Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
How great it must be to confirm for everyone that your real, god-given birth name is Mia Riddle. It alone sets you apart from the legions of blasé people out there, giving you a chance to live up to and fill out a name that allows you to slip into ambiguity and shrouds of mystery (or hoodies) if that's the way you want to go. The whole question mark wrapped up in a riddle, covered by a myth characterization or assumption could come into play, giving such a dramatic advantage that it might scare people. You aren't a Leslie or a Jill, but a Mia and a Riddle and that could leave people dead in their tracks, cotton-mouthed, wanting to ask if your father once fought the devil and won, or had an ancestor perform such an astounding act of contortionism on the English language, fresh off a boat from somewhere that everyone sired within that particular tree, from then on, could benefit from such surname fortune. This young Riddle plays into her murky name, but not necessarily purposely. It's as if she's found herself consumed by the enormity of the fates and all of their different faces, which can buckle you or stun you blind, depending on how attentive you are at the time of impact. It's as if Riddle has taken it upon herself, as a songwriter, to scale over the willing perceptions and chuck aside the Novocain or the sugar that accompanies the bitter medicines or the fruity drink as a chaser for the burning, blackout of a shot that just got knocked back. It's relatively clear to her that there's really not all that much clarity to be had out there. The days and nights that we're going through - or the ones that she personally experiences - run without so much as a conductor, just a track that hasn't been completely laid down and in a second's notice could head straight toward the falls, which are perpetually alluded to and heard as if it were a roaring crowd, off into the distance. We aren't nurtured through. We're dropped and left stranded, with a handful of people we can commiserate with and trade favors with. Riddle's songs, some of which will remind listeners of the darker and more introspective numbers that Miss Leslie Feist writes, though these favor a more ghostly folk tint and country rumble, are stark, but intricate structures of introspective wonder, stretching to get to a point where there's just a little more certainty to believe in. It's as if Riddle has the dumpy misfortune of not being happy-go-lucky and just being able to skip and swing her arms as she walks, whistling to herself without thinking about such loaded subjects or imagining her grandchildren having grandchildren. It's as if she's looking up to the milky night and she's not able to spell or recognize anything. The constellations are just random confusions, no belts to spot, no ladles to identify. It's just arbitrary points of light, none of which offer consolation or condolence. She's sings about "getting crushed like a paper cup" by all the impossibilities and that's definitely not even the half of it. Those impossibilities tend to multiply and evolve into new problems that might never be solved or dented. It's accepting the challenge to the ultimate staring contest, seeing who is going to blink first. Riddle's not blinking, just burning a hole through the silence and thinking to herself, "I take it so light cause there's nothing to lose," and that's the spine that she hangs onto.
Mia Riddle Official Site