Miss Machina is an L.A. artist who grew up in Dallas with the real name Ash Smith. She reminds me a lot of a certain artist headlining the “Eras” tour. Like Ms. Swift, Miss M writes ultra-catchy songs that offer societal insight.

Her new single “Like That” combines a hyper-pop melody with a lyric that deftly explores the obsessive nature of para-social and fictional relationships.

Miss Machina’s previous single “Rumors” sounds like a lighthearted ode to paparazzi favorites like Marilyn Monroe and Lady Diana. But the video for the song has a chilling epilogue that shows how unfairly we’ve treated these women.

As she puts the finishing touches on her first album, Miss Machina is giving us some incredibly hooky songs – and some serious points to ponder.

How did you meet co-producer Eric Dash, and will he be working on your other 2023 releases?

I met Eric at a writing camp that he runs in Hollywood when I first moved to LA about a year ago. We worked on a song together (one that will actually be on the full album) at my first camp and I loved working with him so much that I asked if he’d be interested in working with me on a complete body of work. He agreed and we actually worked on and completed 7 songs together, all of which will come out this year and at the beginning of 2024. He and my other producer Zach Striar are helping me bring to life my first full album (11 tracks total). 

What’s the backstory on “Like That”? How did the song take shape?

The song is, in its purest form, a love song. I started penning the main concept for the song during the pandemic when I started to fall in love without even seeing the person in real life. We just talked online through social media and text, but that made it all the more exciting. Even though it was real, it was almost protected by the fact that it was all virtual. 

As the song began to take shape, I started to shift and think about writing it as a celebrity crush through the lens of a para-social relationship. A relationship that also feels very real but loses its merit and validity outside the confines of the Internet. 

The song became this naïve, lighthearted celebration of being in love – obsessively so – without the fear of it ever failing…because it wasn’t truly real to begin with.

Your single “Rumors” is more than a great song…it’s a keen sociopolitical commentary on the shabby way that women are treated in a male-dominated culture. Whose idea was it to include the poignant epilogue about Lady Diana and Marilyn Monroe at the end of the video?

Thank you so much, and actually that was my idea and was the key concept behind the entire video. When I was writing “Rumors”, I kept seeing flashes of paparazzi footage and new clips. The song in my head was always a commentary on the media and how it twists and corrupts for its own gain. Hence the lyric, “Quote unquote.” But I wanted to bring to light the reality that these were still real people, real women whose lives were used as a source of entertainment and in turn were irrevocably changed by it. I wanted the ending of the video to be a reminder that we have been conditioned to see women as entertainment, whether it’s their personal lives or rights. We love to talk about women… but we don’t love to listen.

If you would, we tend to talk the talk but rarely walk the walk. 

It’s quite a feat playing Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Marilyn Monroe, Lady Di and Hillary all in one video for “Rumors”. Did you do a lot of acting while in school in Dallas and Chicago?

I did. I actually started school as a theatre major (musical theatre to be specific) before deciding to change my major to journalism. I love theatre, I actually even used to take private acting lessons for strictly Shakespeare (I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to his work) and have been itching to get on the stage again (sans guitar/piano).

If the opportunity arises, would you like to act and make music, a la Lady Gaga?

Sign me up! I would love to do that. I want to explore all methods of storytelling. I would love to be in a play or musical, but I would also love to direct and write a film. I have a bunch of ideas bouncing around in my brain and would love to bring those to life not just through song but through film, stage and television.