Article: August 30, 2005
FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO CONQUER COUNTRY MUSIC?
sf.indymedia.org - August 25, 2005 - Singer/songwriter, Miko Marks, releases her debut album, "Freeway Bound", on indie label Mirrome Records of Oakland, CA.
Miko Marks has heard it all. "You could be the Tiger Woods of Country Music." "You could be the first African American female to win a CMA award."
Miko is not interested in the debate, saying, "I am a singer and songwriter with a passion for writing and performing country music. I really just want to be known as a country music artist."
Mirrome Records president, Rod Carter, shares the sentiment. "That's an issue for others to talk about. I have read articles addressing the topic and I understand that it's interesting to people but all I see is a beautiful, talented woman who can cover Patsy Cline or Gretchen Wilson as comfortably as she sings her own songs. We've got a full length CD of original music, produced by famed platinum Nashville producer Ron Cornelius. We'll leave the 'who's first' conversation to others."
With national distribution, first-rate radio promoters, and a Nashville publicist, the first single, "Freeway Bound", is already enjoying small market air play. It's a bouncy ride that'll spur you to jump in the car, crank up the volume and undoubtedly, drive too fast.
Some of Nashville's top players appear on the album, also titled Freeway Bound, including CMA award winners like David Hungate and Eddie Bayers. According to Carter, "Focus groups, industry professionals and fans have heard the album and the response is overwhelmingly positive." That spells a recipe for success … in any color.
In fact, this debut album feels more like an intimate conversation with a close friend than a mere collection of songs. C'mon in, pull up a comfortable chair and let's talk about life. Miko's crisp and powerful voice shines on the soulful song, "I Believe In You" and lifts the spirit on the jubilant, "Excited".
Growing up in Flint, Michigan, America's industrial heartland, Miko recognized the many textures in the fabric of life and her passion for story-telling was born. "I can't define my inspiration by a few names. My writing is influenced every day by new life experiences and new artists."
With a natural vocal talent, her writing skills blossomed under the care of a loving and supportive family. "My mama worked for General Motors. We didn't have much, but we made the most of what we had." It was her mother who took the 5-year-old out for a burger to celebrate her first talent show win, but had to spend the $25 prize to do so. It is also her beloved mother who is remembered lovingly with the touching, "Mama", a song penned directly from a daughter's heart.
A music scholarship to Louisiana's Grambling State University allowed the artist to pursue her goal of higher education. During college Miko became more familiar with country music and was drawn to its honesty and lyrics. She recognized a universal appeal in the stories and felt that she had her own to share. Fate took a hand and Miko became friends with another talented GSU student, Grammy award winner and queen of soul and R & B, Erykah Badu. The two women remain friends and have collaborated on songs. Miko has even joined Badu onstage when their schedules happen to intersect.
After graduation, Miko moved from the rural tranquility of Louisiana to the San Francisco Bay area where she continues to find ample inspiration for her life and career. The transition was eye-opening. "Find My Way Home", both touching and faithful, was composed during that pivotal period and showcases just one of the many textures of Miko's vocal range.
Miko enjoys experimenting in the studio with her unique blend of country soul. Her popular live show takes the audience through an almost exhausting range of emotions. She is a true student of country music and strives to gain a broader insight into the tremendous impact of Gospel and R & B on the foundation of country music. She has truly found her own reflection in the history of the music she loves. "I want to inspire and touch people with music. There is so much to share."
Miko is far too busy to worry about the color debate. She's already working on songs for a new album.
Pull up a comfortable chair and enjoy the ride. "Freeway Bound" is being distributed by Brown Bear Music Marketing of Nashville, TN with a retail street date of September 13, 2005.
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