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Guelph indie-pop artist sees international success

Guelph-based Mikalyn Hays’ work with Chris Graham resulted in an EP, and some international attention. [Damon Maclean]

With influences ranging from Coldplay to Marina and Lana Del Ray, Guelph teen indie-pop musician Mikalyn Hay has her mindset on a career in music. Now, with international remixes of her single co-written by friend Chris Graham, she  looks poised to give it a try.

The 18-year-old was introduced into the world of music at an early age.

“I started when I was pretty young: I was five when I did my first talent show, and I started piano lessons when I was four.”

From that point onwards, Hay started writing songs on the piano, and as she aged and matured, so did her work. With added song structure, “it went into writing full songs when I was 10 – I went into the studio to record a song for my friend Avery’s birthday.” The next step forward was regular gigging when she had the ‘repertoire’ to put on a full performance.

In the coming months, Hays hopes to release new material that leads away from her indie-pop sound and into the realm of alternative/RnB pop.

The story of her track, ‘Close’ “has kind of a funny story” to it. Written alongside her friend Chris in his basement in Toronto, the two had recorded a full EP.

“We wanted to be able to put out a full EP done by us because we were both 16 at the time.” The duo made it their goal to write, record, produce videos and put on an EP release party all by themselves. The first part of Close, a song about a relationship, to come together was the hook. The duo released their EP, which was then discovered by an international label, Reven.

“They remixed all of the songs off the EP, and they are putting them out on their own EDM label,” she said.

The duo’s EP has now received a large number of plays in Brazil and other countries, even Russia. Hay also said they receive more plays from those areas than their home of Canada.

“It was so bizarre. I had no idea when they reached out it would turn into any of this,” she said.

She figured after multiple offers from people that she would allow the label to use the tracks since “right now they aren’t really doing anything since they’ve been released,” adding she has “no idea how they found us.”

A fortunate exploration of the artist’s Soundcloud account has now evolved into multiple releases and international play. Hays even has a remix with Universal Music Brazil.

Before having her songs remixed, Hays was not a fan of remixes simply since she had not had much exposure to the style of music.

“There were some remixes that I really, really liked, and then my own remixes I started listening to them a bit more, and now I’d say I’m a fan.”

Chris Graham is Hays co-writer and one of Hay’s best friends.

“We’ve written so much together, and we always have a really good time together.” Nearly all the songs put out on the Brazilian label have been a collaboration between Hay and Graham.

The two have their separate careers, and they like to see what they can accomplish together. Graham’s music is similar to The Weekend, and he has released an EP ,with an album expected for release this summer. “Graham is a great producer and has produced stuff for 88 Glam,” said Hay.

She is currently on track to begin popular music studies at Western University in London.

“I love the academic side, and I want to learn as much as I can about the music industry, about music in general and why the music we listen to today is the music we listen to today,” she said, noting she hopes to pursue music as an artist while doing her four-year undergraduate degree.

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