Mia Pixley

Mia Pixley2021-06-09T15:06:23+00:00

Project Description

Photo Credit: David Pettijohn

Psychologist, cellist, composer, and singer-songwriter Mia Pixley’s upcoming album, Margaret in the Wild, grows a new home beyond herself and her cello – one that is no longer a secret.  A transracial adoptee born of Venezuelan and Nigerian descent and raised in a white middle-class, American family, Pixley spent most of her life feeling unsettlingly uprooted. The all-white environments she experienced in her hometown of Austin,Texas did not nourish or celebrate the cultures and histories of her bi-racial and bi-national origins. She reflects, “Nowhere was home. My identity was a weak shell, ill-fed by cultural neglect. This lack of identity was the most shameful and identifying thing about me. And, like so many people, music became my private way of connecting to myself. Music became my secret garden.”

RELEASES

“In the Daylight” (Single)

Release Date: June 8, 2021

“A soft, stirring ray of sound washes over the ears as Mia Pixley’s meditative and mesmerizing new single ‘In the Daylight’ gently rises and shines.” -Atwood

“In the Daylight” distills the collective day-to-day pulse through a rhythmic meditative groove, delving into the feel of our day’s rhythms — an experience that can simultaneously be a groove, a gift, and a burden. The song’s persistent and evocative percussive groove draws from the Brazilian musical tradition of pagode style samba, channeling Pixley’s South American roots. Her blues-inspired cello subtly interludes into a saw-toothed grind, reflecting life’s burdens. And her voice takes on the euphoria of life’s everyday gifts.

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Spar Suite
Release Date: February 28, 2020
Spar Suite

The new EP from Mia Pixley, in collaboration with husband and painter Kevin Shaw, encapsulates a cross-medium therapeutic intervention between a baroque soul cello and radiant acrylic paint on canvas. As a comprehensive call and response visual art and music collaboration, the Spar Suite: A Music and Visual Art Call and Response EP produces an unpredictable stability in the form of hushed reverent tones. The Spar Suite: A Music and Visual Art Call and Response EP is out for digital distribution on February 28. Read more

“Where You Stood”
Release Date: January 27, 2020
"Where You Stood" Single Artwork

“Where You Stood” is merely the beginning of a much larger narrative, it acts as the opening title page and preface to a much more comprehensive body of work. Complete with visually stunning and corresponding acrylic paintings, Mia Pixley’s punctuated cello leaps off of Kevin Shaw’s canvas as the two share a conversation beyond linguistic context.

Bio

Like so many of us, Mia Pixley found a secret home in music. A transracial adoptee born of Venezuelan and Nigerian descent and raised in a white middle-class, American family, Pixley spent most of her life feeling unsettlingly uprooted. The all-white environments she experienced in her hometown of Austin,Texas did not nourish or celebrate the cultures and histories of her bi-racial and bi-national origins. She reflects, “Nowhere was home. My identity was a weak shell, ill-fed by cultural neglect. This lack of identity was the most shameful and identifying thing about me. Music became my private way of connecting to myself. Music became my secret garden.” 

Yet, an inherent authenticity grew from the disparate musical exposures that came in contact with Pixley’s musical home within. At the age of four, Pixley was drawn to the cello’s dual capacity for melancholy and comfort. She intuitively trusted the instrument’s guidance to safely explore and express her sense of longing for a people and a place. As she grew, Pixley was exposed to the country and blues styles synonymous with Austin. She was also exposed to Texas hip-hop, compliments of her adoptive sister’s musical leanings. And, thanks to her adoptive mother’s Italian (and musical) family, she was exposed to heavy doses of Italian opera. In middle school, Pixley began to venture further inward, quietly discovering R&B, modal and mainstream jazz, Samba, Tropicalia, Tango, indie and classic rock. A kid before Austin’s tech boom, Pixley recalls how “the city was still a weird liberal Texas town with Southernisms. I think all of this helped me to develop a musical ideology of ‘anything goes as long as it feels honest.” And so, in the name of self-preservation and protection, Pixley grew herself a secret lush forest, cultivated from an amalgam of unexpected, biological, and often unsupervised, global musical influences that converted her grief into untraditional beauty. 

As a practicing psychotherapist, music and nature support Pixley’s process in making sense of emotion. Pixley understands her psychological endeavors as an extension of her artistic practice. In psychotherapy, Pixley explores experiences of psychological pain, often uncovering with clients the hidden beauty born from these struggles. Pixley frequently draws upon nature and natural imagery to give greater color, comfort, beauty and understanding to the overwhelm that so often characterizes our emotional life. It is here Pixley willingly dives into the dialect of grief and gratitude that is part of being human. But more specifically, it is also here where she personally dives into her own early experiences of loss, racial isolation, shame, longing, and prejudice that rage against glaring privilege and opportunity from a white middle-class upbringing.  

Mia Pixley’s upcoming album, Margaret in the Wild, establishes a new home beyond herself and her cello – one that is no longer a secret, a home truly sowed in the earth. A lifelong nature lover, who finally found her place with the help of strikingly emotional ocean swims during the pandemic, “Margaret in the Wild” represents Pixley unapologetically planting herself alongside others. The nine-track album demonstrates Pixley opening herself to the wilds of connection, to gratitude for what she has been given, as well as, to sorrow for what she has lost, and to nature’s inspirational capacity to finally root her uprooted beginnings.

Accomplishments

Mia Pixley recorded cello on GRAMMY award-winning albums (Fantastic Negrito, Please Don’t Be Dead) and performed in award-winning Off-Broadway productions (Futurity, Lucille Lortel Award). She recently recorded cello and voice for the Harlem-based site-specific soundwalk, The Visitation, produced by HERE Arts.  She is currently in production as music director for the site-specific theatre piece, When Your Skin Calls You Home, written by Melusina Gomez and produced by Polina Smith. She will begin an artist residency with Lucid Art Foundation in July.

Pixley tours annually with the Windham Hill Winter Solstice Tour and regularly performs with award-winning, multi-instrumentalist Barbara Higbie.

Pixley’s discography includes Inside Under, an EP released under the alias, Baeilou — and a visual art and music collaborative suite with artist/husband, Kevin Shaw, Spar Suite: A music and visual art call and response.  Most recently, Pixley released her first full-length album, Margaret in the Wild.

She lives with her husband and their young son in the California Bay Area where she regularly swims freestyle in the ocean and feels most alive.

“A soft, stirring ray of sound washes over the ears as Mia Pixley’s meditative and mesmerizing new single ‘In the Daylight’ gently rises and shines.”

Mitch Mosk, Atwood

“Mia Pixley circles around stories in her songs, implying much, and declaring little, creating a constant sense of enveloping curiosity. As if beneath cello plucks and wails, there’s the truth of the matter.” — Afropunk

Nathan Leigh, Afropunk

“Every time I think I’ve forgotten about Mia Pixley, she pulls me right back in with another enchanting work.” – Jody Amable, The Bay Bridged

Jody Amable, The Bay Bridged