You may not believe this, but
every word is true.
In a PR-driven business, Mishka needs no hype or explanation –
his talent is self-evident, his life story extraordinary.
Born in Bermuda, he lived with his parents on a sailboat from
the age of three onwards. His early musical memories included
listening to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, hearing snatches of
pop and reggae on the radio on trips to Caribbean islands. No
doubt there was some blues and soul in the mix too. All those
musical elements are, in various degrees, part of Mishka’s
identity, but what impresses most is that graceful,
extraordinary, assured voice.
Lyrically, Mishka’s favorite similes are of the sea – he has a
bulging notebook of “ocean songs”. In conversation, he looks
back, without evident nostalgia or myth making, on an early life
growing up at sea. While other children were glued to the
television and video games, Mishka was offered endless hours in
which to reflect, to draw, to red and to write. Occasionally,
dolphins or whales would swim alongside the boat, offering
companionship. It sounds idyllic, but there was also loneliness
“When I was 7 years old, I remember there was a storm and the
seas were 30-40 feet high. We took all the sails down and rode
the waves because there’s nothing else you can do in that wind.
I looked out and the waves were so big that I just went down
below and cried, I was so scared.”
Educated entirely on the boat, the boy’s only sustained spell at
school occurred at the age of 15 when his parents briefly
returned to Canada. Suddenly, Mishka was a High School kid, a
mystic misfit surrounded by jocks. Having never played a team
sport in his life, he found it tough to adjust, but eventually
discovered friends through his music. In 1990, he and some
friends formed a high school band, then he took up songwriting
seriously. An independent spirit, he was never likely to tread
the traditional rock’n’roll route of debilitating road-slogging
gigs, backed by aggressive self-marketing, in order to impress
record companies. Within a year of leaving school the ocean drew
him back to the Caribbean for new adventures.
By the age of 18, Mishka’s lifestyle was a fascinating mixture
of the exotic and artistic. Improbably, he was chosen to
represent Bermuda in both the 1991 and 1992 windsurfing world
championships. “I could windsurf good, but I didn’t really know
about racing tactics” he admits. He nevertheless managed to hold
his own at world level. Meanwhile, he continued to write songs
and record rough tapes, while steering clear of the music biz.
“I didn’t want to make a record,” he stresses. “Everyone was
saying, ‘You can’t just play it for yourself,’ where, as far as
I am concerned, I can.”
|In January 1998,
Alan McGee was celebrating his wedding when he met Mishka in the
Caribbean. Not for the first time, McGee realized that he was
hearing something special. Later, Heather Nova, Mishka’s sister,
played the Creation boss an old tape of “Give You All the Love”
and everyone present was floored. Re-recorded, it sounds like
the work of a young Sam Cook, mixed with shades of Bob Marley
and that indefinable something that heralds a great pop record.
Attempting to analyze that X factor only adds to the mystery. As
Mishka reminds us: “People always check out your influences, but
you don’t really know what your influences are. It might be a
bird singing while you’re walking down the street or a breeze
going past you. That could be what stuff makes you want to write
a song. Life is bigger than just records and stuff.”
-Interview by Johnny Rogan
Fast-forward to 2004, CornerstoneRAS is introduced to Mishka’s
music through his manager, a long-time acquaintance of the
label. The passion and sincerity in his voice was so evident
that the decision to put out his next record was unanimous and
practically instantaneous. With great success in Europe from a
Top 10 single (“Give You All the Love”) and a growing fan-base
worldwide from his Creation/Sony release, it seemed that a U.S.
release was long overdue. Mishka’s new album, “One Tree”, hits
stores nationwide on April 19th, 2005.
What began as the backbone of Skunk Records in 1994 has evolved
in what is known today as Cornerstone Recording Arts Society, or
Cornerstone R.A.S., which started as the marketing arm for
Sublime and Skunk Records.
Dedication and love for eclectic and organic music keeps
Cornerstone R.A.S. hard at work, always giving the most to the
bands that they have lent their support to. The mission
statement of this company can be summarized with just one word,
New album "One Tree" in stores now!