June 2023 | Volume 29

1. Hi Mikalah! Please introduce yourself to those who might not know you. 
Hi! My name is Mikalah but my friends call me Mika or Meek. I am Italian and as my fiancé says, I will definitely say it 80 times in one sentence. I got my singing career started on American Idol at 16 years old which led me into standup comedy, hosting, and acting. I am a proud member of the community, the girliest tomboy you’ll ever meet, and a host for my podcast So Funny It Hurts, where I interview your favorite comedians and explore the trauma that made them that way. 

2. How did you get involved with Shira and Gritty In Pink? What does it feel like being part of building a community for women in music?
I love Shira. I met her through Channel Q which was where I hosted the first national LGBTQ morning show for five years! I am a huge advocate for our community and up-and-coming artists that are also part of our community! Shira and I hit it off immediately, I am all about empowering women, and musicians, and Shira is all the right parts amazing! It is an honor to be her friend and watch her work! 

3. What moment in your life made you realize you wanted to pursue music? Do you remember your first experience with music?  
My dad is an amazing jazz musician, and he turned me onto Music very early in my life! I actually opened for Cyndi Lauper at Las Vegas gay pride when I was six years old! I have truly always been down for the gays LMAO! Being on stage always felt like home, knowing I could make people laugh or cry, depending on what I’m singing always felt like a superpower. I just always knew that was supposed to be my life.

4. You were a finalist on season 4 of American Idol. Being able to showcase your talent on such a global scale, what’s one thing you learned from being on the show? 
I genuinely learned that I can do anything I set my mind to! A lot of people thought 16 was too young or I wasn’t going to be able to handle the whole world criticizing me, but one thing about me, I’m gonna believe in myself. I have learned over the years to trust myself, and not put too much thought into what people think of me. That’s where I find my confidence. 

5.You’re currently a host for The CW’s Totally Weird and Funny, what’s your favorite part of being a host? Has hosting always been something you were interested in?
I never anticipated being a host until American Idol picked me up and had me host their after-show for three years. I would say I’m definitely more of a personality and that’s why people hire me. I know Barbara Walters, well, maybe I’m Barbara Walters if she was very gay, had no filter, and wore a weave. 

6. You just launched your new podcast So Funny It Hurts in April. Tell us what was the inspiration behind entering the podcast landscape? 
I’m a big advocate for mental health. I find that when I’m really going through something it comforts me to know that I’m not the only one. I wanted to combine my stand-up comedy with conversations about mental health so I didn’t feel so dark. The question begs, is laughter truly the best medicine? Someone once said, “Mik, you’re so funny”. And I said, “Thanks it’s the trauma”. It’s a lighthearted way to navigate why we are funny while showing we are still human

7. You're hosting Gritty’s upcoming All GRL Jam: Pride, what are you most excited about? How was it performing there last year as a singer? You crushed that Melissa Etheridge song!
I love this time of year!! I am so proud to be a part of our community and to be a woman! Being in a room with so much talent and diversity, of human beings owning their space, makes me feel empowered! I have made so many friends that have turned into family. It will feel like a little reunion!

8. What does being a Queer artist mean to you?
Being a queer artist has a little bit more vulnerability in truth than other artists when it comes to our lyrics in our performance. I have been told so many times aside from just being a woman, I could go to hell for being a queer artist who has a little bit more vulnerability and truth than other artists when it comes to our lyrics in our performance. I have been told so many times aside from just being a woman, I could go to hell for being gay. Writing music that talks about her so many people in our community, feel, and what I’ve been told, makes it feel like an act of rebellion while empowering people to be exactly who they are. It takes a lot of balls to be an out queer artist sharing your message. I’m so proud of all queer artists. 

9. You released your album “Vivan” last September, which was dedicated to your late grandmother Vivan. How has your grandmother influenced you?
My grandma was a devout Catholic. She loved God, and the Bible, and was very very conservative. But when I came out to her, she didn’t even bat an eye. She actually bought a crucifix and had it blessed by her priest, and gifted it to Lisa to welcome her to our family. The epitome of a woman of God. 

10. Your girlfriend, DJ Lisa Pittman, recently proposed to you- and you shared the touching video on instagram. Do you enjoy being so open about your personal life on social media, and any wedding plans in the works?
I love being exactly who I am in real life, on social media. In fact, I pride myself on it. I never want my life to look like a highlight reel because, in a world of quick comparison, I don’t want people to think they are alone in the dark. My life is wild, it’s raw, it’s authentic. It’s messy. I am so grateful I have found my human who not only embraces me but wants to marry me! We have so much respect for one another, she has picked me up and seen me at my worst, loved me at my best, and all the things in between. I can’t wait to marry her.  

11. How would you describe your sound to a first-time listener?
It’s very Amy Winehouse Janis Joplin influenced. Much like me, it’s raw and messy and real. I don’t worry about being the best singer in the room. I just want to tell the story. 

12. What’s one thing you want people to remember you for? 
I hope they remember how I made them FEEL.