At just 16 years-old, Mikayla Lane is proving herself to be quite the well-rounded artist. The Oklahoma native already has two EPs and several singles under her belt, and on her newest release, MILES FROM NOWHERE, Lane was a girl of many hats; she co-wrote each song, co-produced the project and delivers a vocal performance well beyond her years on the EP’s four tracks.
As she offers a glimpse into both her home life in Oklahoma and her ability to craft a story, Lane says she hopes she is developing a signature sound and style that listeners can come to expect from her. That style is a near perfect blend of traditional and contemporary country sounds, offering a breath of fresh, familiar air sure to strike a chord with a variety of country music fans.
We chatted with Lane about being active in the studio, all about MILES FROM NOWHERE and each of its four tracks, beings “hands-on” with her music and more!
Pro Country: Through the music you have released, you have showcased a largely neo-traditional country sound with flashes of contemporary country as well. Who are some of the musical influences you’ve drawn on that have helped to shape your sound?
Mikayla Lane: I’m a fan of so many country recording artists, young and old; some are traditional trendsetters and others more contemporary entertainers. I believe my music embraces both. My personal influences are Cody Johnson, Ian Munsick, Jenna Paulette, Jaden Hamilton, George Strait and Kacey Musgraves. These performers blend country sounds authentic to the West with modern influences to cater to the contemporary country fan as well as the diehard traditional country music lovers, which is exactly what I strive for with my music.
PC: At just 16-years-old, you’ve already released two EPs and several singles. What has it been about music that connected with you so early in your life, and at what point did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
ML: I sang all of the time when I was younger (and I really wasn’t too bad). My parents encouraged me to take music lessons when I was just five years-old. I performed at various outings and gatherings in and around our small hometown, and my music career has just progressed since. There was never really a “light bulb moment” for me; music has always been my passion and I’m really driven to achieve my goals.
PC: You released your debut EP, Rooftop Nights, in late 2019. What emotions came with recording and releasing music for the first time with that EP, and what was the experience like for you?
ML: I loved every second of recording my debut project. It was a lot of hard work, with some challenges, but I learned a lot from the experience and I’m very proud of it. I am so thankful for my loving and supporting family, and my producer, who pushed me to follow my dreams and be the best that I can be.
PC: You released your single “Superman” in late 2020, and it has since earned nearly 80,000 Spotify since its release, as well as nearly 75,000 music video views on YouTube. What do you think it was about “Superman” that allowed it to connect with listeners the way it did?
ML: I think “Superman” appeals to all types of music lovers. The tune tells a story, has a catchy beat and is easy to sing along to; and to me, that makes for a good ole country song. The lyrics are relatable, and I think the combination makes for the “connection.”
PC: “Love You Like I Want To” opens your new EP, Miles From Nowhere, and is a song you co-wrote about a blossoming young romance and is written in the third person perspective. Is it at all important to you to balance personal stories and being able to craft stories about characters as you did here?
ML: I think both ways of writing and conveying the story are important; it allows the artist to connect with the audience in so many different ways, on so many different levels. I write from personal perspective and experience, or from my perception of an experience. The ideas just seem to come to life when I share them with co-writers. Even when I write songs with characters, there’s always a hint of personal experience, or insight, behind the lyrics. I usually have a musical vision for a song long before it’s done, and I do enjoy exploring and experimenting with different styles of writing and music production to keep it fresh.
PC: What went into the decision to release “Wild Like the Wind” as the lead single from Miles From Nowhere?
ML: “Wild Like The Wind” was always a frontrunner as an appropriate introduction to the EP. I feel like the story, lyrics and tune really show who I am as an artist and how I truly live my life in Oklahoma. The track really IS my style of music and paints a scenic picture of an old western that brings me home. It rounds out the entire project.
PC: “Wild Like the Wind” is another song that was crafted from a third person perspective, and is our favorite song on Miles From Nowhere. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the song?
ML: The idea for “Wild Like The Wind” came about because of my involvement in rodeo. It’s a classic, romanticized idea of the cowboy riding away into the sunset leaving his love behind to chase the dream that he loves, and she pines for her beau knowing where his heart is.
PC: You’ve described the way that “Where the Foxtail Grows” as “lonesome” and reminding you of Oklahoma. How does that sound remind you of home and what does the song mean to you?
ML: My family and I live a very simple, wholesome life, really; where fields spread across miles of open acres. While “Where The Foxtail Grows” has a lonesome sound, it’s symbolic of my faith and gratefulness, and the grounding solitude of the vast Oklahoma landscape.
PC: “Come Home” closes Miles From Nowhere and offers a sometimes not-so-glamorous take on artistry and being a touring musician. In the time that you have been regularly touring. What has been your favorite aspect? What has been most challenging?
ML: My answer is bittersweet. My favorite aspect of touring is sharing the energy and excitement with the audience, and traveling to places I’ve never been. But this career is an absolute choice, and does come with some sacrifices. The most challenging part is sacrificing personal time at home with my loved ones, especially on special occasions.
PC: You served as co-producer on Miles From Nowhere with John Conrad. How important is it for you to have a certain level of a “hands-on” approach to your music in the studio?
ML: For me, being “hands-on” (from idea, to paper and pen, to production), throughout the entire creative process is the artistry. It’s personal, and it’s important to me. We recorded this project together in Tulsa and it was one of the most enjoyable recording experiences I’ve had to date.
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from Miles From Nowhere after listening all the way through?
ML: I hope after listening to Miles From Nowhere, my fans will be able to gain a perspective into who I am as an artist and a person. I’m a 16-year old gal from Oklahoma who loves music, my family, my hometown, and our simplistic and wholesome western lifestyle. I hope my music, not only on this EP, but all of it, becomes a signature sound that fans “come to know” and have an appreciation for.
PC: Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of 2021 and going into 2022?
ML: My next big performance is coming up in Tishomingo, OK; I’ll be performing at Ole Red on October 9, 2021. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be able to perform at Blake Shelton’s venue, especially in my hometown. It’s a celebration of so many recent accomplishments that I am extremely proud of. Hope to see everyone there!
*Mikayla’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*