Born Mitsuki Laycock in Japan in 1990, the singer, songwriter and musician is better known by her stage name Mitski. Although born in Japan, her father’s job with the United States Department of State meant that she lived in several countries – Turkey, China, Malaysia, the Czech Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – while growing up. Finally settling in New York, she attended several music schools – including the SUNY Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music – and studied composition. She also learned to play several instruments including piano/keyboards, guitar, and bass. Having written her first song on the piano by the time she was 18, her education broadened her musical horizons and she moved to the next level: recording her songs.
While attending college, she released her debut album, LUSH, in 2012, which was followed in 2013 by RETIRED FROM SAD, NEW CAREER IN BUSINESS. Mitski spent time in the short-lived Prog-Metal band Voice Coils before releasing her third album BURY ME AT MAKEOUT CREEK (2014). Signing with the Dead Oceans label, Mitski released PUBERTY 2 in 2016. Over the next two years, her commercial profile rose thanks to her involvement in other projects including a collaboration with Xiu Xiu. BE THE COWBOY, her fifth album, was released in 2018. While her fans have been awaiting her next album, Mitski has been far from idle. One of her most celebrated projects was the soundtrack to the graphic novel THIS IS WHERE WE FALL, which was released on cassette and vinyl.
After a long wait, Mitski returns in 2022 with her sixth studio album, LAUREL HELL. Produced by Patrick Hyland, who has been her collaborator since her 2013 sophomore album, LAUREL HELL is Mitski’s first release since the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. In some ways, this is an album born from the emotions – conscious and subconscious – that manifested during the pandemic. However, the album also rises above the uncertainty and offers a hopeful escape. Mitski gently lays her voice and lyrics on top of a moody electronic landscape filled with hills, valleys, and many other layers that are often felt more than heard. Featuring highlights such as “Working for the Knife”, “Heat Lightning”, “Love Me More”, and “The Only Heartbreaker”, LAUREL HELL is not a dark and ominous release, although it is filled with shade and shadows. But you can’t make shade and shadows without light, and there is always the light of hope waiting around the corner. An emotional tumble down a musical rabbit hole, LAUREL HELL is yet another feather in Mitski’s cap.