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Electro Pop Artist MIZZI: ‘Sometimes You Have to Break a Rule to Create Something Special and Unique’

By Cynthia Gross

RIAA Certified Multi-Platinum songwriter and producer Heather Jeanette Miley, who performs solo under the stage name MIZZI, knows the secret to writing a hit pop song. The Virginia Beach-born and Los Angeles-based artist has penned songs for some of the most popular artists of our generation, including Selena Gomez, Kelly Clarkson, Jason Derulo, and JoJo Siwa.

With her more (not less) is more attitude and infectious energy, MIZZI continues to make her mark in the music industry, inspiring creatives everywhere to pursue their dreams boldly and never give up until they become a reality. Learn more about MIZZI’s exciting journey with contributing writer Cynthia Gross, including the top three things she misses about Virginia while on the West Coast, her favorite celebrity collaboration, and her special message to aspiring artists in honor of Women’s History Month.

MIZZI - Anna Azarov Photography
MIZZI – Anna Azarov Photography

Clearly a fashionista with a distinct modern aesthetic, MIZZI has donned a refined sense of style ever since she was young. In fact, fashion played an important role in how she discovered her music career. “I wanted to play electric guitar in middle school, so my parents got me one for Christmas,” she explained. “I was taking lessons, and my mom signed me up for a beauty pageant, in which I needed to perform a talent. I decided to sing and play guitar, and from then on, everyone started asking me to sing and play the guitar for them.” The rest is history.

Although she loves the growth opportunities she’s been afforded by relocating to Los Angeles, MIZZI is proud of her DMV roots and still considers Virginia Beach home. The top three things she misses about Virginia while in L.A. are as follows: the warm ocean water, summer nights at Virginia beaches, and the network of DMV musicians she used to perform with. “We would support each other and go see each other’s shows,” she said, reflecting on her DMV connections. “And there is nothing like the friends you grew up with. I recently went back after not returning for years, and it feels like no time has passed.”

MIZZI - Anna Azarov Photography
MIZZI – Anna Azarov Photography

Prior to moving to L.A., Heather Jeanette Miley signed a publishing deal with 18-time Grammy Award-winning mixing engineer Serban Ghenea, who also happens to be based in her hometown. Ghenea, one of the most in-demand engineers in the industry, has mixed songs for countless legendary artists from Michael Jackson to Taylor Swift to Beyoncé to Keith Urban.

While working alongside Ghenea, MIZZI was able to further develop her skills in both the creative and business sides of the industry. She holds a degree in music business management from Berklee College of Music, and has experience with music publishing, publicity, marketing, sync, production – and, of course, songwriting.

Earlier this month, MIZZI released her debut album, Sugar High. The 14-track collection is sassy and high-octane, a perfect addition to your party playlist. The album is meant to be turned up loud and listened to from start to finish in an indulgent manner. Fans of Gwen Stefani will identify with MIZZI’s electric vibe and defiant attitude that she describes as “sweet, fun, and sugary mixed with high energy, bombastic, and pure bad ass.” “BOW DOWN,” one of the album’s standout tracks, is cinematic and catchy, demonstrating MIZZI’s ability to channel her inner rebel in a way that resonates with audiences.

“I got danger on my mind / Cause I’m feeling iconic / They call me bionic / The queen has arrived / And the throne I’m up on it,” she sings before proceeding to the epic chorus, “Bow down / Bow down / This is my world now / This is my world now / Yeah, you’re looking at the greatest / A legend in the making.”

MIZZI - Anna Azarov Photography
MIZZI – Anna Azarov Photography

As an artist who devotes a significant amount of time writing tracks for other musicians, MIZZI developed a process for separating the creative space of her solo work from that of her collaborative projects – acknowledging that there are areas of overlap she uses to strengthen the final product regardless of who will perform on the studio track.

“At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for the song,” she explained. “So if a huge artist wanted to cut a song that I wrote for myself, I would be open to that possibility.” When working with new clients, MIZZI tries to be “as open as possible and just vibe” in order to create an authentic composition. “Usually, a producer will start with some music, and we’ll talk about what the song feels like. From there, we will make some gibberish melodies until we find the catchiest ones and then write lyrics.”

MIZZI’s favorite celebrity moment to date is getting the song cut for Selena Gomez’s 2013 hit track, “B.E.A.T.” “It was my first cut for songwriting, and she kept my background vocals in the song,” she said. “I always tell my friends to try and hear my voice in there!”

MIZZI - Anna Azarov Photography
MIZZI – Anna Azarov Photography

Perhaps MIZZI’s fierce stance and unapologetic edge is part survival as a rising star in a male-dominated music industry that is wrought with gender inequality and discrimination. Immediately, upon listening to her music, you recognize the value she places on uplifting other women and creating music on her own terms. “Along the way of songwriting and producing, you learn certain ‘rules’ or ‘standards,’ but sometimes, you have to break a rule to create something special and unique,” MIZZI offered as advice to aspiring industry professionals. “I think that instinct comes over time.”

Her reflections in honor of Women’s History Month are both timely and relevant: “I want to remind women to trust in their knowledge and abilities in a room full of men. Also, be confident and try to learn how to record yourself and use equipment to be self-sufficient so we can have more women in power positions and not be dependent on others.” She added that the more skills you have, the more marketable you will be and underscored the importance of keeping an open mind. “As we just saw with the pandemic, anything can happen.”

MIZZI’s story is a rousing call-to-action for individuals to take matters into their own hands instead of waiting in vain for someone else to create the change they want to see – both within the music industry and elsewhere – so it’s time to take her lead and get to work. Stay tuned for upcoming releases from MIZZI in the coming months, including a deluxe version of Sugar High, and be sure to follow her on Instagram for the latest updates.

Cynthia Gross

Maryland-based singer-songwriter Cynthia Gross seeks to inspire an awakening to all we are and all we can become. With a passion for language in all of its forms and more than a decade of experience as a professional ghostwriter, she is a light seeker who understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.

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