[Q&A] Mia Schuster Makes Light of the Darkness with ‘Happy (Again)’

Photo Credit: Isabella Najera (@isabellenajphoto)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // June 23, 2020

Mia Schuster made the leap from North Dakota to sunny Los Angeles, and it’s safe to say her life has changed for the better from this pivotal decision. Having been through significant periods of darkness, Schuster ultimately channeled a rebirthing of herself into her alluring new album, Happy (Again). If you’re in need of some major spiritual healing, Schuster’s Happy (Again) is the record for you. 

On Happy (Again), Mia Schuster reflected,

“Briefly summed up, ‘Happy (Again)’ is about the light that is found in the darkness. Each song on this album tells that story. Quite honestly, most of the songs were written in some of the lowest and hardest moments of my life (don’t be fooled by all of the yellow). But that’s the funny thing about joy… even those moments have been transformed into something beautiful that I will sing praise for. The narrative that Light wins is not simply a fairytale. This album, these songs, are the evidence of it in my life.”

To celebrate her new music, we recently chatted with Mia Schuster about The Hotel Cafe, seasons, and of course, Happy (Again)

HH: Just like many other aspiring musicians, you left your hometown for Los Angeles. How has your life changed since you first arrived on the west coast?

MS: Looking back on it now, I feel like so much has changed in such a short period of time. I’ve been in LA for just over a year and sometimes I feel like a completely different person. But honestly when I break it down, I think the biggest thing that has really even changed is my perspective. I’ve been learning and taking in so much new information since moving to the city and it’s changed so much of how I operate in and view the world (more specifically the music world). Comparatively to how I was when I first moved, I would say I now have a much thicker skin, I’m getting way better at speaking up and fighting for what I want and believe in, and I’m learning when to let go and just enjoy the sun on my face (though I do miss the rain quite a bit sometimes).

HH: What’s your favorite memory from performing at The Hotel Cafe?

MS: The first time I played at The Hotel Cafe, my mom and her best friend actually flew out to visit me and see my show! It was one of my first gigs in LA and it meant so much to have them there cheering me on and supporting. Definitely a super special memory.

HH: Happy (Again) instantly has us hooked with “This Time,” which is drenched with bouncy vocals and warm guitars. How does it feel to finally have your debut album out in the world?

MS: This feels like the cliché artist answer to say, but honestly the first thought that comes to mind is how surreal it is. I’ve been working on and dreaming up this album for over a year now (though I’ve really been dreaming up this moment since I was about 8 years), so it’s wild to think it’s out there in the world and that I created it – what even!?

HH: You wrote this album as a reemergence of joy after a lengthy period of darkness. What kind of mindset were you in while you created Happy (Again)?

MS: When I first started working on the album, I felt like I was just stepping into spring after a much too long winter. Recording each track felt as though I was taking another step closer to summer, metaphorically speaking (though literally as well seeing as the album came out in June). The crazy thing was, though, as I started putting each puzzle piece of the album together I felt my joy progressively increasing. This whole process was honestly so healing and felt like a huge and necessary spiritual release. I definitely believe the message of hope and joy the album is built on is something the world needs, but going into creating it I don’t think I realized how much I myself needed it as well.

HH: This heartfelt record explores the deepest parts of your heart and soul. Did it come naturally for you to be vulnerable the way you are in Happy (Again)?

MS: I would say so, mainly because at the time of putting it together it didn’t really feel like I was being all that vulnerable. Of course writing the songs themselves were some pretty deep moments, but a lot of the songs were written a good bit of time ago, so I didn’t think too much of it when putting the album together. I think the really vulnerable part for me comes when I start sharing it with listeners, especially family and friends. That’s when art isn’t just simply art anymore; it’s out there for people to have opinions on and speculate on. That is the most vulnerable part of the process for me.

HH: What would you say to people who are having a difficult time finding things to be happy about?

MS: I would offer them two pieces of advice. The first being simply to hold on no matter how hard it gets. The happiness and joy for life you crave is not far away. And I can promise you that you do not want to miss it. The valleys in life can be exceptionally difficult to navigate, but the moments that you experience on the mountaintops are so, so worth sticking around for. Breathtaking views await you, sweet friend.

The second thing is that I would encourage them to be intentional with practicing gratitude and enjoying the small moments in life. I found that the more time I took to appreciate the little things, the sweeter life seemed. I would find moments where I would be absolutely captivated by the beauty that surrounds us all the time that we too often take for granted – simple things like the way the wind feels on your skin when riding a bike, the freedom of aimlessly driving a car with the music blaring, the sheer miracle of our lungs taking in oxygen and somehow giving us life, and nature nature nature (don’t even get me started there). Being alive is such an incredible gift, there is so much going on around us just screaming of the beauty and magnificence of life. It’s easy to find when you give yourself permission to look up for a moment and seek it.

HH: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?

MS: There are so many people I would absolutely love to work with, but right now Jon Bellion would probably be at the top of the list. He is so ridiculously talented! I’m seriously obsessed with his music!

HH: What are your three hidden hits?

MS: “she’s so cool” – seasons
“Bird” – Kazi Jay
“Boy Violet” – Deza

Love all of these songs so much! Definitely see big things for these artists!

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