- Laura mina mitic - Carmanah -
1. Did you grow up on the island? (If no, when did you make the island your home?)
Yes, although I was born in Halifax, NS. My family moved to Victoria when I was just a little human. Most of my extended family still lives on the east coast so I still have very strong ties to the Maritimes, visiting often. As a result, I draw much of my creative inspiration from both of Canada’s coasts.
2. What influenced you to start writing and creating music?
I grew up in a very musical household, where instruments were easily available for the curious to pick up and try. Having a space at home to jam and experiment with making sounds enabled me to discover creating music at a young age. I can remember the day that my dad first taught me a few simple chords on the guitar and I started messing around with my own vocal lines, which launched me into songwriting almost instantly.
3. What is your favorite part about performing?
I love connecting with my bandmates on stage. There’s a lot of subtle communication going on during a performance that can’t really be described in words. It’s also so rewarding to look out and see people in the audience connecting with our music, smiling, dancing or singing along. That is the best reward after all the hard work.
4. What goals do you have for the immediate and distant future?
My band, Carmanah, is releasing our first produced full-length album this January. After the release, we’ll be focusing on touring and spreading our music to wider audiences, hopefully overseas as well. On the road, we run our vehicle on used vegetable oil from local restaurants and focus on creating as little waste as possible. Our goal is to amplify this and work toward becoming zero-waste for future tours, making every decision with a sustainable conscience.
5. Have you ever found being a female artist can be challenging? Have there been times that you weren't taken seriously because of your gender?
Yes, there have been times in this business that I have had assumptions made about me due to my gender, or I have felt that expectations of me are lower because I’m a woman. Of course, there’s also fielding derogatory comments that unfortunately every woman has had to deal with. However, this makes me more grateful for the amazing team of respectful men that I get to collaborate with on a day to day basis, including my bandmates and our management. I’m also grateful to be part of Victoria’s creative scene, which is full of strong and inspiring women sharing their skills and passions within our community and beyond.
6. Do you remember the first gig/show you've played? Where/when?
Haha yes, I performed a classical song written on a large organ when I was about 8 years old. As a tiny kid I couldn’t see the audience over the organ and, in turn, all they could see was a large organ playing a song. At the end of my performance, I have a distinct memory of peeking around the massive musical instrument to observe the reaction of the audience and specifically wave at my Mom in the front row. I started singing in front of crowds when I was in my teens. My first “big” performance was in front of a crowd of about a thousand people at my high school graduation, singing and playing the violin, while my friend played the piano accompaniment. While I’m sure the performance wasn’t flawless, it did allow me to realize just how happy music made me and gave me the confidence to keep on playing and developing my own music.
7. What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start out a music career?
Be yourself and don’t follow trends. This definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be influenced and inspired by the work of other artists, but be brave enough to discover your own sound as well. It will make your music more original and as a result, more timeless. Also, choose your team carefully. This includes choosing bandmates - you will spend more time than you realise with your band so make sure your values align and you know how to communicate with each other.
8. As a photographer involved in the music scene, I love the idea of shining light on the other female artists in the Victoria music scene. What are your thoughts about the idea of this project?
I love this concept. This city is full of musical and artistic talent that we should celebrate and support. Thanks for including me in such a sweet lineup of female artists in Victoria!