After visiting Helsinki we fell in love with the artistic stylings of so many Finnish performers that we had to bring you a new Queers You Should Know interview. This week on Queers You Should Know, I have Finnish-American singer Songwriter, Miki Ratsula. Miki has written and produced over twenty original songs. They are most known by their fans for their stripped-down covers, creative mashups, and calming love songs.
Hey Miki, tell me a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Southern California. Right now I am studying music and psychology at San Diego State University. When I’m not studying I’m either writing a new song or figuring out a new way to cover one.
How did you get started in the music industry? What’s your motivation behind your work?
I feel that popular love songs today are so heteronormative so I take pride in writing love songs about my girlfriend. I want people in the LGBTQ+ community to finally have a love song they can relate to. I’ve been writing songs since I was about 7 years old. Coming from a musical background, my family always supported me and my music. I started by just posting videos on YouTube, but didn’t take my music seriously until 2 years ago when I released my first EP, “Every Shade of Blue” on Spotify and iTunes. I credit that EP to my girlfriend since it consists of all the love songs I wrote for her when we first started dating. She is and always has been my muse and constantly motivates me to grow as an artist. I wouldn’t be where I am in my music career if it weren’t for her.
Awe that’s so sweet that she’s your muse. I love your new song Body Language. Have you always been musically gifted? When did you start learning?
I’ve always had an inclination to create music for as long as I can remember. I never doubted that music was the right path for me. In middle school, I took a couple classes for guitar, vocals, and songwriting, but after I learned the basics I preferred the challenge of teaching myself through YouTube videos.
It’s amazing what you can learn online these days. What’s your favorite of the songs you’ve performed?
I really loved the reaction I got when I played my most recent song, Body Language, live for the first time. I also love performing my song, Wishing Wells, it’s a fun song to sing. My favorite cover to perform right now has got to be Hey Ya by Outkast.
I’d imagine the favorite changes based on your mood. So, I get that there’d be a few. How do you describe your style and influences?
It’s difficult for me to describe my style since it’s a mix of so many different genres. My music is more acoustic and soft, however, I like to experiment with different sounds and instruments for other genres. I’ve always looked up to Adele and Ed Sheeran. The way they write lyrics and music is so different and so beautiful. Through the years I’ve discovered a few smaller artists who have inspired me, like Lewis Watson and Luca Fogale. I’d love to have the opportunity to work with them one day.
What is the best gig you’ve ever had?
In November, I performed at Pride Radio in Austin, Texas. They also played my song Young Heart on the air. It was such a cool feeling to hear my song on the radio in the Live Music Capital of the World. As a college student, playing live isn’t something I’ve been able to focus on as much as I would like to so it was an incredible experience.
You and your girlfriend are so adorable – you’re definitely Couple Goals. Tell me a bit about your love story?
We started talking after she heard my cover of Coldplay’s Yellow on SoundCloud. At the time she lived in Texas, and we were long distance for nine months until she moved here almost two years ago. It’s crazy to think about how far we’ve come since that point, and our relationship has definitely contributed a lot to my growth as a musician. She herself is an artist and has designed all of my album artworks.
That’s so awesome – the internet is really bringing folks together. How has being a member of the LGBT community impacted your career?
It’s been one of the most defining factors of my music career. I’ve received so much support from the community. One of the coolest things is getting messages from LGBTQ+ couples who have used my songs in weddings or wedding proposals. That’s a pretty perfect representation of what my music is all about.
That’s so awesome! I’m sure you’re getting your fair share of online marriage proposals as well – or at least randoms sliding into your DMs. Who’s your celebrity crush?
Mariska Hargitay, aka Olivia Benson of Law & Order: SVU. My girlfriend and I watch at least two episodes a day. I’m pretty obsessed, I would love to meet her.
Excellent choice! You’re living many people’s dream, what advice would you give to aspiring performers who would love to be in your shoes?
The one piece of advice I always give to aspiring performers is don’t be afraid to communicate the truth through your art. So many people today only write what people want to hear. We need more artists who are honest and tell it how it is. That’s the only real way to capture people–you have to be authentic. Don’t be afraid to be authentic.