“This record is kind of about writing a record,” Mikaela Davis says. The 26-year-old is home in her native Rochester, New York, reflecting on Delivery, her highly anticipated full-length album, as well as the hard journey the classically trained, defiantly original harpist had to travel to become the writer and performer, she was meant to be.
“A lot of these songs came from feeling stuck and also like people were pulling me in a bunch of different directions,” Mikaela says. “I wanted to say, ‘just wait for me. I’ll figure it out.’”
Mikaela’s plea for patience – a little bit sweet, a little bit angry and raw – fed a fierce 10-song collection. A joyride that pulls from rock, 70s and 80s pop, and funk, Delivery manages to be both daring and comfortable, full of not just risks, but hooks.
Produced by Grammy-winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, David Byrne, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), Delivery is a triumphant next chapter. “John tries to find that moment instead of the perfect take,” Mikaela says. “That made it all sound really special.”
Childhood friends Alex Coté (drums, percussion) and Shane McCarthy (bass) play on the record – already close from years of touring. Recently, Mikaela’s ensemble became a family affair with the addition of Shane’s older brother, Cian McCarthy on guitar.
Mikaela’s unconventional path to working songwriter began before high school, growing up in Rochester. With plans to join a symphony, she studied harp performance at Crane School of Music, but halfway through, she decided the traditional harpist’s path wasn’t for her.
Following graduation, Mikaela moved to Brooklyn, following in the footsteps of artists who’ve come before her. But in the city, she could never quite find her footing. She kept busy, toured, and recorded an album that would eventually be shelved. Feeling confused and alone, she retreated back to Rochester, unsure of her next move.
Then, the last place Mikaela wanted to be saved her. Rochester’s artistic community embraced her, encouraged by bandmates including Alex Coté and the group Joywave, she hit her stride. Rochester became Mikaela’s sanctuary.
Delivery benefits from it all. “Now, these songs kind of wonder what I should be doing – it’s me trying to get myself back to why I started writing in the first place,” Mikaela says. “writing made me feel better and safe when the world around me was falling apart.”
“Just let my songs resonate with you somehow. That would make me so happy.”