Mia Giovina Sundstrom finished writing her song “Sirens” last December.
Though the local musician had written others, this will be her first title to debut publicly. Mia Giovina spent the majority of quarantine struggling to write a song that captures the feeling of being trapped and being stuck when you want to be moving.
“Sirens” does just that.
“When I switched my mindset from ‘I hate my hometown and need to get out’ to ‘I love my hometown but I can’t grow if I stay here,’ that’s when I wrote ‘Sirens,’ and that’s when it all started to click,” Mia Giovina explained. “I actually really like it here, and I really appreciate the person Jersey has made me, but I need to know who I could be outside of Jersey.”
Though she is currently best known online for covers where she rewrites popular songs from a different perspective, Mia Giovina hopes to someday be known for her original work as well. Her YouTube channel, Mia Giovina, has more than 11,000 subscribers, and her TikTok channel, badgirlmiimii, has more than 144,000 followers.
Mia Giovina has been surrounded by music her whole life. Her parents write songs together, and her older brothers were involved with theater growing up, inspiring their sister to audition in local productions, too. When Mia Giovina was 10, she played her first role in Eastern Regional High School’s musical, “The King and I,” and fell in love with performance. She credits Voorhees Middle School Vocal Director Gabrielle Horvitz for bringing her out of her shell, and teaching her how to use her voice
When she was a freshman at Eastern, Mia Giovina did live gigs at Coffee Works on Haddonfield Berlin Road in Voorhees. She performed weekly, singing covers of songs with her dad accompanying her until the coffee shop closed down in 2017.
Following high school, Mia Giovina decided not to go to college and chose to pursue a career in music instead. Though she had the option of going to school for music, she decided that gaining experience and focusing on her career were more important to her right now. Mia Giovina spends every day honing her skills and her craft, and her parents have been her biggest supporters.
“If I were in school, I wouldn’t have so much time to completely focus on music,” she explained. “[During] what should have been my freshman year of college, I spent every weekend doing gigs at bars and restaurants, working with producers.”
Mia Giovina’s daily life consists of practicing guitar and piano, doing vocal warmups, singing, writing music and filming videos for her different social media platforms.
“It feels good to go from being background noise doing gigs to being the main focus,” she reflected. “I’m lucky to have the audience and supporters that I do.”
Mia Giovina’s top three musical influences are Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Lizzy McAlpine. Bridgers’ music specifically really changed her songwriting, because it showed her she didn’t have to write about things she hadn’t yet experienced, such as being in love, for people to relate to her music. When Mia Giovina started writing about the oddly specific small moments, that’s when her original music started to resonate.
“I want to be known for making people feel seen and understood,” she offered. “Those are my favorite messages (to receive), that my music made them feel less alone. So whether that’s a rewrite or original music or whatever, that’s what I really want to do.”
“Sirens” is set to be released on March 26 on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.
It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr-OvBrs-yA.