Name: Misty Boyce
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, keyboarder, producer
Nationality: American
Recent release: Misty Boyce's Genesis is out via Make My Day.
Recommendations: A couple of my favorite things are Ocean Vuong's book On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous, and Kendrick Lamar's new record Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.

If you enjoyed this interview with Misty Boyce and would like to find out more about her work, visit her official website. She is also on Facebook, and twitter

For the views of one of Misty's collaborators, read our Doe Paoro interview.

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I started playing piano at 5 and writing songs at 9. My early influences were pop country artists I was hearing on the radio: Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Clint Black were a few favorites. Then when puberty hit, my tastes changed dramatically and Jewel became the gateway artist to Tori Amos and Fionna Apple and Radiohead and Foo Fighters.

I was really drawn to the lifestyle of the wandering songwriter … the lore of Jewel living out of her van and playing in coffee shops really resonated with me, not to mention the way music just utterly broke my heart in all the right ways and made me feel alive.

When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?

What a great question! I'm going to have to start paying more attention to my body when I'm listening to music, but from recent memory I'll say that I mostly feel it in my chest. When something really "resonates" with me, I'm almost immediately moved to tears. It doesn't have to be a sad song either!

When I'm writing a song, I do see imagery … I kinda watch the story or mood I'm creating play in my mind like scenes from a film. When I'm thinking about what comes next, I try to watch where the story is going or how the scene is changing and then capture it with words.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

I've never actively tried to "find my voice". I can see now how my "voice" has changed over the years based on what I'm listening to or am interested in, or what life experiences I've gone through.

And I'm not sure I've ever had a clear "breakthrough", it's always just been a slow-and-steady crawl towards improving or getting / staying inspired, with lots of tiny little breakthroughs along the way.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

Identity is a shifty thing.

There are parts of my identity that I didn't choose that are playing out through me like a computer program: I'm a white, female, American, upper/middle class, born in 1984 to the parents I have, New Mexican. So just right there you can, or Spotify's algorithm can, predict a lot of my influences musically. And likely, therefore, what choices I make as an artist.

The parts of my identity I've chosen: meditator, mother, musician, wife … I have no idea how those things influence my preferences as a listener or artist. Maybe somebody who follows my work can answer that for me...

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

I believe art is here to help us understand, metabolize, and alchemize the human experience. The better I get at understanding and expressing my observations on this planet, the more it helps others understand and express their own, and that reciprocity is very healing for us.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

The music that is most exciting to me, and often what "hits", is the kind that feels and sounds familiar and brand simultaneously.

For instance, Billie Eilish sings like an old jazz singer, but talks about queerness and uses words like "duh" over VERY cool and new production aesthetic.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

Over the course of my development, my most important tool has been community. Community keeps me inspired, introduces me to new music and other art, keeps me ambitious, supports my vision, pushes me into intimidating sides of music production/creation, makes me buy gear I should have but don't want to spend money on. (laughs)

The most promising strategy for working with community is to treat your friends and peers like the gold that they are. Never underestimate this valuable resource.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

I'm a new parent, so my routine is out the window at the moment. But on a good day I hit each of these important things: meditation, exercise, writing, practicing (singing usually but sometimes an instrument), recording.

A lot of the time I'm prepping for tour with another artist, so I have to learn songs and program keyboards instead of writing or practicing. But good days always involve doing music in some way.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
I'm assuming this question is asking about work of my own? If so, then my record "Get Lost" is the most fun / challenge I've ever had making a record.

Writing and collaborating with Lera Lynn, who became then and is now still one of my best friends, is a life highlight. We made each other laugh harder than I've ever laughed. She pushed me to be better as a lyricist and singer, never doubting that I was capable of what she was asking me to do.

And if she did doubt me, she allowed me to prove her wrong with grace. It changed me.

Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?

I've found that both collaborative and solitary creation are rewarding and fruitful in equal measure.

Sometimes it's nice to dig deep into your own well, alone, to get to the bottom of things. Sometimes it's nice to have someone pull something out of you you didn't know was there and would never have found on your own.

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

I don't think music has helped me understand life, death, love, or pain better. But it has been a very good companion through it all ...

How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?

WOW. What a great question! I do not know enough about science or the science of music to even fake an answer!!

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more "mundane" tasks?

I do feel as though writing and performing are inherently different from mundane tasks like making coffee, but HOW they are different, I don't quite know. Maybe it has something to do with, as in writing, making something that wasn't there before, appear. Or in performing, the exchange between the performer and the audience creating something new.

But then it could also be argued that these "creative" things are as simple as combining ingredients to make an end product, the way combining coffee grounds and hot water makes a steamy beverage that wakes you up in the morning ...

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

I think, like a tuning fork, or a singing bowl, the purity of the metal and the existing vibrations in the air effect its resonance.

If a performer is the tuning fork, it is only as resonant as its capacity allows, and then it is also at the mercy of the air around the ears of the listener. And however potent or resonant the message is, is dependent on this relationship.