What's your name? How did you get started?
Well for starters, My name is Mikaiya aka “Madam Kai” and I got into music very young. I was born in Charleston, SC but moved to Atlanta at the age of two and have spent my life here. Most people unless they’re close to me don’t know this but I started out singing before I got into recording, mixing/mastering, and producing. I went to performing arts school in high school and I was a “vocal major”. I was trained in vocal performance, music theory, piano theory, and classical music. Before that, when I was younger I was always in choir and orchestra as well.
I grew up mostly listening to R&B music, Hip/Hop, and Rap. My favorite artist was Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Beyoncé, Missy Elliot, OutKast, 2Pac, and Kanye West. I started making music because it was always so that was able to draw me in and hold my attention. I would always get lost in the sounds and the actual creation of the music more so than the lyrics itself which is how I got into engineering and production. I started to notice that sounds piqued my interest and I wanted to know more about making them so, in 2016, I enrolled in SAE of Atlanta and got my associate degree in audio engineering. That’s when I began to take music seriously and decided to turn it into a career. My biggest moment in engineering was when I got to record and mix and master a song called “2 official” by Ezzy Money ft. Lil Baby who I still record, mix and master exclusively for.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, Youtube, etc.)?
I have been recording, mixing, and mastering professionally since 2017. I started working at a well-known studio in Atlanta named Pro Mix Global under Well know engineer JP Engineerin'. I attended SAE Institute of Atlanta and obtained an audio engineering degree but most of my training came from actually being hands-on in the studio and having great mentors around me to show me and guide me along the way as well as being self-taught.
As far as good educational sources go, YouTube is great but being hands-on and getting your hands dirty and jumping in the mix is the best way to learn and to use your ear and trust your process when it comes to music. Music is an art and a way to express or convey your emotions and how you perceive things.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
So far I have mixed songs, recorded, and received credits from Ezzy Money, Lil Baby, Mulatto, Lil Boosie, Joe Gifted, Jay Shalé, Hunxho, and Big Vaughn.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
My biggest influences growing up were Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, 2Pac, and Missy Elliott. I loved Lauryn Hill and Erykah because, to me, their music had meaning and a deeper message that I believe people were supposed to get. They always inspired me to make and create music from the heart and music that sparks or ignites a flame in people’s minds for them to think and pay attention to what’s going on on a deeper level. Now I still listen to the music that I grew up listening to but I’m also a big Young Thug, Lil Baby, and H.E.R. fan.
I love H. E. R. Because when it comes to singing and actual musical styles we embody some of the same things. I love young Thug because he has been a staple in the game and created a whole creative lane of his own. I also listen to Jhené Aiko, 6LACK, Anderson Paak, Teyana Taylor as well as a few others that are on my playlist.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
For the most part, things have been stable but the biggest obstacle I’ve faced is solidifying a permanent space and clientele. Things in the industry move very quickly and people’s situations change. Also, with being in Atlanta, there has been a lot of violence happen and made public in the city at different studios which had made it hard to obtain studio spaces in Atlanta and surrounding areas due to fear of unwanted violence.
How would you describe your sound and style?
For my sound and style, it’s very versatile. If I am working with an artist, I try to step in the shoes of that artist to gauge what type of sound and/or feel that it is they’re looking for.
As far as when I’m working alone, I definitely would say I’m neo-soul included w/trap and r&b with some rap influence.
What are some of your goals this year?
This year I would like to grow my business and recording studio “MixedByTheMadam” in Douglasville, Ga as well as my production company that specializes in recording, mixing/mastering, songwriting, and production “Third House Entertainment”. I would like to generate more clientele as well as work with artists in different genres to bring their sound to life and take their music to the next level that they may be looking for!
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
I would love to work with H.E.R., Bryson Tiller, 6LACK, Brent Faiyaz, Phil Tan, Kesha Lee, and Mike Dean!
What is your creative process like?
It depends on what I’m doing. If I’m recording a song with an artist, I also listen to the beat while I’m setting up the session files to see if I can gauge the type of feel the artist is going for. I always tell people I have a “triple ear” because I’m able to hear music from an engineer, producer, and artist standpoint so I allow myself to sit back and see what is required of me. Sometimes I may only need one and others I need all three. I believe it is subjective to each situation.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
I’m a vegan so I do most of my cooking but my favorite orders around the city are a plant-based pizzeria, local green Atlanta, the nut cafe (if I’m on the Southside), and Aviva by Kameel. The first three are black-owned BY THE WAY so they’re definitely places to check out if people haven’t already!