How do you become who you are? The path of the young Swiss singer-songwriter Mira Lora shows that if you follow the course of the river, you end up finding yourself.
Growing up in the Basel area, Mira Lora realised early on that she wanted to change the world for the better. In her school days she took to the streets to campaign for environmental protection and became politically involved, yet found herself worn down by the tedious nature of the political establishment. She already loved music back then, but after graduating from high school, she let reason overcome passion. She therefore starts studying economics, is interested in mediation, and trains in the field of integrated peacebuilding and in permaculture design, a method of designing systems that is modelled on processes in natural ecosystems. Mira Lora's commitment to a sustainable and fairer coexistence is also evident in her involvement with holacracy, a concept for alternative management that distributes leadership and promotes the participation of all members through more structurally anchored self-responsibility. Yet already throughout her business studies, something deep nags at her and eventually bubbles to the surface: melodies, lines of text, worlds of thought.
"I wrote songs as a child, but didn't show them to anyone. In music lessons at my grammar school, preference was given to pupils who did classical music and opera. At that time, I couldn’t really acknowledge that I was an artist, let alone dare to make music my profession," says the 28-year-old. Yet the fact that her introspective songs and her velvety voice are not only good enough, but deeply touching, became apparent a few years later. While she was living with friends in an old farmhouse, SRF was filming a report about their small community with the theme: "Does rural life make you happy?". By chance or fate, the camera team noticed the piano and Mira Lora was asked to play it - and her current manager happened to be sitting in front of the TV when the programme was broadcast.
After that, everything explodes: Mira Lora travels to Berlin and London, writes songs with artists like Femi Luna, Pablo Nouvelle or Duncan Hamilton, opens for Veronica Fusaro and performs at the residency of the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. In November 2023, she will release her debut EP "Unleashed", produced by composer and pianist Niklas Paschburg, among others.
The EP’s five songs are like a beacon in the fog, a ray of light in hopelessness: in "Hurricane " Mira Lora reflects on finding peace within herself in the confusion of the world, while "Waterfall" speaks of the power that flows when one is connected to the creative source within oneself. Her parents - both passionate amateur musicians - encouraged her to take a chance on art: "My mother sat me down and told me that three generations of women in our family, including herself, had wanted to pursue their love of music further, but couldn't because of various circumstances. That encouraged me to give it a try in their honour alone, and I consider myself lucky that I get to do that!" the singer-songwriter tells us. "If I can contribute a little bit by my music to someone finding their own path - whether artistic or something else entirely - I would feel totally fulfilled!"
Hence the name of the EP "Unleashed", which refers to a line from "Waterfall": It's message - release your own inner strength, because the change in you makes the world just a little bit better.
This gentle energy can be heard and felt in her songs: rhythms throb above a grounded piano like a pulse of calm, while electronic soundscapes transcend into the air. This iridescent mixture also defines Mira Lora as an artist persona: rooted and yet ethereal. She combines the best of many worlds: there’s something elfish about her akin to the Norwegian synth-pop singer AURORA, she’s down-to-earth like the Polish pianist Hania Rani and her music’s electronica appeal brings to mind Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds.
This is the sound of an indie pop of the moment: reflecting on the processes of inner life, in an environmentally conscious exchange with the outside world, and all this from a young artist who knows as much about permaculture as she does about pop - the future awaits!
- Originally written in German by Ariana Zustra