Seattle born and everywhere-raised, Mirabai Kukathas has been a singer all her life. She loves nothing (other than perhaps garlic fries) more than stories, no matter the medium in which they are told. Her music is an act of healing; a confusing celebration of her culture, identity, and life. With lots of love, effort, and community, she works to blend folk, pop, jazz, soul, and a lil rock n roll to tell her own unique story.
What was one of your first experiences with music that made you want to become a creator? Why do you create music?
I don’t have a dramatic moment when I realized that I loved to sing. I think I was born with the knowledge (or maybe the instinct) that I needed to sing. Even before I could speak I was already babbling the lyrics and melody to the hit song “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” Singing has always just been what I do. Growing up I’d sing as I walked and sing at my desk in school (much to the chagrin of my classmates) and I’d make up little songs about whatever I did or felt. I’d sing to calm myself down when I was scared or anxious. I still do that. Singing has always just felt natural. I’ve always known it’s what I’m supposed to do and I always figured it would be what I did (at least in some capacity) for the rest of my life. As I got older I started to realize how much of myself I could communicate through music. I realized that if music could heal me maybe I could use it to help heal other people too, or at least allow them to feel some release or empathy or relatability.
Tell us about your process creating this song?
How this song came into existence actually starts almost two years ago with the amazing kidLIO. She texted me one day and said “I've written these lyrics and I think I want you to sing it.” So the next time we were together in the studio she showed me the lyrics. Almost immediately a melody came to me and I just started singing it. I related to every lyric she’d written and honestly, it just felt like the music poured out of me. It was really a beautiful day.
I wrote a short bridge for the song (which is really just an extended pun) and figured out some simple ukulele chords and then I did not record it. I performed it at a handful of open mics and showcases but I didn’t feel confident enough in myself to record it and anyways I was super busy. Then, at the beginning of this past school year, I made a resolution to start actually using the studio, because despite having been an intern for over a year I had never really used it.
Between my crappy health, busy school schedule, and tendency to overthink every step of the process, it took me the better part of a year to record, mix, and master this song. It was a rough experience and I really hated that song some days, but Matt and Pak were there with me every step of the way and I learned a lot from the whole process.
What is the song about?
To me, the song is about feeling like you're not enough for someone you care about. It's about liking someone so much it hurts. It gives you a bellyache and a headache and all the aches. I think it’s all very relatable. I think a lot of people of all ages have felt that weird jumble of emotions where they think “I want to love this person and I want them to love me but I don't feel like I'm good enough for them and/or they’re not very nice to me and also I'm also very nervous when I'm around them but I really really like them.” It’s about young and confusing emotions.
It’s a very sweet song and I feel honored to be part of the collaborative process that made it. LIO has always said it’s my song, and it does feel very personal to me in both content and also because of the arduous process of producing it, but really, truly it’s a collaboration. It has LIO’s beautiful lyrics, Pak and Matt helped me produce and arrange it, and I wrote the melody and a few lyrics and do my best to sing it with truth and power. The song really feels like a testament to collaboration and to this family that we have at Totem Star.