Back in 2009, Detroit native Holly Miranda made waves with her LP The Magician’s Private Library, a haunting collection of songs that put her on the map after parting ways with the The Jealous Girlfriends. I was first acquainted with Miranda via a YouTube video I stumbled upon around the same time. She was covering Lauryn Hill’s heartbreaking “Ex-Factor” in the back of a cab in London. It was an exceptionally cool time for Miranda. Filmmaker Vincent Moon shot a video of her performing a stripped down version of her lead single “Waves” set to the thump of her guitar and the aching violin of Marques Toliver.
Photo by Sterling Taylor/Courtesey of Facebook
Then I caught one hilarious interview with Miranda by funny lady Liz Feldman on This Just Out. You may remember that Kanye West was going bananas on his blog about Miranda. Everyone was eating it up—Vanity Fair reveled over how he “exposed her to the masses before hipster tastemaker Pitchfork did.”
But I digress. We gays totally already had Miranda on our radar—sorry Kanye. Now, Miranda’s much-anticipated upcoming album should be at the top of anyone’s list. And for this soulful musician on a quest for sacred space in the California desert, it’s fine time. Her Pledge Music page has raised 228% of its goal for Miranda’s new album, of which she expressed all donations over the 100% mark would go to I Live Here, a charity co-founded and directed by Mia Kirshner.
As a precursor to the tentative album release date, Miranda recently joined forces with Wildfang thanks to friend and photographer (and AfterEllen contributor) Lindsey Byrnes for the Show Your Snarl campaign. (She’s a self-labeled Flirty Wildfang.) Wildfang is the newest tomboy line to emerge onto the queer-loving fashion scene where the threads are dapper cute and the ever-growing Wildfang family is graced by cool faces like Kate Moennig, Tegan and Sara, Riley Keough, Kate Cooper of An Horse and Casey Legler.
Holly Miranda gave us the lowdown on her new tunes, feeling home and being musically stuck in the ‘70s—maybe the best way to be.
AE: What have you been up to lately? It’s been quite a long time since we chatted with you for AfterEllen!
Holly Miranda: I’ve been recording a new album that I’ve been self-producing in Brooklyn, New York. I also have a song coming out on Federal Prism Records on September 24th. The song is called “Desert Call.” Dave [Sitek] produced it and I’m also in the process of making a music video for that song and gearing up to do a short east coast run of dates opening for Brendan Canning from Broken Social Scene.
AE: The first time I heard your music was in 2009 when I stumbled upon an amazing YouTube video of you playing Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” in the Black Cab Sessions. What was that time in your life like? Had Magician’s Private Library come out yet? Were you still connected to the Jealous Girlfriends?
HM: Hmmmm. I think TMPL was just about to come out when Tim Mislock and I made that video with the Black Cab Sessions. I think The Jealous Girlfriends ended around 2008? I’m really bad remembering things chronologically though. My brain doesn’t do dates.
AE: Which of your performances, collaborations, or musical moments have stood out for you, challenged, or inspired you over the years?
HM: Getting to perform at the Sydney Opera house with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson was huge. Also touring with Tegan and Sara was a blast—great people, amazing theatres. I’ve been very fortunate to perform alongside some amazing people.
AE: OK—let’s talk Wildfang. What a rad company! How did you get involved in their new campaign? Did they approach you? What brought it together?
HM: Lindsey Byrnes is a good friend and approached me about doing the campaign. It’s always fun to shoot with Lindsey.
AE: Do you feel like you have a certain style that you go by?
HM: I’m most comfortable when I feel natural. It’s fun to play dress-up sometimes, but mostly I’m in torn-up clothes and boots I’ve had for years. I’m not a great shopper. I have about a 45-minute window before I start to lose patience with overhead fluorescent lighting.
AE: Say you’re heading out the door for the day—what can’t you leave home without wearing or having in your pocket?
HM: My friend David Cousin AKA Mr. Woodman has been making this gorgeous jewelry from stuff he finds in the woods. I wear mine everyday. Reminds me of playing in the woods as a kid, carrying rocks in your pockets instead of cell phones.
Catching up with Holly Miranda