Inspiring through the power of Wine & Music.  Pairing wine + music + artists’ stories.

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Donna Missal

Donna Missal is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter currently touring the country with CHVRCHES. We had the privilege of interviewing Donna on December 13th, 2021 on the way to her two nights of gigs in San Diego at the North Park Observatory.

Photo: Courtesy of Donna Missal



1.  Musicians have been through a lot during the pandemic, and you must be stoked to be on tour. What’s something you’ve missed about the road that most people wouldn’t expect?

The recording process is quite isolating, and releasing music now can be a bit of an underwhelming experience in terms of feeling the connectedness to your fan base, or the discovery process that’s happening as you’re releasing music. You don’t really get tangible, firsthand accounts of that. The coolest thing about touring is going and experiencing what it’s like to share your music with people in a firsthand way, whether it’s watching someone have an experience with the song in real time, or hearing a song they’ve had an experience with. Without it, you forget what it’s like to connect with people in that way. It’s been a really great, long awaited reminder of those tangible connections to someone.

2.  Has there been something you’ve had to let go of in order to grow as an artist? A fear? Or a comfort?

In my experience through quarantine, I was living with other people. I think part of my expression has always been making myself as big as possible. My instrument is inside my body, and I’ve always used it loudly, filling the space as much as I can with my vocal presence. The environment has always been a stage or the studio, an environment which really calls for utilizing my voice in a big way. I had to really redefine what using my instrument meant to me, and find different ways to use it in this new environment of being surrounded by other people, and having boundaries of respect for those who are just on the other side of the wall trying to do what they have to do in the circumstances we were all given. So, I definitely learned how to use my instrument in a different way, and fill up a much smaller space with myself. What did that mean to me? What did that mean to my music-making process. I kind of had to let go of everything I knew about singing, and re-learn this new way of using an instrument with intimacy and intent for smallness to fit this different-sized space I was in.

3.  When you were a kid, did you see any of your favorite artists perform at the venues you’re playing on this tour?

I played Terminal 5. I just remember any shows there, being from New Jersey. It’s kind of an iconic New York venue. I’ve always hoped to play there myself, so that was really cool. We were in Boulder, CO a few days ago, and I go to play at the Boulder Theater, which was really awesome for me. I had seen Morrissey there. It’s just cool to see venues functioning again. I’m really happy to see that so many have had a chance to reopen, while so many others have closed. The live music scene is so integral to community in general, so it’s so nice to be in any venues at all.

4. REVOLT is all about rejecting traditions, the norm, and negativity. What kinds of things does your music push back against?

I think women have a really interesting set of societal standards that are stacked up against us at all times, no matter what you do with life. Music is certainly no exception. It’s an extremely misogynistic, sexist arena to be living in, and trying to make your living in, and trying to break through. I think my music has always just been an extension of myself. It’s always been really important to me as a person to grow beyond these societal bounds, and help be a part of that conversation and a part of the way forward for all women to just have more autonomy and presence, and a seat at the table. My music is just kind of an extension of that ideology.

5. What did you forget at home when you left for tour?

An extra phone charger. You always need two. You’re gonna lose one or you’re gonna leave it in the van when you need it in the venue. Just bring two fucking phone chargers.

6. What’s something you want on your rider but can’t have?

Well, ironically enough, I don’t drink on tour. I stopped drinking for a long time, and when I did come back it was strictly wine, so I’m glad to be speaking to you. I’d like to have a nice glass of wine after a show, but I can’t because of my voice. There are things I do on the road for my own process and my sanity, and to feel like I’m on top of my shit. If I were to miss one of those things, I feel like I would just psychosomatically do something wrong on stage, so I just do not drink at all during tour. But it would be really lovely to have a nice bottle of wine as part of my rider, but the voice says otherwise.

7. Favorite gas station snack?

I’m always looking for dried fruit. I really like dried mango. Surprisingly, 7-Eleven has really great, cheap dried mango, so I’m always trying to pick that up. We like to find the weirdest chip in the store sometimes, like what’s the weirdest flavor? And go with that. It depends on whether I’m trying to keep it healthy or not. Sometimes you’ll find like… ketchup. They’re actually great.

8. What advice do you have for people just getting started on their musical journeys?

I would say now is the time to build an independent business, and to remain independent for as long as possible. Build your own portfolio and your own public presence using the tools that are at your disposal and available to all of us. Build your business and your brand that way. Keep all of your rights to everything. There are less and less, and fewer ways to make a living doing this. I’d say the most sound advice beyond something metaphysical and emotional would be like, just remaining in control of your business for as long as you can, and use the resources available at your fingertips.

9. What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get home from tour?

Drink wine. I have this joke with my tour party that I’m going to get each of us a bottle of wine for our rider for the last show, and we’re gonna get straws and just drink them with straws. And I’m gonna see people. I want to see friends. Touring within the world of Covid means not being able to see people. You can’t interact with fans. It’s super restrictive if you want to be able to make it all the way through your tour without getting sick, so I have a lot of respect for the precautions and the restrictions being put in place so we’re able to do this. But it certainly means restrictions around everything, so I’m really excited to just be with people again.


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