‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ was a compulsory class for many of us growing up. It was the album which launched a former Fugee to international superstardom and taught us some vital life lessons— the most vital being just how educational music and the stories of their artists can be. In a similar sort of way, I am introduced to Misha B, a singer/songwriter from Manchester, through a song called ‘Rosa Parks Flow’ and I float away. It was the name that made me click— Misha’s fresh sound and solid content make me stay.
Meet The Team
- Photographer: @karisbeau
- Stylist: @ramariochevoy
- Hair: @laurainebailey
- Makeup: @doras_touch
- Interview by @__sosonia
The first time Misha and I speak on the phone, we lose track of the purpose of our interview and banter about the Premier League. Awesome fact—Misha once trained with Manchester United under 16s at Old Trafford. She sings “ooh-aaah Cantona” and brings back some of my most joyous childhood memories—the grown up staunch Chelsea fan in me is surprised at how Misha has me talking about Ole Gunnar Solskjær. We could have an entire podcast on this subject alone.
This interview is word for word Misha. Unable to capture her delicate Mancunian drawl onto paper, we still fail to do her full justice. I am sent snippets of new music from Misha B and I am eager to hear more. I feel excited for the British music scene.
Could you tell us about growing up in Manchester?
I grew up between a place called Longsight and a place called Mossside. Mossside is home to my grandma, my mother and is the place most of my siblings reside. These streets have given me strength and a richness money cannot buy. So much of who I am is because of the things I saw and learnt in Mossside. The friendships, hardships and countless adventures began here. I remember summertime, the sun beaming down on my forehead, ashy knees from playing in rec park, the 10p mix ups from Mr Khans and the Pattie and coco bread from Alvinos. Patties come from Jamaican culture; you can get lamb, chicken, saltfish, vegetable and beef patties. It was like heaven in my mouth and I’d always have a KA pineapple to wash it down. There were nuff times I burnt my mouth eating pattie but that didn’t stop me from going back… [laughs] that’s because I’m craven.
I was raised by my Aunty and Uncle, who I called Mum and Dad. My Uncle ran a youth club on Fridays at the Church and my Aunty ran a play scheme every school holiday. Both were lit, I made lots of friends and we’d go on these trips to the theme parks, museums, swimming and every day there was the option of going to the park. I love the park, I feel so free yet connected to my creator. Ive always felt my happiest when I’m in nature. I understand the importance of staying connected to your inner child, because we become adults and automatically start trying to do this adult thing and this adult thing ain’t what they make it out to be. ‘Don’t grow up it’s a trap’.
When did you first get into singing?
I was 13 when my passion for music really grew legs. I was writing poetry at 8 and began rapping when I was 11 but when it came to singing I didn’t have the confidence to follow it through. I always felt very naked when I sang and I guess I wasn’t completely ready for that. I continue with rapping at the forefront and went on to create a group called LTG — Lyrically Talented Girls. We were girls from the same school, same ends with the similar passions. We had rappers and singers, we had poets and dancers.
After LTG broke down, I went on to start another group; an all singing group called The Voices Within, with some other girls from my highs school. We’d perform at talent shows, corporate events and churches. I loved it. The experience of the two groups combined has armed me with skills that has shaped the artist I am today. Shout out to all the girls that are now women elevating in this thing called life!
I really like ‘Letter to my SiStars’ and ‘Rosa Parks Flow’. How would you describe your style?
Raw. Everything flows from the heart and I just put what’s in my heart and on my mind on paper. I feel like that’s where the power is; in speaking your truth. All the artists I love are transparent. It makes me feel like, if they are able to share in this way then I can too. Whenever I write, I ask spirit to speak through me. I am a vessel first. Writing is super therapeutic for me… it feels like a therapy session. So whenever things are heavy or I’m happy, I’m quick to go to write or quick to go and sing.
Misha, you had an really tough intro into this industry on a show I don’t really want to name. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your experiences. It really validated the racial typecasting, racial gaslighting and ‘wokefishing’ we still see going on today. How did you feel about the response to your story?
With regards to the media, I tried not to read into it. I was aware that some media platforms had picked it up but the difference between me now and then is that I don’t read into these things because I simply do not care. My mental health and well being is my sole priority.
Was Tulisa’s response intended as an apology? I totally missed that and only got more aggression which was personally quite triggering.
I don’t think it was an apology, it was a reaction. I understand that we’re all human and different things make us all react in different ways, I am aware of that…
However, I do feel like the times we are living in, we all have a duty to educate ourselves. Being in a diverse industry where we are surrounded by people from different races and all walks of life, it’s vital to educate ourselves.
What do you think of Tulisa’s statement “I don’t have a racist bone in my body because my entire career has been built on black artists”?
I think sometimes we can unintentionally say and do things that will offend others. Instead of being defensive, pause and seek to understand. I’m not here for cancel culture, I am here for the evolution of our culture. And I think that rather than cancelling people it’s progressive to educate one another. But again, people need to be willing. They need to be willing to want to go and do the work. One thing I’ve learnt in life is, if you don’t have any information on something, than ask questions or do not say anything at all. Sometimes silence is better. Because ignorance is harmful and it creates more hurt than it does help.
Even then, in this situation, I still send love and I still send light. The people in the positions of power have to do better. These are different times now where everyone’s being forced to step up. Because we, the people, are tired. Tired beyond belief; tired of telling people we’re tired and STILL BLACK LIVES MATTER.
You have so much positivity and light about you. What motivates Misha?
The sun motivates me, so does the rain. Both are equally as powerful but have different qualities and serve different purposes. Everyday I learn to appreciate them more and more. Being from Manchester it rains a lot so it’s something I’m familiar with. But when the sun makes an appearance it’s a joy. One cannot exist without the other. Similar to light and darkness. The yin and yang. One of my prayers to the most High is to use me as a vessel. That’s my most frequent prayer. I know that my presence here on earth is much bigger than me. My purpose is to spread love and to spread light through music; to create a space for healing and use my experiences to uplift others.
What artists and albums have helped you on your journey?
Well, I am first a student at the school of Aretha Franklin. That’s my musical mother.
James Brown is my favourite artist. His relationship with music is spectacular, he moves like magic and his music makes me feel alive. Amy Winehouse is my big sister musically. She is one of the only artists I truly resonate with. She is the first artist I listened to and felt at home. Her pen is unmatched and her vocal delivery is art. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Chance the Rapper has a mixtape called Acid rap and that project has really helped me over here last 5/6 years. There is a song for every mood and I feel the same about Ms Dynamite (A little deeper), Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur. I adore Tupac. He was able to articulate the black struggle in such a beautiful way. I Aint Mad At Ya, Dear Mamma. Changes, Keep Ya Head Up.
My mother also sings and I draw a lot of style and music inspiration from her. I look forward to sharing this music with the world. And healing one day at a time.