“If you shoot in TikTok by fan, there will be no results – it’s work”: interview with Mia Boyka

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– Children’s motives are often found in your work – for example, in the chorus of the track “Petal” you perform a reading from Vladimir Kataev’s fairy tale “Flower-seven-flowered”. Did you originally plan to create children’s content?

– My first tracks were not focused on children. But then we recorded the song “Pineapple Adidas”, which became very popular among the younger generation. They fell in love with her, and I realized that this is a pretty cool niche, no one in Russia has ever done that. After that, she began to work purposefully for children, adolescents. I released all subsequent tracks in TikTok.

As for the motif from the fairy tale “Flower-seven-flowered”, many modern children do not know it. And with a song I kind of tell them about this story. They eventually google it, learn something new. This is the second generation, their cartoons are mostly Disney. In my new track “Butterfly”, for example, it is sung: “And I’m up to the light bulb.” But today’s children do not know this phrase and write in the comments: “And I’m up to the mirror.” It’s a joke for them.

– You became very popular during the lockdown. Do you think he helped you take off?

– Before the lockdown I already had a few “shots”, planned concerts – but due to the pandemic, I had to cancel the tour. At the same time, Loudown, of course, helped me with the media, that’s for sure. When all the concerts were canceled, I had only two options: either sit at home and cry, or come up with something new. And I decided that I needed to go to TikTok. As a result, during the lockdown I managed to release many tracks, gain a large number of subscribers – from TikTok they moved to me on YouTube and Instagram.

Now I give concerts again, work at corporate events. Sometimes I perform at city venues – if, for example, I am invited to sing on the City Day.

– Does TikTok help the musician to promote his work?

– It all depends on the style of music. For example, I recently spoke with The Limba and Jony – their songs are not as popular on TikTok as on other sites, such as VK. My main lever is TikTok, without it I’m still having a hard time. This platform really helps many artists from all over the world to promote songs, thanks to it, even old tracks released ten years ago are back in trend. But I can’t say that TikTok can promote everything. The same The Limba said that he was afraid to upload his music there, because it can only go there. As a result, he releases tracks in VK, and people just listen to them. Because his music is for another, more adult audience.

– How would you describe the genre in which you release songs? Are you planning to change something in your work in the near future?

– I would not like to clearly highlight any of my style. I have a very flexible voice, I like to try everything. It is clear that there is already a model – cheerful teenage songs with hints of folk and hip-hop inserts. This is what made me known and remembered. But at the moment I am working in several directions. The first is more western, we actively cooperate with world DJs. Last year, for example, they released the track “Ma ma ma” together with Sevenn, and it went very well. This was my first song in English, it had great feedback – both from Russian-speaking listeners and foreigners. We are currently preparing a few more tracks aimed at Western audiences. I write them myself. The second direction is Russian, but for a more adult audience. In part, this is similar to what The Limba and Rakhim do.

My main task at the moment is to convey new tracks to the audience correctly. That is, I know how to do it with fun songs, and here’s a new experience. I hope it turns out cool.

– What else has changed in your life lately?

– I hid my figure for three years, wore oversize, but now my style of clothing has changed. She began to open up, to make more feminine images. Now I like it. And, judging by the feedback in the comments, the audience too.

– Which of the artists and tickers inspires you?

“None of the tickers.” These are just my friends, for each of whom I “warm”, each of whom I respect. I am inspired by more serious musicians. For example, I really like James Blunt and Dothan. For some reason, I also started listening to Bruno Mars again, although he hasn’t released anything for a long time. I also fell in love with the music of the 60’s, I didn’t understand it before. And now I see references to such music in the works of Dua Lipa or Justin Bieber. It is very interesting to immerse yourself in history and learn that many modern hits are composed of music that was relevant 50-60 years ago.

By the way, I recently analyzed the tracks that flew into TikTok this year, and realized – many of them were released at least ten years ago. This moment also inspired me. It turns out that if my music doesn’t come in now, it won’t mean it’s bad. It’s just that now is not the time for her.

– Who was your idol as a child? Was she interested in any subcultures?

– I come from a very correct and strict family, so I was neither an emo nor anyone else – my mother always opposed this, and I myself grew up without a strong need for protest. As for idols, I had favorite singers, “girlfriends” in life – Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. I also loved watching the Jonas Brothers series with the soloists of the band of the same name. As a teenager I was a fan of Rihanna, I still love her. It is a pity that she has finished her career and is not releasing anything. After all, Rihanna is a very cool, standard of behavior on stage.

– Don’t you have a feeling that some TikTok houses, of which there are really many now, are actually exploiting the labor of their young participants?

– I would not fit all TikTok houses under one comb. Each of them has its own producers, founders, investors. We all see that the guys from Dream Team do not run away, everything works great for them – producer Yarik (Yaroslav Andreev – “Gazeta.Ru”) gives them their knowledge and experience, the participants earn money for themselves and their families by shooting content. That is, all is well from this. However, there are producers who offer tough conditions. For example, a novice ticker once approached me and asked if I could sign a seven-year contract. And under the contract, he could not leave the house without paying a serious sum – even if the producer did not invest anything in it at all. At the same time, the producer himself could kick him out at any moment.

