Milan Parodie was born in San Diego, California, raised in Broward County, Florida. Having grown up the youngest in a big family, she was always greatly influenced by her parents and older siblings. Those differing perspectives over the years urged her to invest in her own mindset and become an icon to the world, but risk becoming an outsider to her own family. After taking that different path,
Milan became inspired by the thin line between love and hate.
Read more below as V-Henny interview Milan on her music Journey.
V-Henny: Can you tell us how you got started?
Milan: Growing up, I was always a writer. I’ve kept journals to write down my thoughts, poems, & lyrics since elementary school. I’ve always loved unique melodies and clever wordplay, but I was nervous to sing for a while because I felt there was no reason. Then, when I was 9, I performed “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey for my family around Christmas time. My older sister, Sidney, recognized at that moment that I could really sing. From that day on, we worked together to nurture my talent. She knew all the popular hits, so I’d learn any song she’d ask me to sing. If it weren’t for her and my dad insisting that I had something special, I might’ve not begun singing the way I did since I was so comfortable hiding my writing away in journals. In 2014, Sidney motivated me to start posting singing videos on social media, such as Soundcloud and Youtube. I began taking guitar lessons thanks to my dads hard work, but I listened to my favorite artists for tips and tricks on becoming a better singer. I posted covers for a couple years, and one of them got over 23,000 streams on Soundcloud. I remember my friends would hear me for the first time and say, “No way, that’s not your voice.” I got comments on my videos like that too. The following year, I started doing live performances in south Florida at places like the mall, the beach, or a venue. During this time, I had been inspired by songwriters who I love dearly, such as Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, to start writing my own music. I started to mess around on the piano, eventually teaching myself how to play adequately enough to make a song. After 3 years of singing covers, I posted my first original song, “Heartbreak Girl” which bestowed that nickname upon me amongst friends and followers for a while. I posted originals here and there along with covers, until I committed to consistently posting original music in 2020. I wrote acoustic songs and ballads that got over 1,000 streams per release. I started making my own beats during my second semester of college in Florida which allowed me more creative freedom, especially using a MIDI to include different sounds and instruments. I was able to work with some amazing independent artists in my hometown, such as Mark Edmond, an up and coming rapper and entrepreneur who has been a major guide and inspiration for me in audio recording since featuring on his song “Message to the Youth IV” and getting to write and record my own verses. Soundcloud was my home for 7 years, until 2021 when I started releasing music on major platforms like Spotify and Apple Music after finally feeling confident enough in my ability to create, record, and produce my own work. I transferred to Marymount Manhattan college in spring of 2023 to finish my last two years of undergraduate school while pursuing music and meeting other artists in the city. Since moving to Manhattan, I’ve released my first EP, Milan’s Mix, in May, and I got to perform my own music live for the first time in June at Chelsea Table+Stage thanks to Line in the Sky Prod., and performed at Sour Mouse for T.A.O.M Concert series in July with some amazing up and coming artists, thanks to Joethepoet!
V-Henny: What motivates you to create?
Milan: Emotions are tied to music the same way they’re tied to colors. As a general example, blue is sad, red is angry; ballads are sad, rock is angry. When I feel overwhelmed by a certain emotion, I hear a melody. What motivates me to create is the complexities of emotional sound. Happy music can have sad lyrics, angry music can have lovely lyrics. Therefore, music isn’t as black and white as the general example I gave. Music can be ironic, satirical, even a mix of emotions and genres. It’s a funny feeling to hear such combinations, but so relatable because there is a calm within every storm. Whether that calm be the music or the lyrics, songs can be playful that way.
My wish is to express the therapeutic aspects of music through lyricism regarding love, loss, hope, and morals. I admire music pieces with obscure little details, whether it be soundbites, uncommon instruments, or electronic/acoustic sequences that tie into the wordplay. My work is meant to make you question it. Ask what I mean. Dive into the double meaning, or my straightforward phrase. I’m working to show that thought provoking lyricism and a playful melody can be a form of conversational therapy, thus inspiring my listeners to question their beliefs and maybe even exhale out of their nose. My music is meant to push others toward their own agenda of positivity by taking painful experiences and making them beautiful through acknowledgment and relatability, an everlasting artform of human connection I feel can unbottle the burden of emotions that can’t be communicated plainly. My hope is for my songs to inspire others toward manifesting the truth- whatever the truth may be for them.
V-Henny: What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
Milan: I have always searched for the deeper meaning within my favorite artists’ music. I believe that’s anybody’s favorite thing to do when they really love an artist. It’s the best way to make music an immersive and relatable experience when you need it to be. Every songwriter writes from experience, only I bring lyrics to life by using my voice as an instrument that enhances them. Jazz is a big inspiration behind that ability. Taking advantage of that quality and using it to highlight wordplay is very important to me. Making my audience feel something from the way each lyric is sung is the main way I make a connection. I really care about people hearing the truth within my lyrics. It’s simple moments like a riff, a crescendo, or holding out a note that can spark emotion in somebody. I feel my lyrics tell personal vulnerable stories that might encourage others to speak out once they feel that safety. Musical theater inspires me to tell untold stories. The future of music inspires me to blend those lyrics with alternative electronic indie beats and to continue experimenting with what my emotions lead me towards.
