Just four years of gracing the music industry, Mila Smith’s star is steadily on a rise. The 18-year-old Capetonian’s latest single ‘Nice Guy’ is already sitting at 43k views on Youtube, in just three weeks, making way for her debut EP that is expected to drop in March 2023.
Her latest single is preceded by two other bangers namely Liars and Fakes and Reassemble Myself, which both made waves on local radio charts and, in turn, garnered media attention both locally and in the USA.
The muso takes us through the making of ‘Nice Guy’ and on what the future holds for her.
Talk to us about the inspiration behind ‘Nice Guy’, the creative process and the emotions of the song.
The creation of Nice Guy was such an organic, fun process. ‘Nice Guy’ is centered around the idea of a person who says that they’re nice and yet in reality, they’re anything BUT. In my head, I’d imagined two people on a date. Initially, everything is going well, and they’re hitting it off and then the guy does/says something that indicates to the other that he’s not as nice as he claims to be. A waking red flag. But instead of sitting back and taking this treatment, she decides to get revenge on him, whether by calling the cops ‘boys in blue’ or stealing his keys and driving off into the sunset.
When do you know that a song is complete? And is a song ever complete?
This is such a brilliant question. On paper, a song is complete once the Mastering is done. Mastering is essentially making sure that the overall volume/stereo elements of the song are in order.
Throughout the entire post-production process, I’m giving notes and edits to my producers to implement. Once we get to the mastering stage (hopefully) there is nothing left to change. But there comes a time in the process, if I’m being honest, when I’m listening back and I put my earphones down, step back and I just think “Ok. It’s done, just send it. I’m not going to listen to it anymore”.
As someone who started within the industry at a young age, how would you say your sound/craft has evolved over the years?
My sound has evolved in various ways – the main one being that initially, most (if not all) of the songs in my repertoire were piano ballads. Now that is not the case. When I was just starting out as a solo artist, a lot of my songs were written from personal experience on the piano. They naturally became ballads.
However; through collaborating with different producers/writers, I’ve been able to experiment with different sounds, melodies, and lyrical arrangements that I never thought possible. That is why nowadays, my songs are a combination of different genres, from pop, to deep ballads, to pop punk etc.
As someone who was the head of social affairs of your student council, you’ve proven to be a leader, how do you see yourself leading in society now that school’s over?
My office dealt with advocating social justice issues, and was responsible for the following portfolios: the United Africa Society, the Environmental Committee and the Gay Straight Alliance. Now that school is over, I see myself leading in society by using my platform to advocate for issues that are close to my heart. Whether it be anti-GBV activism or anti-racism initiatives. In school, I was part of a group that brought the 16-days-of-activism against GBV to our High School so I hope to continue in those avenues after school.
Will you be heading off to varsity? If so, what will you be studying?
I am indeed going to varsity in the new year. I’m going to UCT and will be doing a Bachelor of Arts in Media, and Writing and History (with credits in politics and gender studies). Very humanities-focused. I’m really excited to embark on this new chapter!
But music is still my top priority in the new year too – with my debut EP releasing in the first quarter of 2023, along with more singles/collabs. So watch the space!
Which artists are on your dream collaboration wish list?
Tough question! There are a few. Locally, I’d love to collaborate with Black Coffee; Goldfish; Shekinah and EMERGER. Internationally Adele, Queen B, Lizzy McAlpine, Taylor Swift and the list continues…
What’s currently on your music playlist?
I’ve got loads of Taylor Swift, particularly songs from her newest album ‘Midnights’. I’ve been listening to SZA’s new song Ghost in the Machine, from her latest album ‘SOS’, on repeat and there’s also some ABBA, Pet shop boys, Tame Impala and Lana Del Rey. Not forgetting my latest song ‘Nice Guy’.
What are you currently reading?
OooOO! I’m currently reading a monster of a book, I think it’s over 750 pages, titled : Priory of the orange tree. It’s an epic feminist fantasy with political intrigue, dragons, world building — what more could a girl want?
Side note: Feel free to follow me on Goodreads (Mila Smith)
If you had one wish for Africa what would it be?
For Africa to be more self-reliant and liberated.
What’s next for Mila Smith?
More writing, more music releases – with a follow up single coming early this year, more live performances and my debut EP!
Keep up with Mila Smith on her socials
Instagram = @iammilasmith
Facebook = Mila Smith
Twitter = @iammilasmith