Virtual characters aren't new. You've heard and seen Gorillaz before. Maybe you even heard about the Japanese virtual singer Hatsune Miko, who has even opened for Lady Gaga concerts. Now, another creative team has decided to invest on this format.
Media started to talk about Miquela right after she got into Instagram, in 2016. What captures our attention is that she's a virtual version of the famous digital influencers we see on that platform. She's a model, created digitally, and publishes pictures alongside real people, doing anything a girl her age would normally do. Now, she has more than 200,000 followers on Instagram.
Miquela has decided to invest on her musical career. After the first single, "Not Mine," she's releasing "Over You." Short, the songs are basically about feeling empowered in a relationship, with her voice edited with autotune. We're just not sure whether they do it to hide her identity or to give her music a "virtual" vibe.
When I first started to make the arrangements for this interview, I had lots of questions about this project, but Miquela's PR told me to focus on her music, meaning I was supposed to talk to his character just like I'd talk to a real person.
More confused than I was before doing it, even more curious about who's behind it, one thing I know for sure: Miquela shows that she wants to raise awareness to important topics so that young people will discuss it, at least judging from her Instagram page. Maybe she will start talking about it in her lyrics.
For now, while she helps some people, like she said in the interview, Miquela gets lots of negative comments on social media purely because people don't understand what she's all about.
Billboard Brazil talks to Miquela:
I want to start this interview by asking a little bit about yourself and your background. You started off on Instagram as a model and now you're releasing songs. How did you get into modeling? Was being a singer always your goal?
Music has always been my main goal but I haven't felt mature or experienced enough to release any songs until recently. So when I started my Instagram and had so much fun styling and modeling, I realized it was the perfect way to express myself until I felt ready to start releasing music.
In your interview to Vogue, you said you like listening to CupcakKe and Rihanna, but what really got my attention was that you said Ivete Sangalo is one of your inspirations. As a Brazilian, I'd like to know a little more about that.
Yeah, my dad was born in Brazil, so he brought a lot of the culture into our house. Gal Costa, Tom Jobim and Gilberto Gil are some of the other more classic artists I remember hearing a lot growing up but Ivete Sangalo stood out to me because of how fiery her music is! She has one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard and has been an inspiration to me since the beginning.
What is your dream collaboration?
Besides Rihanna or Ivete? I'd also do anything for a Cardi B feature!
Both of your songs, "Not Mine" and "Over You," have that "I'm too good for you" vibe, that usually empowers women. Lena Dunham said that there's feminism behind your project. What can you tell me about that?
I think that's accurate. I am definitely a feminist and want women to feel confident and comfortable in their skin. A lot of people have shared their stories with me about gender and sexual identity and said I've helped them figure those complicated things out. I think of course there's an element of feminism to what I post/write/sing and I'm proud to be able to say that it has had that impact.
Do you write your own lyrics or are you working with a team of writers?
I write everything but I'm always looking to collab, especially with Brazilian artists. If you want to collab email me: email@example.com.
Social media has served as a great platform to help people show their talents and be discovered. What was it like for you?
It's been less about me and more about the interactions I've had with fans. I love reading through the comments and replying to messages from people who have a story to share. Social media can be a source of knowledge and friendship so I'm trying to keep that the focus as much as possible. At the same time, I love posting a hot outfit and seeing the love pour in too!
I read once that American teenagers prefer Instagram over other social media, like Twitter and Facebook. What is it about Instagram that you like so much?
I love that Instagram is all visual. Photos and videos are universal so people from all over the world can see my posts and understand what I'm about. Also it's so easy to share content on Instagram, which makes it feel way more intimate.
Going through your pictures, I saw a lot of negative comments, which is something that happens a lot on social media. How do you deal with it?
If someone comments hate about me, I just ignore them. There have been a few times I'll reply back if the hate is directed at a community or cause I'm trying to bring awareness to, because I want to have a conversation with them. But all the controversy about me and what I'm doing doesn't mean anything to me. I have music to make and friends to hang with so I really don't care about some troll online who doesn't like my lipstick.
You've been pretty vocal about politics and social issues, raising awareness on your profile. Some artists don't feel comfortable doing it. Do you feel like your condition allows you to speak more freely?
My condition is that I'm here, on this planet at this moment and I see family and friends hurt by ignorance every day. I have to say something! To be an artist and not acknowledge politics seems irresponsible to me. My Instagram messages are either love from fans or genuine conversation about the issues I bring up. So many young people are ready to listen and learn, including myself, so I have a lot of hope!
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