Skip to content

Musician Mikhaila Alyssa on the power of music, Youth Month, and authenticity

Glamour: Please tell us about your musical background.

Mikhaila Alyssa Smith: My love for music started with the piano. When I was eight years old, my parents surprised me with an upright Otto Bach and I remember being so captivated the moment I sat down in front of those keys. Since then, it’s become my greatest form of expression. I was also profoundly influenced by the Disney films I grew up watching; the scores by Alan Menken became the melodies of my childhood and I became increasingly fascinated by the lush, orchestral sound that filled the screen. Storytelling through music inevitably led me to the pursuit of composition and I fell deeply in love with writing music. I always found myself at the piano, improvising and jotting down melodies that seemed to come to me very quickly.

G: What does it mean to you being able to do what you love and get recognition for it both locally and abroad?

MAS: It’s always a thrill and an incredibly fulfilling feeling to be able to do what I love. When I fell in love with music, I became fully aware of the power it had to make me feel everything so deeply; it was because I heard a melody that moved me and because of it, I had the compelling desire to chase that feeling for the rest of my life with the hope of creating a moment like that for someone else. To know that it resonates in some way is an honour beyond anything I could dream of and I hope that it empowers people to dream. I hope it empowers people to chase the very thing that moves them.

G: What are some of your most memorable career highlights?

MAS: Moving to New York was an absolute dream come true. What followed were some wonderful projects that included my work on Netflix’s Look Both Ways, Hulu/Disney’s Rosaline and HBO’s Edge of the Earth, which are a few of my most memorable projects thus far. My works, both concert and film, have been performed and recorded by orchestras and ensembles in New York, Los Angeles, Prague and Cape Town.

G: What does your versatility speak to?

MAS: It speaks to an understanding of music in which multiple influences are at play. The blend of my classical background with the filmic world feeds directly into the kind of music I love to write – music that extends to the concert hall, theatre, interdisciplinary art and multimedia. My love for storytelling and collaborating with other artists has led me to write for several different mediums; there is so much growth, challenge and excitement in those spaces because every medium asks for something different, and I am always in search of new worlds I can express through music.

G: What’s the role of music as the world continues to shift and change?

MAS: The role music plays in this changing world will differ from artist to artist. Its power is boundless and it means so many different things to different people. Music can be a conduit for change, it can be a source of healing, and it can be an escape. It challenges, it evokes, it moves and it expresses that which cannot be expressed in words or image.

Music will always be a medium that empowers the world to feel. It’s an intangible force representative of the human soul. While its delivery might have changed from era to era, its impact has remained the same for centuries. It’s incredibly powerful and it will always be absolutely essential to this world.

G: What’s your message for Youth Month?

MAS: The world can be filled with so much noise, but in the midst of it all, it’s a powerful thing to remain true to what feels authentic to you, what resonates and moves you. It might take you on the road less travelled, but it opens the door to growth, possibility and beauty.

Purchase a digital copy of our June/July ‘Disruptors’ Issue here, or grab a physical copy now in stores.

Share this article: