MISSBISH Artist to Watch | Umi

Author: Angela de Mesa / Photos: Yong Loh, Aamir Khuller, Eddie Mandell, Julian Burgueño, & Georgia Seizis
02.27 / MB Series

Umi, an LA-based singer/songwriter from Seattle, is paving her way through the music industry with her distinct voice over R&B melodies and lo-fi production. Her hit singles “Friendzone” and “Remember Me” have millions of views on YouTube making her presence known as an emerging artist. She recently released her newest single and video, “High School,” singing about an old love. At a young age, her music grasps on the various forms of love and the complexity of relationships. Umi is on the rise, shining with her bright personality, and absolutely an artist to keep an eye on. Read the full interview below.

You are blooming and glowing in this new year, Umi!  Tell us about your music journey and how did it all start?
Thank you so much! I started writing music when I was five, so I’ve been doing it for a minute. But to fast forward a few years, when I was in high school I started uploading covers onto YouTube. I did this mostly because I had horrible stage fright. I felt that it was the best way to share my music without having to actually sing in front of people. I would also put all of those covers onto Soundcloud. Eventually, those covers started getting flagged for copyright so that pushed me to start uploading my original songs that I had been writing for years. I started off by producing my own songs, but towards the end of high school I found internet beats and began writing to those. And now I'm here! 

With being an artist, a singer, a live performer, and a college student one can imagine that life may be extra hectic. How do you balance it all and take time for yourself?
Scheduling!! I use Google Calendar and organize everything I have to do there, I write a schedule for myself every night for the next day, hour by hour, and I try to use any free time I have to do homework. I also end up skipping a lot of class for music, but it’s all about balance. 

Congrats on over 4 million YouTube views on "Remember Me."  That is an achievement!  What was your inspiration for this song?
I wrote that song last summer, partly about my friend and partly from me just reflecting on the concept of heartbreak. I wanted to write about heartbreak from a different angle, one that was both sad and uplifting. I was trying to capture the nostalgia that comes from remembering a past relationship and the mixed feelings you get when you want someone to be happy, but you know that it might not be with you.

What is currently your favorite song?
Ohhh that’s hard, probably this song called “Blue” by Hope Tala, “Space Jams” by Your Grandparents, and “Bees” by Black Freckles. 

The "High School" music video looked like a lot of fun to be in. Along with singing, I see that you were the creative director for this video. What was your intention and goal for it?
My team and I wanted to make something really fun that matched the energy of the song itself. We’ve never done anything with a storyline like this, so we thought it would be fun to challenge ourselves and try something new. Also, I’ve actually never gone to a single party when I was in high school, so I thought it might be cool for me to live out my inexperienced adolescence through this video. 

I know that you have a lot lined up for 2019 with festivals, live shows, and collaborations. What are your goals as an individual and as an artist this coming year?
This year is going to be one of abundance and manifestations! I have so many goals, so many songs, so many projects in the works right now that I can’t wait to share. I think this year will be an amazing year for me to expand my fan base, my voice, and get the experience I need to prepare me for the rest of my career! 

The final two, what does MISSBISH mean to you and who is your MISSBISH?
MISSBISH to me means to be a powerful female. To use our feminine energy to manifest all that we want in our lives, to lead others, to share kindness, to take risks, to inspire!!!

My MISSBISH is my mom. She’s the most inspirational woman in my life. She pushes me to take risks and to go after any and all of my dreams.