“I think it’s time to start counting your blessings…” Rainy Milo lulls on her most recent release and the multi-hyphenate powerhouse has quite a few to count. Blessings is a dreamy drop of R&B, with a neo-soul edge, and is a refreshing reminder of the sound Milo has become known for.
Her laid-back discography starts at the early age of 14 when she decided to take a DIY approach to her music. After writing lyrics to a beat found online, Milo released her debut single ‘Bout You and immediately caught the eyes of industry insiders like Giles Peterson — and A&R’s. Feeling like the timing was too early, the secondary student ignored the offers from music labels, choosing instead to work on her now critically acclaimed mixtape Limey, before going on to release her debut album in 2014.
Recently the soulful singer has been in front of the camera playing the role of Elizabeth in the film Ce Lac A du Succès (This Lake is Successful), a comedy by Swiss hip-hop artist Varnish La Piscine. The film premiered earlier this year in Geneva, Switzerland and Paris, France, in support of Varnish’s new album where she also lends her talents on the song Ring Island. As well as working with other artists, Milo has used the summer to focus on creative projects and of course, to write.
Schön! catches up with the insightful artist to talk music, life lessons and playing trippy roles.
You’re originally from south-east London and share your time between LDN and LA, how do the different cities affect the creative process and music?
For me my time in London is a period of isolation. It is my thinking place where I learn from listening to self — where I’m still enough to just be, imagine, cultivate ideas and figure out the inner workings of them. Los Angeles has been where I go to bring ideas to fruition, and I end up learning even more in the process when I’m working with others there making them happen.
You’ve been making and writing music since you were 14 years old, what’s changed for you now in terms of how you approach your creative projects?
Early on my music was always inspired by love (which is quite funny to say now, thinking back on a 14 year old writer) and my personal relationships with others. Now, my key inspiration has been how I approach life and self encouragement. I feel as though I’m almost writing and making sounds that feel like my prayers or mantras.
Have your reasons for creating shifted as you get older?
Musically my key reasons have always remained the same. I’ll share, for example, I have always created as a means of self-soothing [and] I’ve noticed there are new parts of myself I’m tending to now. As I’ve grown and moved into visual creative projects I’ve realised that mission is simple, I just want to offer the world beautiful things. Something that would have inspired baby Rainy to create, she always had an eye for beauty.
Due to starting so young you have quite a bit of experience behind you now — with hindsight what advice would you give to the 15-year-old you?
One, baby girl, it’s okay to suck at new things. I used to be so obsessed with being great at something early and that brings a self judgement which only ever hinders any process. Two, just because an idea came easy to you doesn’t mean it’s not good. I used to think when creating if I hadn’t pained and pined to come up with an idea it meant it was meaningless and that’s just not true, what if it came with ease because you’re already so tapped into what it was you had to express?
How did you get involved with the comedy film Ce Lac A du Succès?
I met Varnish some summers ago at a session he’d set up for us in LA, we kept in touch and he had told me he’d love for me to be in his new film. I’d already been a fan of his previous [work], I thought it was so imaginative and specific, only he could have come up with it. I said ‘of course’ without knowing much of what he had in mind. When he told me his idea for my character was to be part girl, part fish, it was a big YES [laughs].
Have you always wanted to act?
I come from a musical theatre background so it’s always been a part of my interests and I’ve always found it so freeing and playful. Whenever I get the opportunity to ‘be someone else’, [it] feels like a vacation from myself.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry?
Create for the right reasons and that is YOUR reasons. Understand your reasons, why do you have this personal calling to your creative mission? So long as you always work with those in mind, you are a success.
With so much based within the court of public opinion nowadays, can you tell us who Rainy Milo is in your own words?
An adventurer I’m always down to go to new places, whether in the mind or the world and my creations are the souvenirs.