Mia Ariannaa is here to shake up the music industry with her standout voice, relentless bars, soulful spirit, inner and outer beauty, and endless good energy. With her signature Bindi jewel sitting present at all times, the rising star transcends the genres of R&B, hip-hop, and pop into her own unique blend. Hailing from Rochester, New York and growing up singing in the church choir, a brave teenage Mia proudly belted out The Star-Spangled Banner at her middle school basketball games.
Self-deemed the Princess of Music, Mia has been grinding, putting in the work and investing in her own artistry for years on end. In 2016, it was her participation in Monica’s #SoGoneChallenge that would go viral as she gained new fans from all over the world. Fast forward to Summer 2019, it was her Roddy Ricch freestyle that caught the attention of hip-hop mogul Rico Love, who would sign her to his Division1 Imprint.
Continuing on with her standout #MiaMondaze freestyles, Mia returns to debut the official music video for “What Was I Thinking?”, serving as her major label debut on Epic. In addition, the 22-year-old owns a skincare line and clothing boutique. Flaunt caught up with Mia via Zoom, who was located in Virginia at the time. Read below as we discuss her household growing up, journey into music, going viral with the #SoGoneChallenge, debut single “What Was I Thinking?,” how she linked with Rico Love, #MiaMondaze, the creation of “Hurt Sometimes,” fashion inspo, goals, and more!
What was the household like growing up in Rochester?
My mom has 4 daughters so it was all girls in the house. I was a baby so I was always spoiled honestly. I never really got in trouble and my sisters used to hate it so much. It was really fun having a lot of siblings because I have even more siblings on my dad’s side, but it was a lot of drama. [laughs] A lot of fussing and fighting, but most of all it was super fun. I really like it. I like having a lot of siblings, you never get bored. You always have something to do.
When did music come into play?
I grew up in a church choir so I’ve always been a singer. I’ve been singing all my life. My mom’s a singer too. A lot of people in my family sing, they’re into music. In middle school, I used to sing at the basketball games. I’d sing on YouTube. I got some old videos on Youtube that I can’t even take down and I want to take them down so bad, I was so young, I had to be 12. I hate them videos, they’re funny though. I started rapping when I was in 9th grade. My first freestyle video I did was in 2016 to the Monica #SoGoneChallenge, it ended up going viral. My best friend said “Mia, you gotta keep going! You can’t stop now.” So I started posting more freestyles and didn’t stop.
How did it go viral?
I posted it on Instagram, I had to have 5K or 6K followers. Out of nowhere, my phone started having so many notifications, I’m like wait hold on. I’m scrolling like yo, my freestyle’s going viral! Do you see this? I was on my phone the whole time, different famous people were posting it.
Biggest influences coming up?
Michael Jackson for sure. Beyonce for sure. Etta James, those are my mains. I grew up watching all of Michael Jackson performances, listening to his music. Beyonce too, their work ethic is out of this world. Their grind, their success story is really out of this world.
How’d you get your name, Mia Ariannaa?
My real name is Samia White. Everyone calls me Mia because it’s a nickname. I got Ariannaa because I think somebody called me it. Only reason I didn’t want to use my real name is because there’s already an artist named Samia. Nuh uh, I gotta switch it up. Honestly, I came up with Ariannaa because I thought it was pretty. [laughs]
Any significance of the 2 N’s and the 2 A’s?
So what’s crazy is I didn’t want 2 A’s at the end of the name when I was doing music as Mia Ariannaa. I had to put 2 A’s on my instagram name because @MiaArianna was already taken. Epic Records ended up putting two A’s on the end of my name doing something, then Rico said “I like it. It’s unique, we should keep it like that.”
What were you going through when you recorded “What Was I Thinking?”
In the past, I was dealing with my ex who treated me like crap. When I’m in the studio, I think of stuff that I’ve been through or certain situations. I’ll hear a beat and start talking about it. Really I was talking about my ex the whole time, different things a lot of women go through that they can relate. Every single thing in the song he didn’t do, but I know other women can relate to it. It was me thinking about what my ex did to me, how he treated me.
What was your ex’s reaction?
He’s like, “I know you ain’t make that song about me!” [laughs] I’m like ummm, yeah I did. He laughed about it. He’s a cool guy, we’re still cool. We’re not together but we don’t hate each other. He laughed, he knew it was about him.
Where was the video shot? What were you trying to convey?
The video was shot in Charlotte, where I live. We shot it at a Target, I was on the porch getting my hair done. The video was during the pandemic, it was something quick. Rico said “I’m about to send your videographer down there,” shout out to Carl. He said “do something fun, record a quick video.” That wasn’t even supposed to be the official video. It was supposed to be a little quick promo video, but it ended up coming out pretty nice.
