Unique and lush, a flamingo in a flock of pigeons, Whittney Mikkél brings color to a world of black and white. The California native is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer.
Mikkél blends contemporary pop with traditional African kalimba-based music in her latest 5 song EP, True North – Kalimba Songs. When she discovered the instrument in 2015, she knew she had to incorporate it into her next album. She then spent the next 3 years artfully crafting this EP and injecting each track with this African instrument.
Whittney Mikkél combines the modern and traditional into an indie pop blend
Starting off the EP, “Crop Circles” holds strong with a piano baseline and the kalimba strewn throughout. Poetic and lush, this track’s unusual instrumental progression and combination makes for an interesting listening experience. Almost extraterrestrial, this song’s unearthly vocals leaves the listener yearning for more.
The dark layers of vocals in the open few bars of “Wolves” leaves listeners with a lingering mystical vibe. As the track continues the layers fall onto one another and showcase the track in a traditional yet somehow unconventional way. “Wolves” stands out as one of the most complex tracks instrumentally and vocally.
“December Sun” begins heavy on piano and kalimba equally and blends seamlessly with Mikkél’s carefree vocals. This vocally intensive track shows off her range and the breathlessness only attainable by certain artists. Lyrically beautiful and instrumentally challenging, this track builds vocal tracks on top of one another and layers instruments in perfect synchronicity.
“Love Song” is piano intensive and, like “True North,” a ballad. The kalimba accents the vocal pattern and follows the trail left behind by Mikkél’s voice. “Love Song” builds as the song progresses and intrigues the listener with an unusual rhythm and instrumental pattern.
Lastly “True North” is a haunting ballad placed on a bed of kalimba and piano. With poetic lyrics, this track is whimsical and mesmerizing in its unpredictable rhythm. Breathless vocals create a path for the kalimba to be the hero of this track as it guides the lyrics through a journey about finding your way home.
Whittney Mikkél is a diamond in the rough of artists. She is unique and full of life. Where most artists stick behind a piano or guitar, she stepped forward with a different sound and made it her own. Mikkél’s blend of the known and unknown is truly imaginative and packed with individualism.