Mia Vermillion is gaining recognition for her work in composition and songwriting. Mia was recently showcased at the Crossroads Bellevue Market Stage, which was hosted in association with Puget Sound Productions. This is part of their commitment to bring gifted musicians to the attention of Northwest audiences. Mia’s music connects her spirited perception and unique tempos to human relationship and emotion. "My songs come from what I know: the inner and outer workings of relationship, the joy of music and life, and getting a huge satisfaction out of providing feminine value and perspective in it."
With a luminous, full-bodied voice and a cash of songs, which speak directly and powerfully about the human experince, Mia creates memorable performances and music as a singer-songwriter. She is currently working on finishing a debut album of her original music scheduled for release in June of this year, titled "Validity." Mia performs vocals on the album, and wrote the music and lyrics for 9 of the album's 11 songs. She is joined by gifted musicians including producer, arranger, and pianist Tom Kellock; recording engineer Garey Shelton; Mark Ivester on drums and percussion; and Orville Johnson on acoustic guitar, dobro, and slide guitar.
Tom Kellock, who is co-producing Mia's album, has recorded and composed extensively for film and television. Tom performed on the Grammy award-winning 2003 Best New Age album, Tingstad & Rumbel's "Acoustic Garden." Tom had this to say about Mia’s debut album: "I'm totally jazzed about what we have here... The songs [on Mia's album] have "validity!" Oodles of it! We're all going to be very proud and happy with the final result."
After hearing Mia sing and watching the magic between Mia and Orville Johnson in the studio, Seattle recording engineer Garey Shelton is now collaborating on Mia's second album. Garey, is the bassist on Eric Tingstad's solo album "Southwest", which is a 2007 Grammy nominee for Best New Age Album of the Year. On this second album, Mia is working primarily with premier slide guitarist Orville, featuring Mia's original blues compositions, as well as resurrected blues songs from the 20's and 30's. Orville Johnson has appeared on Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion, Jay Leno's Tonight Show, and was featured in the 1997 film "Georgia" with Mare Winningham. He has released seven albums and has been featured in multiple television and movie soundtracks.
As a native of Washington State, Mia primarily grew up in Olympia and was heavily influenced during her younger years by female artists from the Northwest such as Riki Lee Jones, and Ann and Nancy Wilson of "Heart." Mia counts Joan Armatrading, Bonnie Raitt, and Aretha Franklin as other female musicians who shaped her voice and music. Mia's influences are not just from modern day concepts of mainstream female artists, however. While growing up, she found herself drawn to the complicated, sophisticated and earthy sounds of blues and jazz, and the women in it. She studied and listened to the music of Lil Green, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan as well as others. Mia states, " The jazz and blues women of the 20’s, 30's and 40's, are role models for me in my songwriting. As a kid, I stumbled upon these women in songbooks. I didn't know it then, but I found a kind of kindred spirit in them. Mary Lou Williams, Ma Rainy, Bessie Smith and others had such a strong point of view down on paper that I could appreciate it. I wasn't seeing anything like that anywhere else at the time. So, I bought the books and started listening to what they had to say and how they said it."
From a very young age, the clarity and expression of Mia's voice captured audiences wherever she sang. Mia performed with local musicians as a youngster and wrote her first song in her late teens. Mia learned to play the cello at a young age, eventually leading her to a love affair with the guitar.
As a young woman, Mia studied songwriting, theater and vocal performance on the west coast. She ended up at the University of Idaho in the 80's, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance. Mia performed extensively in musical theater. She received a prestigious FORSCOM "Excellence of Performance" national award as the leading musical actress portraying Aldonza in "Man of La Mancha in 1989."
During the 90's Mia started Vermillion Music Studio, a company that produced music commercial music beds for radio, TV, and other business needs. Mia wrote, performed and produced the music beds created for the company's clients, which included Comcast, Toyota dealerships, and several web development companies, to name a few. In the late 90's and into the first part of 2000’s Mia began performing again on occasion, both as a solo act and with other musicians.
In 1998, Mia was invited to travel to Beijing, China as part of a cultural exchange event with the Beijing Foreign Studies University. Mia spent two weeks performing in Beijing with a variety of musicians from around the globe. The trip was highlighted with a concert at the University's performing arts auditorium. As of the last two years Mia has been performing regularly and intends to keep it that way. She has shared billing and/or performed with notable Seattle artists such as Geoffrey Castle of The Guarneri Underground, Michael Powers, Jr. Cadillac, Greta Matassa, and Jon Belcher of JB & The Savoy Swing. Mia has performed at noteworthy venues and festivals, including the Olympia Performing Arts Center, St. Martins College, Skagit Valley College, University of Idaho, Montana State University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, The US Armed Forces FORSCOM Festival, The Olympia Food and Wine Festival, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and the Jazz Walk for the 2006 Anacortes Jazz Festival.
John Archibald, a venue owner, sums it up perfectly. He says "they hear this voice and they've got to come in and see where that's coming from. She's got an amazing voice."
What a gift you have! There is wonderful musicianship evident in your song and your voice is inspiring to all female singer/songwriters who aim to capture a soulful performance in material form. Thank you.
review written by: Jennifer Trijo
Mia is a brilliant singer and song writer. I especially love her because she brings Validity to women through the endless decades who have struggled for self identity. Her spiritual energy & ability to express herself through verse and her incredable voice is an exquisite combination. I am excited and can hardly wait for her album to be released.
review written by: Jean Johansen
I have had the GREAT pleasure of hearing Mia live..Her voice is one of a kind. This song showcases her sultry sound and the "40's"infuence. A very refreshing sound in this"cookie cutter"age of music!!
review written by: Ross Rutledge
I am a fan of Mia, I love her voice and what she can do with it and her lyrics tell great stories that I can identify with in my own life. Thank you for putting yourself out there, I appreciate it.
review written by: Judith Light
I just ran across this site. A friend had told me about it. Wow, I listened to this song and was taken by it. I love the styling, and the strength in the words. I had to post a comment... Nice.
review written by: Molly Featherstone