The theme was supposed to be the Purge. The porch scene wasn’t supposed to be in there. All this Corona going on, that was at my grandparents house. We didn’t want to go inside so she flat-ironed my hair on the porch. We’re supposed to go to Walmart to shoot scenes. All those balloons, I didn’t put that there. My poppa had just beat cancer and he‘s coming home from the hospital, we had a whole bunch of decorations for him. It ended up going perfectly for the video. My EP’s called I’m a Good Girl, Do You Believe Me so the dress is I’m a sweet girl and innocent, but then you got the bat because I’m crazy too. [laughs]
“Hurt Sometimes” out now, what’re you most excited about?
I’m excited, it’s a different side of me. The first thing everybody heard was “What Was I Thinking?”, that’s me talking crap about a guy. It’s a whole ‘nother vibe. I’m excited for people to see more of my rapping side, more of who I am and how I come off. I can sing really well, but I can also rap. I can talk about BS and I can talk about real life stuff. “Hurt Sometimes” came from the heart. I was literally in the booth, they played the beat and I thought I was done recording for the day. Rico said “go in there, go talk your stuff.” I went in there, I was singing. [hums chorus] It was off the dome, one take.
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What’s the reality of this grind in the music industry? I know it’s a lot.
Definitely. It’s harder for upcoming artists during this whole pandemic because you don’t get to do shows. A lot of stuff being postponed. One thing about me is I’m literally never going to give up, but it does get hard. I had to say that on Instagram so people don’t feel they’re the only ones. People look at someone on Instagram and think it’s picture-perfect, it’s never like that. It’s been plenty of times where I wanted to give up and quit. I’m thinking about myself but my family too, I got a family to feed. I came this far, there’s no way I can give up. It’s not easy but anything you really want to succeed in a big position is never going to be easy. I deal with it and keep pushing.
Talk about linking with LittleJohn4k on the record.
She’s so talented, so freakin’ talented it makes no sense. What’s crazy is we went to high school together, but she was a basketball player. She never did music. When I found out she did music, yo that’s crazy. After high school, everybody goes their separate ways. We linked up because she signed to Carter, that’s my bro too. We’re always around the same people. The energy was the same. I was at the studio, we said “pull up” because she knows Rico and all them too. She pulled up to the studio when I was recording, we’re vibing out. When I was recording “Hurt Sometimes” Rico said “hop on there!” She did and hold on, I need to go back in there and do something else to my verse because she’s going crazy. She’s killing me on my own song! [laughs] She’s super talented, it was a pleasure working with her. She’s such a dope positive person: good vibes, good energy.
How is music a form of therapy for you?
I can literally be going through something that I don’t want to talk to nobody about. You can’t do nothing to help me or I don’t want you knowing my problems. I don’t want to put any pressure on nobody else because everybody goes through stuff. One thing about me, I hold stuff in. I could be so hurt, I could go through the worst things, I’ll come around you smiling and you’d never know. When I go in the booth, it’s my best friend. The studio’s my best friend because I know I can say whatever I want to say and it’s going to come out beautiful. Nobody’s saying nothing negative or nothing bad, the studio helps me get through a lot of stuff. When I don’t go to the studio, [sighs]. Jesus Christ!
How did you and Rico Love connect?
Rico found me off of a freestyle video I did on Instagram to Roddy Ricch “Every Season,” this is when I was grinding. I admit I was way more hungry before I was signed. I wouldn’t say that it stopped but being that I’ve been doing freestyles since 2016, alright now I’m ready to drop music. I’m still working on keeping that same hunger that I had before, it’s really hard.
This was when I was posting freestyles back to back to back, he ended up seeing it. He messaged me “congrats, you’re about to blow.” I said “thank you, I appreciate it.” He said he thought I was signed, I said “oh no, we still can work.” The crazy thing was I messaged him in 2016, he ended up messaging me back in 2019. I messaged him in 2016: “hey I’m a young 18-year-old artist, hungry out here. I’m ready to work, can you listen to my music?” The universe brought him right back.
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
It’s so much, he gives me so much advice. The best advice is to stay hungry and stay consistent. Keep going, keep that grind. Keep grinding, don’t stop. He’s such a great mentor. If I have an attitude, he says “you need to fix that. You don’t want people around because they have to, you want people around because they want to be around you. Not because they’re getting paid or they have to.” Certain stuff he tells me and it made me reevaluate a lot. I’ve changed a lot because of him, I definitely appreciate him for that.
