Miachalah, by Robert Alleyne

“Too many things have been holding me hostage,” sings Miachalah on her single “Breathe Again.” The 24-year-old R&B musician wrote “Breathe Again” when she was facing a moment of personal strife. “I was...going through a breakup, but also so much more than that. I was also going through dang near homelessness, just sleeping on couches...I had no money at all,” she reveals.

“I was scared because I was like, “I'm going to record these songs not knowing where my next [meal] is going to come from," she says. “And of course, I have probably $30 left after [recording], but that's nothing for a week, or week and a half...a lot of mental energy was being drained from me.”

During this time, she also faced emotional hardship when her best friend’s brother passed away. “My best friend, my sister since [we were] 11, her little brother died, so it was just the most horrible time ever. Even thinking about it is just...I don't even like thinking about it,” she says. Being so close to his sister, he was “also like my little brother,” Miachalah explains.

I ask Miachalah what she feels this time in her life gave her music. “Everything,” she responds thoughtfully.

Miachalah, by Robert Alleyne

Miachalah’s best friend had also been her songwriter. When her brother died, in her understandable grief, her friend developed “writer's block,” she says. Not having a writer anymore pushed her to start writing songs for herself, something she at first thought she wasn't able to do. “I was afraid to write because I was like, 'I can't.'"

However, the anguish she felt helped spur a creative spark. “I feel like if I wasn't in that hard, harsh, grimy place, I would have never written a song...So that's what this strife gave me. It was everything I needed; that push.”

“Do you see yourself as a songwriter now?” I ask.

“Yes, but I still consider myself growing.”

Miachalah, by Robert Alleyne

While developing as a songwriter and growing as a musician, Miachalah is open and frank about the challenges of trying to make music her career, from anxiety around money to concerns for her safety. “Being a woman, you have to be careful where you go. You can't always go with a person giving you free music time because they might be a pervert,” she says, very matter-of-factly. “The place I go to, they're extremely great, but they cost a pretty penny...for your passion, you go broke a lot,” says Miachalah, only half-jokingly.

We talk about her fears for the future, and she describes them with honesty and sincerity. “When you've been working really long at something it gets scary because you're like, 'Oh my God. What did I just invest all this money into?' You're like, "Goodness gracious. I just [spent] $2,000...and I needed that for something else, so if this doesn't work, I'm in big trouble," she acknowledges. “You're taking gambles like that for your passion.”

The songwriter she is growing into is one that reflects everyday life in its glory and sadness, from emotional hurt to hopeful messages of empowerment — on her single “Fall Through,” which talks about the importance of loving yourself before you can truly help others.

Miachalah is a fighter, even though it's sometimes hidden by her reserved personality. I ask where she gets her strength and she describes her special relationship with God. “I never had a father growing up, so I consider God my father,” she says. “I'm always thinking, 'Will my Father approve of this song? How does my Father feel about me singing this to the people?'... I don't think I would be the artist I am today without my faith.” It's something she comes back to at various points in the interview — how her faith gives her the support she needs move forward when faced with challenging moments.

She also draws strength from the current women’s movement. “I feel like women are able to express themselves more openly now,” she says. “I'm in a time where I can be free to express myself. I think it has a lot to do with what women in the past have done for us,” says Miachalah. She feels inspired by the indie-soul musician H.E.R., British R&B singer-songwriter Ella Mai, and the Bay Area’s very own Kehlani. “I love her. I just feel like she's my sister, even though we don't know each other at all.”

Miachalah, by Robert Alleyne

Right now, Miachalah's focus on being the best artist she can and trying to exhaust all the options she has available. We talk about the future and where she sees herself five, maybe 10 years. “I'm just hoping that I do get a platform to bless other people,” she replies. “I love my music, but I feel like my music is for people who...are overcoming things. Obstacles. Struggles. Pain. Brokenness. Healing. I want to touch those people who were like me when I was in a broken place.”

The Next Big Thing Talent Showcase, feat. Miachalah
762 Fulton Street
May 11, 2018
6pm, Sold Out