V-Henny: Have you ever felt discouraged by the industry and if so how did you overcome the thought/feeling?
Milan: I have always felt surprisingly optimistic within the music industry. I believe as long as I am doing what I love, the fruits of my labor will come to me naturally. The entertainment industry as a whole is a larger question. Creatives will appreciate new music and artistry, however, entertainment needs drive. It is hard to feel relevant in the storm of talent and creativity that is the 21st century. I keep in mind that everybody’s story shines for different reasons and every story will be carried out as it’s meant to be. I have had so many amazing opportunities and I could never express how eternally grateful I am for those experiences. I remember that feeling of gratitude and it motivates me to continue working toward those moments in time that are secured for me to shine.
V-Henny: Describe your dream project.
Milan: My dream project is inspired by K-12, a film by Melanie Martinez. She is an artist that inspires me greatly. Incorporating an album of mine into an original screenplay and creating a story out of my music would be a dream come true. Growing up, I excelled in writing creative short stories, fiction and nonfiction. I grew into writing more realistic storylines, which eventually led me to writing songs about my own experiences, as many songwriters do. However, I think it would be fun to play with the idea of an exaggerated version of my perspective, like how it feels inside of the head of someone like myself who deals with ADHD and the feeling of losing time from focusing on irrelevant things and unexpected things that can’t even be controlled, yet blaming ourselves for it and spiraling from there, only wasting more time. It would be nice to share how life is in my shoes and relate to others who go through the same feeling, and ultimately reminding them that it’s just a feeling- and we can control that. A balance of realism and fantasy within the world behind my film would enhance the story and bring it to life.
V-Henny: Tell me about your techniques for overcoming creative blocks.
Milan: When I feel a creative block, It helps me to listen to beats on Youtube and try to freestyle or hum a melody. Freestyling is an intimidating practice, but it also encourages new ideas and suppresses fear of sounding stupid because the key to a flow is believing in every word you say and knowing what the message is. Eventually, your subconscious will guide you back to what you know you want to write about. The ideas are there, it’s just that fear builds walls of insecurity that only want to destroy your confidence. I try to remind myself that I am in control of my work and only I can create the path I want for myself.
V-Henny: What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Milan: If it wasn’t for my music career, I would be pursuing acting. I love TV and film, and I keep up with all the new works, different actors and actresses, and award shows. I love watching new movies and shows because a great piece of work always makes me want to write my own. Perhaps I’d double as a writer and an actor so that I’d have more creative outlets. I love to play pretend and I’ve always enjoyed representing a person or thing when it comes to acting. As a writer, I know the importance of an inner dialogue. I think I’d be studying acting or musical theater and deciding whether I want to write a book, play, screenplay, or musical.
V-Henny: What were some of the steps you had to take to get to where you’re at in your career?
Milan: I’ve had what feels like a million setbacks especially being the youngest in a family of five. I had to sacrifice the excess of whatever I wanted, like decent music equipment, voice lessons, and the college I wanted to go to. It was still possible for me to do what I wanted to do with what I had which I am so grateful for, but it was hard growing up and seeing others have so much and do nothing with it. However, I thank my parents for putting me in that environment because it taught me to be so grateful. I learned that you can get whatever you want if you want it bad enough. It is a real possibility to end up your own worst enemy and hold yourself back for so long. It takes living and learning to know what is right for you. The greatest thing about the internet is that every resource is there for you to learn and do anything you want to accomplish. Taking advantage of what was available to me helped me get to where I’m at right now. Also, encouraging the people around me to embrace their talents helped me discover different things I wanted to do. Working with others is a very important step in advancing because you learn so much from opening your mind to new ideas.
V-Henny: Since you moved from the West Coast to the East coast: Does where you live matter if you’re trying to break through the music industry? If so, why?
Milan: For me, it mattered a lot where I lived. Florida sucks at the moment, and New York has real people who care about the same things as me. You really cannot compare the two states. It’s so crazy to come from a place where you felt like there was nothing for you, to a place that gives you so much but takes so much at the same time. Maybe that’s just what growing up feels like, but it makes you homesick. I know that this is where I am meant to be right now though. Since moving here at the end of January, I’ve already accomplished so much. I believe New York is the perfect place to be if you’re trying to break through the music industry. The beauty of it makes inspiration possible at any moment. There are also endless opportunities to perform and meet other artists. I would love to move to California eventually because I feel it’s similar, it’s just easier to travel in New York, which helps a lot when doing live shows. It does depend on the situation overall. Anyone could get lucky from wherever they are if they want it bad enough and work toward it, and I truly believe that.
V-Henny: What is one message you would give to your fans?
Milan: One message I would give to my fans is that there is room for you too, wherever it is you want to be. There is so much room for you.
V-Henny: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Milan: My pre-show ritual is silence. I only trust myself and the voice in my head until I get to the venue.
V-Henny: What’s next for you?
Milan: I am keeping my mind healthy and open to new experiences. I hope to collaborate with some of the new amazing artists I’ve met recently on new music. I’m writing my next EP! I also want to continue doing live shows because It’s always been my dream to be on stage sharing my own music with the world. I will love New York City forever for letting me be who I am and do what I love with people I adore- I don’t plan on leaving for a long time.
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