Miya Folick’s career was gaining momentum just as Covid hit, so it’s wonderful to hear her fabulous voice again. Her new single “Nothing To See” is one of this year’s best, blending a lovely melody with a lyric that says a lot about inexplicable impulses and actions, both during and after a relationship.
You told me that you loved me, but you mispronounced my name
I never corrected you ’cause I didn’t want to push you away
Why did I do that?
Why did I do that?
In case you’re wondering, Miya’s name is pronounced MEE-yah FOE-lick. She grew up in southern California and was raised as a Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist, which explains why her music has such profundity. Some reviewers call her voice “operatic,” but I prefer the term “theatrical” because she studied acting at NYU and then back home at USC.
Many song videos today don’t correlate well with their subject matter, but that’s not the case with the “Nothing To See” video. The song and video never stray from the central point: what I do in a relationship is often as mystifying to me as it is to the other person.
The video demonstrates this beautifully by showing two classic “why did I do that?” moments: Miya lapping a bowl of cocoa with her tongue (not a spoon) and languidly licking an ice cream cone on a slow-moving treadmill. The artist is making it crystal-clear that many of our actions arise from a primal place not connected to motives or reasons. Our thinking-brains know that a relationship is over, yet we still make subconscious concessions and changes trying to bring it back to life.
Folick’s 2018 debut album Premonitions was rightly hailed as a masterpiece. It included the haunting love song “Thingamajig,” where a delicate vocal riff runs through the bloodstream of the entire song – something I’ve never heard before or since. The lyric celebrates Buddha-like serenity in the face of the storm:
I am smiling wide
I’m the reason the sky is blue
Was poured into me and poured into you
Premonitions also included the song “Stock Image,” one of the best neo-R&B songs ever written. The groove is so delightful that it’s easy to miss the depth of what Miya is conveying lyrically.
Color in, color in
Feeling empty outside of your outline
You scratch at the door of the divine
Within, color in
You can’t stand the greatness of sunshine
You hide in the bones of a stock image
With “Nothing To See” and the forthcoming EP, Miya Folick reclaims her place in the vanguard of great artists who write smart, spiritual and mesmerizing songs.