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Talk about #MiaMondaze and how that came about.
Of course Mia starts with “M,” Monday. Alright, I’ma post a freestyle every Monday. Give the fans something to look forward to. Every Monday, I know I’ma go to her page and see this freestyle. I ain’t gon’ lie, I was slipping a lil bit because I stopped posting. lt gets hard sometimes, I run out of ideas. Being in the house during the pandemic, you’re sitting in the house. You’re not really moving, you’re not really traveling, you don’t really have too much to really talk about. As an artist, you have to move around. You have to travel. You have to do things and live life to write music.
Do you freestyle or write?
I do both. “Hurt Sometimes” was a freestyle from the heart. I literally was in the booth, eyes closed. It’s so crazy because there’s a cameraman, I need to get his info because he recorded the whole thing. It was whatever I felt. My engineer Ace, he’s super dope. If I say one line or if I do a whole verse and I stop, he recorded it already so I can listen to it and say it again.
I actually don’t write my music anymore, Rico taught me how to not write my music. I might write it sometimes. If I came off the dome with a verse, I might sit down and write another one while I listen to the beat, but most of the time I go in the booth and say what comes off my head. Keep going. My engineer’s so quick and fast with it that he’s recording everything, he’s 10 steps ahead of me. He’s recording everything that I’m humming, my flow, my lyrics. I don’t even have to write nothing, I literally go in there and do my thing.
3 things you need in the studio?
I need my tea. I need my water. I need some type of quiet time too. When I was in my Miami, Rico invited different female artists to meet because I’m always around a whole bunch of guys. He’s like “you need to network with these people. You might be the only person in here signed but that girl right there or that girl right there, she can go viral tomorrow and be bigger than you. You always need to have good relations with these artists. If she got a show in Texas and you’re in Texas, she might say ‘Mia, come perform!’”
It’s frustrating when it’s a bunch of people in the studio and I’m watching everything everybody’s doing. Nobody’s listening to me recording but you got people that’s either drinking, smoking, or having 10 different conversations. It throws me off because the studio I record in, you can see. I’m seeing everybody and it’s throwing me off because they’re not really in tune. I’ve learned that about myself, I’d rather be a studio with a few people. My engineers, my producers because it gets frustrating sometimes. Maybe a shot of liquor too. [laughs]
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I’d be a lawyer for sure, definitely owning businesses. Since 16 or 17, I started making jewelry…. I was popular all throughout school. All the girls would say “Mia, could you make me this? I want to wear this, I want to wear that.” I was making it for people for free, hold on I need to be selling this. All y’all want this stuff. I need to start selling it. I never stopped, I always had a business. I might have switched it up. At first it was body jewelry, then I ended up with skincare, now I got a clothing boutique. But I always wanted to be a lawyer.
I’m sure your parents wanted you to be a lawyer too right?
Of course! My mom begged me to go to college, I went for her. I went for a month and stopped going because I was in the studio everyday. I took online classes. I stopped doing my work for 4 days because I was in the studio. I came back to that laptop, I had to do 50 projects. I’m not a school girl, I can’t do this. I never even told my mom. I didn’t drop out, I didn’t do nothing, I stopped going. I never told her. When I was going to the studio, she thought I was going to school. I couldn’t do it.
How would you describe your fashion style?
A bit everywhere. I was way more stylish in high school because I cared. When you’re in high school, you see all these people everyday, it’s like going to the club almost or going out to eat to a fancy restaurant. I was Tumblr famous too, I used to dress vintage. Me and my old best friend, we used to go viral taking pictures. I was big on dressing. I’d wear all my sisters’ clothes too, so I had options. [laughs] They hated it. It was girly sometimes, but more tomboy-ish, cool, vintage.
Now, you can catch me in some sweatpants, a t-shirt, a wifebeater, some sneakers, a hoodie. I’ll dress up sometimes, I’ll put on a dress. Honestly, I’m going to need a stylist because I’m not as stylish as I used to be. It’s not that I don’t care but I look for something that’s already put together. This dress is put together. I’ll throw some heels on, a jacket, call it a day.
Goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
#1, I want to better myself as an artist. I’m a great artist but I want to discipline myself more. During this pandemic, it’s really been hard but I want to learn how to discipline myself more. Work on my social media more, it’s hard because the algorithm with Instagram is everywhere. I don’t even get it. Work on my grind, I need to grind 10 times harder. I tell myself that all the time. Nobody’s perfect. I got all the best music in the world but I have to get this social media down pact. That’s the new generation. You can have all the good music but you have to gravitate those people towards you. My goal’s to be the best I can be.