If you’ve spent any time at all in Norway recently you’ll know what she looks like: she’s appeared at numerous high-profile musical events –with convincing chutzpah- and was just awarded the important Alarm-award for best new artist.
In all kinds of contexts she’s become a favoured focal point, with the media finding ever-new pretexts for exhibiting her picture. And habitually she has been wearing some design of her own, -of the kind to draw attention in spot-lit settings- actively seeking attention, basking in it and using it.
This cheek; the robust self-confidence and willingness to strut, is perhaps as removed from the defining Norwegian mindset as conceivable, and this fact about Mira Craig may serve as a good starting point for looking at this artist, who is Norwegian and American, black and white, singer and model, song-writer and producer, and who has cultural roots as far apart as Japan, West India and Norway.
Some people seem to be infused from birth, with more ideas, plans, desires and talents than any ordinary life, even as an artist, could possibly accommodate.
And for some of these it becomes clear, from an early stage, that time spent recognizing prescriptions, rules and delimitations, - and adhering to a “normality” of how-to, when-to and with-whom to, fulfil these talents and ideas- is time wasted.
Such people will habitually seek more forms of expression than one, for their energy, vision and talent seem necessarily to overflow any particular realm.
Mira Craig has embraced the idea that being an artist can, and should, entail that every aspect exposed to the public, can be made subject to artistic inculcation.
Thus she is an exponent of some modern kind of gesamtkunst, for all features that are de facto part of the package she presents, visual and textual as well as musical, are contrived as parts of a whole.
And it is with this stance in mind that one comes to see that her newly released debut record Mira Mira, is more than just a collection of songs aimed at dance floors, even if that is its immediate intention. It is, in fact, a statement incorporating her whole background and with an overall guiding theme. Her songs vary greatly and the record constitutes a mix so diverse it is evident that there lies careful consideration behind her blends, contrasts, themes and breaks. –It is not simply the result of diverse musical influences that actually come together in a person, but rather a conscious attention towards creating a composite entirety. The record incorporates American, Caribbean and African beats, elements of Japanese, and not least Norwegian, traditional folk music, as well as other disparate ingredients.
Some critics have complained of too great diversity, and some have found the music bewildering, alarming and even uncanny, as if Mira tears down some walls that serve to structure people’s experience of music (in a comfortable/predictable way) However there is a theme binding the diversity together, a thread besides her own varied background. In Mira’s own conception this theme is female power, and the musical globetrotting of her album is a way of weaving together expressions of female strength.
And generally Mira Mira has been extremely well received in Norway, and not without substantial bafflement. For this is definitely something new. Her music is wide-ranging to an unprecedented degree, not just in its influences and geo-cultural flavouring, but also in its structuring, -oscillating from tribal beats with primal grunts and invocations of pure primitivism, to choral sections and melodies of utmost subtlety.
Her record debut has rightly been called one of the most innovative and refreshing in Norwegian history, and it is no exaggeration to say that the bafflement also owes greatly to the mentioned totality of her act: a girl presenting herself as an incarnation of the primal female, shaking and grunting in her self-designed minimal outfits, supremely looking you straight in the eye, from videos directed by herself, while convincingly singing her own self-produced songs, -and then underlining the whole performance and its message with a real-person attitude of matter-of fact-ness towards her artistic enterprise, as if saying: “Of course I do everything myself, why shouldn’t I? Yes I succeed in what I do (and always have), yes I bewitch in my fur bikinis, and of course Snoop Dogg recorded my song, why should things not be this way?”
Mira summed up:
23-year old hot-tipped Norwegian/American vocalist, producer and owner of her own record label
Released her debut album ‘Mira Mira’ on the domestic market in January to great critical acclaim
Has scored two major radio hits with Boogeyman and Headhunted
Newcomer of the Year at the Alarm awards in January
Has collaborated with Snoop Dogg and Wyclef Jean on several projects
Was the talk of the town at Norwegian music industry event by:Larm in early February. Played two sold-out shows which garnered rave reviews in domestic media.