What does winning the 2016 Tabletop Records Competition mean to you?
Winning the 2016 Tabletop Records Competition means a lot to me! There were so many talented artists entered, so I was super surprised when Marcellus and Rafael called me with the news. When I was talking to them, we automatically clicked and I’m super excited to be working with them. As an artist, having Tabletop to back me up is super beneficial and all the projects we’re going to work on in the future is really exciting to me. Tabletop is a great resource to have as a young artist starting, and I can’t wait to work with them. This is definitely a big step in my career, and I’m super thankful for this opportunity.
What inspired you to become a Musician?
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a musician. When I was 10, I wrote my first song, and I never looked back. Every day, the people I meet inspire me to keep going and keep writing songs, with the stories they have. Music is something that I truly love, and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
What surprises have you encountered in pursuing your music career?
When I started music, I didn’t appreciate how much hard work it really is. The good thing though is that there are many amazing talented artists to work with who are so supportive and love to collaborate. This makes the work fun, as a young artist starting out advice, is a pleasant surprise.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
The biggest challenge I’ve encountered so far is finding venues to play at, and bandmates to play with who are my age. Some venues I can’t play at because I’m only 14. Bandmates wise, it’s sometimes hard to co-ordinate, because everyone has their own schedule. Most of the time, it’s just me and the piano, so I have to try extra hard to keep things interesting, which is why I’m trying to utilize things like loopers and different musical styles and songs to keep my live music interesting for an audience.
What’s your process for writing lyrics and where do you get the inspiration for your songs?
My process for writing isn’t set in stone. Usually, for me, it starts with a melody. I will make myself sit down, and come up with a melody. Then, the words just come. Other times, I hear a story or someone says something that sparks an idea, and I write it in my phone. Then, I go to the piano and using that as a base, will start blurting out ideas that I like. However, since I’ve been co-writing, I’m getting introduced to many different writing techniques and learning that there’s not one specific way to write a good song. A great writer that I have been working with lately says to put away the guitar and write based on vibe and then to build the song around that vibe. I have some songs in the works that are very interesting and built that way and I am curious to how they will be received.
Have you shared the stage with anyone we might know?
At the LivLoveLyrics event I shared the stage with Tyler Shaw. He was super nice, and let us hang out and store stuff in his dressing room. He also invited us to sing with him at the end, which he didn’t have to do. He’s a great guy! I have also shared the stage with Shawn Brady who is a crazy talented Toronto musician.
Tell us about your most memorable performances.
I have two performances that hold a special place in my heart. The first was this past July, when I attended SongStudio in Toronto. At the end of the week, certain artists got selected to play at Hugh’s Room (which is a famous venue in Toronto) for a showcase. Everyone was really talented, and seeing all the hard work we had done that week pay off was cool. The band was super talented and I was happy to say that I got the chance to play with them. The house band had never heard the song and I just gave them the charts and they just joined in – it was so cool to be part of something like that they recorded it – so here it is. Mikalyn Hay – You and Me. The best performance I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking part was opening for Tyler Shaw at LivLoveLyrics – which is a very special event in honour of an amazing young girl’s memory. I had entered the competition with Tyler Simmons and the song we wrote together, called 1:08. It was the first big event I had ever performed at, and it was so much fun. We had our makeup and hair done professionally, and the after party was amazing. I was super nervous before going on, because I had never done anything this big. I remember sitting in a corner, being called on, Tyler not being nervous at all (he had done it the year before), walking on stage, not being able to see anything because of the lights and telling myself “look calm. Look calm. You’ll do fine.” I think they’re doing LivLoveLyrics again this year, so I hope I can do it again.
Anything else you want to share?
I’m so thankful to TalentWatch and Marcellus and Rafael at Tabletop Records for giving me this great opportunity, and I can’t wait to see where it leads me! I also would like to thank the amazing people and support team that lead me to where I am today..: Zack Werner, Murray Daigle and Bobby John, Rosanne Baker Thornley and North Easton, Paul Tarvydas and Shawn Brady, John Dexter, the people at SAC that I’ve co-written with and helped me to be the writer I am now, and finally Michael Hay, who is my manager, but above all, my dad. Without him, I would be nowhere. Thank you all so much! 🙂
You can check out Mikalyn at http://www.talentwatch.com/artist/profile/mhay