first pivotal moment was getting a keyboard when I was eight years old. That’s when I started writing my own original music. Then, at age 11, I started a band called Skyscrapers with two boys from school. I was the lead singer and composed the original music. In 2016, we released our debut EP Possibility and a music video for our single Just Kids. In December 2016, our song Megaphone was the song behind the DSTV campaign for their new channel Animania. Afterwards, we got to perform at Concert in the Park and opened for well known South African bands like Freshlyground and The Rudimentals. The band broke up in 2018. That same year I was approached by Platoon, a creative artist services company owned by Apple. I signed with them as a solo artist and was able to write and record with various producers. Now, three years later, my debut single and music video for my original song Liars and Fakes is out — and I couldn’t be happier!

Describe your process: My writing process usually starts with a melody. I can be anywhere: at school; in the shower etc and I get a random melody in my head. Then I establish that melody as chords on the piano (I play by ear). Once the chords are established, my lyrics flow from there. I usually write based on my own emotions and experiences. Or I put myself in someone else’s shoes and write from their perspective. Besides writing music, I love creative writing tasks at school because it’s a different way to flex the writing muscles.

How are you managing to balance your time, and energy between your academic commitments and your music career? Balancing my time between my academic commitments and my music career can be challenging. However, it has been possible due to Herzlia’s support and my strong support system at home. My school is very understanding of my demanding schedule. So too is my mom and the rest of my family — they are always there when I need them; willing to listen and give advice. I think it is also very important to know your limits and set boundaries to ensure you don’t take on too much. I’m always willing to voice when I feel overwhelmed and try to plan when to do what, to ensure that I have some time for myself to relax.

Your debut single has just been released — what’s it about? Liars and Fakes was essentially written about someone who I felt used me for superficial gain as opposed to chasing a real, genuine friendship. It is an upbeat pop song with a little bit of an 80s disco sound to it.

The video is amazing and looks like it was a lot of fun to make. Tell us about it: The making of the Liars and Fakes music video will always be memorable! The actual shooting of the music video was delayed constantly due to covid and eventually, in February 2021, we were able to shoot. The production team behind the music video is called ‘Butterfly Films’ and they helped bring the music video to life. It starts off at a diner, where my squad and I are working. We are dissatisfied and have to act fake and superficial. Then we decide we’ve had enough and escape the diner (on roller skates) and skate around the city. Eventually we land up at an abandoned mall. It is there that we change outfits. I loved that idea because we were transforming in our clothing but also in our mindsets. Rather than being fake and superficial, we emerge as our true, authentic selves. The music video ends off on a high note — on the roof of a skyscraper.

Where to from here? After this, my second single and music video is planned to be released at the end of July. Afterwards, the goal is to release my debut EP towards the end of this year. I’d also love to start performing my songs live, when lockdown regulations ease up! Another dream of mine is to compose music for a movie or film score, so that is something I’d love to focus on too!

Click here to watch Liars and Fakes

• Published in the PDF edition of the July 2021 issue.

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