The dreamy model/singer/songwriter/story-teller and eclectic vintage hound just landed in Los Angeles from Toronto, and we couldn’t be more obsessed.
Hi! I am:
Elissa Mielke. I’m a singer and songwriter. I work as a model, act, and do a variety of creative things. I released a self-titled EP under the name Mieke. Right now I’m working on an album that will be under my own name and comes out next year!
Why I started making music:
As a kid, my family was very religious and I was taught that secular/non churchy music was sinful. But I always felt spiritually connected to music and sensed that if there was a God, she’d write songs that were about real, honest, raw things that people go through.
When I was 10 would take the hymns I played at church and turn them into songs about my life.
I’d write songs on an old upright piano in the basement of my parent’s house out in the country in rural Ontario. When I played them as a teenager to strangers at dive bars in the city, I realized that my fears/joys/pain were shared by other humans. It made me want to survive the drama of high school and pursue music.
My music is:
It’s definitely personal. As a teenager my songs were often about boys, but over time they’ve changed into songs for myself, and especially for other women. Quiet anthems for reclaiming your life and your voice as your own. Lately as listening for my new project I’m inspired by Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Leon Russell, Tracey Chapman, Fiona Apple, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Bonnie Raitt.
Favorite lyric I have ever written (and who was it about):
You can pray for a fire, wait for a flood/ Would that make you worthy would it be enough?/ Seems to me you’re already home/ Love there are worse things-than sleeping alone.
I used to have a subconscious narrative in my head that I wasn’t enough alone. I looked to others to validate my work and my decisions. Singing these lyrics at my shows became a mantra and gave me courage to start doing things for me, now, without waiting for someone else to tell me I’m good enough or worth loving. Give yourself that permission! No one can else can do that for you.
My sense of style is:
Vintage, eclectic, free spirited, comfortable! I like clothing to have a sense of humour and a story.
Random things that you can find in my closet:
One of my favourite things is a bright green men’s Kashmiri embroidered suit jacket that I bought visiting my sister and her husband in India. It still smells like the incense in the store. I also have a red floral dress that my mom used to wear when she was dating my dad and a silk scarf my Omi used to wear on her head when I was 7 and we picked tomatoes together. To me that’s what’s beautiful about clothes–the stories we live when we wear them.
Most cherished piece of clothing I own, and why I will never ever let it go:
I bought myself a tiny vintage gold ring from a shop below my apartment in Daikanyama as I was leaving Tokyo. I bought it as a promise that I would be kind to myself and take good risks–something I learned to do while living in Japan. I remember to be brave whenever I have it on.
Favorite places in Los Angeles:
Manhattan Beach, Jitlada for Thai food, Running at sunset at Silver Lake Reservoir, Stories Bookstore/Cafe in Echo Park, Sqirl, Squaresville Vintage in Los Feliz, Cafecito Organico patio.
Favorite places in Toronto:
The Common, Rhum Corner for pina coladas, Mama Loves You Vintage, Union for dinner, Han Moto for Japanese food, Clint Roenisch Gallery, Sam James Coffee in Bellwoods Park, Drake Underground for live music.
Best part about living in the sunshine 24/7:
I love LA because I can be in the ocean every weekend.Walking in sand and diving into salt water reminds me that I’m a human and I can let go of stress- even in a week when everything is falling apart. I love hiking in the canyon and going out to Joshua Tree and all that naturey stuff too. I like how open people are to collaborating and making art together here. There is so much opportunity- everyone is trying to build something and things happen fast.
Any worst parts?
Whenever I move to a new place I am reminded that I really need community, strong roots of self-love, and a clear vision of my creative goals. As long as I have those, I can live anywhere and find joy and good people. (And good vintage clothing!) 🙂
Photos by Michelle Mayer