We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikayla Theone Khramov and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mikayla Theone, do you have a budget?
As an artist, I’m always looking for ways to finance my passion, and use my art as a means to make a living. I figured out early on how to market myself to get paid to play and perform in different bands. However, I didn’t really start budgeting for my music until later on, really, the last couple of years. Recently, I’ve been saving up a lot of my money to be able to record again. At one point I thought I had a couple investors to help me record my first real album, but since the pandemic, I’ve been starting to budget to pay for everything myself. In order to save, I try not to spend, or if I do, I space it out. It’s important to invest in yourself and your art, but it’s important to save for the bigger picture too.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My father was an immigrant from Russia who came to the US with his band. My mother was also a drummer, so I grew up with a music as a center point in the household. I didn’t really know I wanted to be a musician until I was 18 or 19. In high school I started a rockabilly band with my sister, and we played around a lot. We were called the Rad Cats, and later on my sister and I formed The Nesting Dolls, a Russian-American punk girl group. At the end of my senior year in high school, my dad passed away. That was a big game changer for me. When I went away to college, in Arizona, I decided I wanted to play music full time, in his honor. So I did. I was lucky enough to have a few local musicians include me in their bands and productions. I played all over the place, and different instruments too: the harp, the balalaika, guitar, and drums. I started playing corporate functions and special events too. When I was 21 and could finally hang at the bars I was playing in, I decided to reach out to a venue I always wanted to play in town, The Museum Club in Flagstaff, AZ. My band became a regular act there, and we made pretty good cash. That and the other gigs I had in town gave me enough to pay rent, so I was very fortunate I could do that and then focus on school.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA is full of surprises. I would say first though, visit all of the classics, the restaurants, the theaters, the Hollywood strip, then explore the surrounding areas. I spent a lot of time in Venice growing up. We lived in Santa Monica and my dad performed on the Promenade and Venice Beach. I would definitely say visit Venice and get a little piece of that “California hippy” vibe! I’ve had a lot of fun nights in Echo Park too, and if you love live music, you gotta hit up The Echo. During the summer, they have the Grand Ole Echo show where they showcase local and touring country artists, so definitely check that out! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give a shout-out to the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum in Waukegan, IL. I’ve been a volunteer with them for 5 years now, and if I were a millionaire, I’d donate a lot of my million to that organization. I’m a big Ray Bradbury fan, and it means a lot to be a creative committee member with this museum. It’s a non-profit learning center all about Ray Bradbury, I’m his own hometown. It’s important to me to keep his legacy alive and exciting to new and younger fans, and also those who know and love him today.
Bertran Harding, Ashley Null, Lonely Street Productions, The Lumberjack – Northern Arizona University