"Once I started creating music, especially writing my own compositions and improvising, I just felt like I was escaping into this whole other world, a world that I feel safe to let go in, to surrender." For singer-songwriter Milan Ring, this is what creating is all about.
A multi-hyphenate in her entirety, Ring oscillates between the roles of singer, rapper, guitarist, producer, and mix and mastering engineer, and her music exposes as much. Its modern soul meets indie-electronic, scattered with RnB, and it's a testament to her creative process: unyielding, controlled, and honest, Ring's purist lyrics expose it all through live percussion, electronic drums and synths, raw guitar takes, and earthy vocals.
Below, between shots by Kitty Callaghan, Ring tells us about her "soft on the inside, hard on the outside" star sign, how she got her start in music, and her newly released single BS.
What’s the first thing we should know about you?
I eat congee for breakfast most days.
What’s your star sign?
Cancer. I am such a cancer. Soft on the inside, hard on the outside like a crab, likes to be at home, is loyal and very sensitive.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I am an introvert in the sense that I recharge my energy on my own and enjoy my own company. I often feel introverts get a bad rap like meaning “antisocial” or something, but I love to socialize and be surrounded by people too I swear.
What drew you to music? Are you creative at heart?
My mother was a professional dancer so I always imagine she was dancing whilst I was bouncing around in the womb. Rhythm has always come naturally to me, and music was always on in the house growing up and brought me a lot of joy. I am definitely creative at heart, I would argue that we all are, and as kids, that is nurtured, but gradually in time it seems to be suppressed in many of us once we start to feel self-conscious. My first creative expression was in writing; letters, poetry, and short stories. My nan (a poet and very creative human) wrote a poem for me when I was about 7 which has the line “I’ll be a book writer one day” so apparently that was my very first career plan. I think that is why lyrics come very organically to me, they even sometimes originate from my journal entries and poetry. Then once I started creating music, especially writing my own compositions and improvising, I just felt like I was escaping into this whole other world, a world that I feel safe to let go in, to surrender.
How did you start out in music? Tell us about your journey.
In early high school, I saw a friend playing the guitar and I was instantly like "what is that? I want to do that!" So I did, I got a little Spanish guitar and started teaching myself from CDs and guitar tabs. At the end of high school, I formed a band with a few friends and we would jam every week and that was the beginning of my compositional exploration. I still wasn’t singing then as I was super shy and insecure about it, but eventually, after jamming with the band for like a year I built up the courage to sing and never really looked back.
I started writing my own music in my early 20s with a music producer and knew that I wanted to produce and do all the things - so went to TAFE and got a diploma in sound engineering and tech production and have been locking myself in a room and making music ever since! Like a true introvert!
How would you describe the DNA of your sound?
Warmth. Well, I like it to feel warm, full and textured, and intricate. Plus it just needs a slapping beat and some tasty guitars and I’m happy!
Can you tell us about your new single BS?
Yes, so BS is about moving away from self-sabotaging behaviors. That life always throws us BS and chaos but how are we going to deal with it? It features Che Lingo from the UK who went deeper into speaking about ego-driven behaviors in people. What I love about the upbeatness of the song and the hook is that it is about letting go of the BS and dancing it away in a sense. Moving through it, and seeing the lessons, the growth, and the meaning within it.
What do you think is the future of music in a post-COVID world?
Hopefully, everyone's appreciating the arts more! Everyone is realizing that screens aren’t the same as experiencing performances and art in the flesh and getting out and supporting their communities.
What are you excited about in the future?
For this post covid world for sure! Yeah, I’m excited to rebook my 2020 EU/UK tour & travel. And a couple of things I’d love to see is a world on a predominantly plant-based diet and to see us look after this beautiful planet and all the life in it!
Do you have any words to live by?
Not my words but I live by these, "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." - Albert Einstein.