We had the good fortune of connecting with Michaela and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michaela, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born and raised in New York City and have roots in the Caribbean and American South. Growing up in a diverse city like New York taught me how to appreciate other cultures and empathize with others. As the product of a single parent household, I learned how to be resourceful and make the most of what I had. I have a deep appreciation for the Black women in my community because they helped me navigate the intersections of my identity and my relationship to the rest of the world. My upbringing has a direct influence on the music I make and my desire to give back to underprivileged communities with my voice and service.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My interest in music is deeply connected to my passion for politics and civic engagement. I graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Politics and special concentration in Comparative Race. While I was an undergrad, I helped triple the voter turnout rate at Pomona during the 2018 midterm elections. Now, I work at Votetripling.org as an Associate on their PI team and help non-partisan organizations amplify the voices of communities that are historically disenfranchised.

In recent years, I have enjoyed seeing more artists partner with nonprofits to advance progressive policy agendas. Music has always propelled social movements in the United States. As an artist and a public servant, it is important for me to not only use my music to uplift communities but also to take action in order to help implement concrete changes. I’ve learned about the importance of coalition building and issue framing in the legislative process. I also learned that progress is not a race but a marathon with shifting endpoints and new hurdles.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Although I’ve been in the Los Angeles area for four years because of school, it was only after graduating college that I truly got a taste of LA. If I’m feeling in the mood for some soul food, I will go to Comfort LA or My 2 Cents. Sometimes I need a sweet treat to feel good, and I’ll stop by Southern Belle Deserts for their red velvet cupcakes. The New Yorker inside of me still loves going for walks, and Echo Park has the best scenic views for an afternoon stroll.

I’m also a huge fan of cultural institutions and frequent places like the California African American Museum, LACMA, The Broad, etc to see their latest exhibitions. For beautiful sunset views, I recommend Playa del Rey or the Griffith Observatory. If a New Yorker wants to visit the most trafficked area(s) of Los Angeles, they should look no farther than Sunset Blvd and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank the Black women in my life who have given me advice and celebrated me on my journey thus far. Shoutout to Cherise Higgins, Shanaya Stephenson, Professor Erica Dobbs, Dr. Dretona Maddox, and my Aunt Cookie for being in my corner.

Website: linktr.ee/michaelaofficialmusic/

Image Credits
Daniel F. Leka

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