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AAA Music | 19 April 2021

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AAA Music Approved: Mika Mamon

| On 10, Jan 2021

Who are you and where are you from?

Mika Mamon. I grew up in the Philippines but I’m now a British Citizen after spending 15 years in the UK working as a nurse. My father was a military officer battling terrorism and drug production in the south of the country and was born in Mindanao. I spent my early childhood in Cebu City and later permanently moved to my parents’ hometown, Iloilo City. 

I came from a very musical family. My mother, an accountant, was a gifted classical pianist, my father was a great singer who loved Frank Sinatra and oldies music.  My older brother, Romeo, now also a nurse in the USA, had been a bassist in local bands. He played bass on my COVID fundraising single, Stand Together Apart. My younger brother, Roland was a drummer in different local bands so I grew up with live music. I started singing with my Dad when I was 4 and joined a choir at our local church and at my primary school, later singing in high school and college programs. 

I moved to the UK in 2005 to work as a nurse. I was originally based in Newcastle but when the company asked for volunteers to relocate to Teesside, without any family or close friends there, I volunteered. I didn’t really know where I was going or what I’d let myself in for!

My interest in music was reignited when I discovered Smule, the social singing app where you can post yourself and collaborate with a global community. I loved singing acoustic guitar style music which prompted me to advertise for a guitarist to work with. I did experience a lot of rejections. People seemed excited when they heard my demo but once I told them I was Filipino prior to meeting up, most dropped me straight away. Eventually I did find some people to work with and I progressed to collaborative song-writing with my current co-writer and producer, Daniel Hunt.

It was during the height of the first pandemic in April 2020, working on the Covid-19 frontline in the NHS, that I wrote the song Stand Together Apart while self-isolating after developing Covid-19 symptoms. The track was recorded remotely with six musicians sharing their talents, in addition to vocal contributions from colleagues in James Cook University Hospital and people across the globe on the refrain. It was co-written with Daniel Hunt and produced by Carl Pemberton who people may remember from the popular duo Journey South. Everyone contributed for free too. The song fronted my fundraising campaign and garnered a lot of attention world-wide with hundreds of thousands of plays and streams and with so many messages of support and love from health-workers, carers and the public.

What inspired you to get into music?

As I grew up in a very musical family, I was exposed to live music at an early age. I loved pop music, particularly ballads. When I worked for a time as a DJ at Kiss FM it really inspired me to sing. Also, my older brother introduced me to New Wave music during my college years and I’ve always loved singing along to the likes of Whitney Houston, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, OMD and China Crisis and later more indie pop artists like Pale Waves, The 1975, Haim, etc.

With both brothers having their own bands, I dreamt of being able to perform and make music myself. The massive karaoke scene back then helped me learn the craft so my music started as something of a blend of ballads, 80’s classics, EDM and indie.

What have you done?

The song Stand Together Apart paved my way to where I am now. I received so many positive comments and words of support from people around the world. In August 2020 I released a cover song; Say Something, in collaboration with another nurse, Christian Yu, and an original upbeat dance track; Holiday Romance which featured in the Top 40 in Netherlands as well as topping the charts in a US radio station.

Most recently I won a Most Inspirational Award 2020 given by the Inspiration Awards for Women alongside people like June Sarpong and Jesy Nelson of Little Mix. Previous winners of the award include Adele and Victoria Beckham so I’m pretty proud and somewhat humbled by that.

What are you like live?

As I’ve really just embarked on a solo career I’ve not yet performed live as a solo artist, though I have fronted cover bands at weddings, festivals and events. I do like to bop around and involve the audience. Putting on a show is important to me and my performances have been described in the media as a cross between Bjork and Kylie Minogue, which I really don’t mind.

I do plan to tour when it is safe, on the back of my album release, hopefully towards the middle of next year. My promoter is working on some festival appearances too.

What makes you different? 

People say that I have a unique and instantly recognisable voice. I don’t aim or want to sound like anybody else really. I am a nurse who aims to inspire people and raise awareness through my music, as well as trying to entertain people. I like variety too, so my songs are generally an eclectic mix of styles and genre.

Physical vs Downloading vs Streaming…How do you listen to music?

With the way the world is as at the moment, like a lot of people I listen to music using the streaming sites but I plan to have my singles/album released on CD’s and vinyl… I am a bit old-fashioned in that sense.. lol.

Whilst I would love to promote through physical sales, I have to recognise that streaming services are looking more like the future, though I do back campaigns to make the artist returns more viable.

What have you been listening to?

I have just started a radio/podcast show (The Punk and the Princess) which aims to help unsigned artists gain airplay and attention by playing their original tracks so right now I am fascinated by listening to different music and genres of original, unsigned artists. I follow dozens of unsigned pages on Social Media and love to find a great undiscovered artist and try to help them gain exposure.

What are your aspirations for the future?

In addition to new music and forthcoming album release, and tour when we can, I do hope to continue to serve as inspiration for the next generation of nurses and singer-songwriters. 

I have just finished recording a new single featuring an amazing rapper from Arizona called SAYIBOY. The track is Never Give Up and was written to support two friends of mine battling cancer. As a nurse, raising awareness of screening and self-checking is vitally important, but I think it stands up on it’s own as a song and is really meant to inspire everyone struggling right now. It is scheduled for released in January 2021.

Also, I’m always looking for new people to collaborate with; vocalists, musicians and producers, and there are lots in the pipeline for the album and future releases but I’ll not stop taking submissions, so let’s see what you’ve got folks!

Questions answered by: Mika Mamon…