Victoria Mierlak

Manhattan native Victoria Mierlak has accomplished something that most aspiring artists would call a dream come true – she’s crafted a lifestyle constantly full of music – from her 9-5, to her education to her favorite things to do. The former Berklee College of Music student is a full-time music therapist by day and a quickly up and coming musician by night.

Her latest release is titled "From the Inside Out", a collection obviously close to her heart. She says the record is her “feelings and experiences being put out into the world - from inside of my soul to the outside world.” We asked Victoria to get more into her style of sound: “I feel that my music is hard to describe which in turn makes it unique and stand out. It is a mix of alternative, rock, pop. I have recently gotten a drummer on board, Graham Daley, for my live shows and he adds some funk to the songs as well.” Pretty good. Check out that live show when you get a chance – you can catch her as part of the Boston-based act Everpresent as well. There’s a whole lot more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Victoria Mierlak

PEV: How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Victoria Mierlak (VM): I feel that my music is hard to describe, which in turn makes it unique and stand out. It is a mix of alternative, rock, pop. I have recently gotten a drummer on board, Graham Daley, for my live shows and he adds some funk to the songs as well.

PEV: Currently living in Manhattan but raised in Long Island, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?
 

VM:  My main influence musically was Sarah Mclachlan. I grew up with all different types of music - Rock, Pop etc. My parents always loved music so they
introduced me to different artists. The first concert I ever went to was Cher when I was in 3rd grade! Music has always been a part of my life.

PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?
 
VM: When I first started I was mostly the back up singer for other people's bands.  Getting started with my music on my own was challenging and also very exciting. Having gone to Berklee College of Music was helpful in meeting musicians and making contacts.
 
PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

VM: Writing and performing my own music? I would say it was after I wrote my first song - Haunted - for a class at Berklee. I have always wanted to sing, but after I wrote my first song, which was definitely a struggle - I realized that I wanted to continue with songwriting. I have always wanted and engaged in singing but being at Berklee really helped mold me and become more focused on what I really wanted to be doing with music.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Victoria Mierlak show?

VM:  Truth and fun! My songs are from the heart, about real life experiences. My goal is to share that with my audience and have a great time doing it. I like to connect with my audience in a fun and playful way and share my story.  I feel that fans can expect a connection with me when they come to a live show.  I feel one of the most important things is being connected with my fans and expressing my appreciation for all their support.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

VM:  "This is where I belong!!"

PEV: Any pre show rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?

VM: I don't have any rituals yet. I usually just wing it. I have recently been joined by a drummer for my live shows so right before we go on we share some motivating words to get pumped.  

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

VM:  My inspiration comes from my life experiences. Most of my songs are about things I have been through or seen.  My best ideas come from real life and
I have found that is the best and most authentic way to connect with the audience.  Through my music, you can see that I am a real person, with a real story and I am open and excited to share that with others.
 
PEV: Tell us about your latest release, "From The Inside Out". What can fans expect from this work?

VM:  I love the title of this CD. "From The Inside Out" is just that. My feelings and experiences being put out into the world - from inside of my soul to the outside world.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

VM:  I tend to write when I am inspired. I never try to force myself to write a song because then I feel that it is not authentic. I have tons of scrap papers from years of lyric ideas. If I start something and I need inspiration, I sometimes go to those.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Victoria Mierlak?

VM:  I started a a musical theatre summer camp when I was about 8 years old. They had a theme that year of Disney songs. The solo given to me was
Someday My Prince Will Come. In dress rehearsal, I stood on stage to sing this song and couldn't make it through the first line. I ran off the stage
crying because I was so nervous. They cut that song from the show.  I cannot remember how I got myself to get back on stage but I do know that it's
one of the places I absolutely love being now!

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

VM:  I have been singing since I was little so I always knew I wanted to be a part of the music world in some way.

PEV: What one word best describes Victoria Mierlak?

VM: Passionate
 
PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

VM:  I love having shows lined up, rehearsing and performing. The worst part is that I have limited time to do all of these things being that I work full time as a music therapist. I wish I had more time to focus on writing and rehearsing. When I am on stage and performing for people, all of the worst disappears and I am in pure bliss. At that moment, I am even more so reminded that all the working and busyness

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

VM:  I have mostly been in the East Coast area. I would love to go to the West coast and to have the opportunity to play around the world would be amazing - Hawaii, London etc.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

VM:  Everyone has been so supportive of me. They see that music is my passion and love and they help in every way they can. My friends and family come to
all my shows and are my biggest fans.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

VM:  I love exercising especially running. I enjoy doing anything outdoors - hiking, swimming, bike riding etc.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

VM: Besides Victoria Mierlak? I am also part of a band based in Boston called Everpresent.  The sound is unique, incredible musicianship as well as people.  I have also come across some amazing artists (by accident online),  Amy Steinberg and Lena Anderssen you can find them on iTunes and other various music sites.  Another amazing singer/songwriter is Meaghan Farrell.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

VM:  I am currently a music therapist by day. I work in the South Bronx at an outpatient psychiatric clinic with adults. Besides performing, I would like to have my private practice doing music therapy.

PEV: So, what is next for Victoria Mierlak?

VM:  My plan is to continue getting my name out there in the world and performing. I would love to be performing on a regular basis. I am also going to start thinking about beginning my full length CD. This first release is just a taste of what I have in store for you!

 

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