– It is known that TikTok is quite a demanding platform in terms of the amount of content released – to stay afloat, it takes a lot. But to specify, how often should a successful ticker post a video now? And how is it possible to maintain creative sincerity with such a rhythm?

– TikTok algorithms change often. Earlier for promotion it was necessary to let out on 10-15 rollers a day, then – on 1-2, now everything is tied on timing, growth depends on whether you spread rollers lasting 1-3 minutes or not.

The platform does not allow us to relax, we have to adjust to it. If you do it exclusively “by the fan”, it is unlikely to achieve results. As far as I know, only Danya Milokhin never bothers, and at the same time everything works for him. But, for example, Karina Cross writes plans and scripts for each of her videos – and even for Stories on Instagram. After all, blogging is a daily job.

– You graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Plekhanov University of Economics. How did it happen, why not a creative specialty?

– This was my only chance to leave the village for Moscow. If I hadn’t left then, my parents wouldn’t have let me go. They are very strict with me and have said all my life that the big city is very dangerous, that there are many temptations.

I didn’t want to go to the theater because I knew I would lose a lot of time there. As rude as it may sound, most people who have graduated from “creative” universities remain unknown. They may – conditionally – sing very cool, but they have no freedom. Because they come there with uncut diamonds, they are made into a “square” – and released into the world. And now all these “squares” go and think they are cool. And they can be cool, but they don’t have personality anymore. I wouldn’t want it taken away from me.

– Do you need a diploma at all when it comes to show business?

– Personally, higher education helped me a lot. And continues to help. I graduated from the Faculty of Business in the field of “Management in Innovative and Social Entrepreneurship”, so when I work with people, I return to the knowledge gained from teachers, their experience. In addition, she recently opened her own brand. These are products for my audience, mostly children. It includes a toy – a starfish, a mug with a personal design, the world’s longest coloring book, five meters, an encyclopedia of the underwater world. And we are preparing a diary together with psychologists. Because I want to not just produce merch, but do something educational for children.

– With which artists would you like to do a fit?

– The problem is that no one has such a style of music as mine. Collaborations should be done with those who have a plus or minus the same style. I respect other artists, but now I want to develop solo.

– There is a feeling that in the past music was more depressing than today. But the paradox is that buzzers talk much more about mental problems compared to the adult generation. Why?

– My dad calls it “transitional goat age”: when puberty comes, you want to be daring, youthful maximalism is manifested. I understand all this, but I do not want to go to such an occasion. Why? Everyone who is not lazy sings about it anyway. I want to carry something creative. And I don’t want to promote something bad that could be fatal for someone.

– If we talk about foreign artists of your age, they are quite active in advocating for minority rights, politically active. Do you think that a musician should declare his civic position in art?

– I think that music should be outside politics and other things. When artists mix it up, the thought immediately comes to my mind: either they were asked or they were paid, there is some subtext in it that is beneficial for them. Musicians should not worry about the color of their listeners’ skin or their civic stance.

– You had a scandal with animators and ARMY – BTS fans. What happened then?

– ARMY are fans, small children who are bored – and need to attack someone. I was on Anton Shastun’s “Contacts” show and joked that the creator of “Naruto” died when he heard my song. It’s a carbon joke, Shastun checked it out. But the children took everything too close to heart. I just talked to them live later. I’m not used to hating.

– You were a guest on the stream Nekoglay and Ivan Zolo. Given the peculiarities of Ivan’s behavior and his vision of life, how do you feel about their cooperation with Nekoglay?

“I’m fine because I know Kolya personally.” And I also met Daddy Vanya. I have seen and know how Kohl treats Vanya and his parents. I can say that they are not under his heel, as envious people say. Kohl pays money to Vanya’s parents and himself after each stream. He, in fact, gave them the opportunity to earn. Neither Vanya nor his parents could monetize his popularity. Thanks to Cole, they were able to make money from it.

I remember this broadcast and I can say that there was no evil banter there. The only one who was negative about Vanya was Sveta Sollar. Everyone else treated him with understanding and love.

– Today, many musicians like Lady Gaga or Jared Leto successfully realize themselves in cinema. Do you think that an artist should do his job exclusively – or is it still useful to go beyond the profession?

– I am currently doing acting with a teacher, I plan to get a role in a movie. My name is already, but I do not agree, because I want to debut in the role of killer, Wonder Woman, rescuer or agent. This is interesting to me.

– Who do you like among modern actresses?

– I grew up on the work of Angelina Jolie. She is my favorite actress. The acting teacher even noticed our resemblance to her. Maybe I watched a lot of movies with her, so I subconsciously developed similar game moments.

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