Photo Credit Anna Koblish

MIA GLADSTONE is here to remind you to take a well-needed breather from social media this weekend with her new single, “TALKING ONLINE” ft. Belis. Mia unpacks her experiences on social media with censorship, oversexualization, and wild DMs. As someone who’s received their fair share of out of pocket messages and community guideline warnings, I can totally relate! Aside from Mia showing us the trenches of her message requests, I love the fact that she can dabble in satire as a scamming life coach while getting her point across about the commodification of mental health. 

1. How would you describe this release?

“TALKING ONLINE is an honest expression of my experiences on the internet — feeling addicted to social media despite all of the toxicity infused in it. It’s a call to break the cycle of constantly checking your phone and pouring your energy into it, and exposing yourself to so many perspectives in such short spans of time. I’ve found that looking inward grounds me and teaches me more than seeking answers outside of myself. Addiction to social media clutters the mind with too many other people’s trains of thought. I feel that we should all disconnect, at least periodically, to strengthen our inner guiding voices.”

2. What inspired it? 

“Growing up, I felt uncomfortable with my body. I was hyper sexualized for having big boobs since middle school. I harbored a lot of shame and felt that concealing my body would make life easier. It led to unhealthy eating habits to try and be less curvy, wearing things that didn’t feel good, and constant anxiety. I had a shift a couple years back where I decided to start owning my body and wearing what I felt comfortable in, refusing to conceal it. This led to a lot of attention online and wildly inappropriate messages, as well as censorship flags from Instagram and TikTok — just for existing with big boobs. We decided to put all these notifications in the music video in order to own the experience with pride and forwardness. We wanted to keep it lighthearted with me as a pop up ad, Belis as this mystical being appearing from my ear, while also being honest about what it’s like being a female-presenting person online.”

3. Why is this release special?

“This release is special because the experimental nature of it pushed everyone involved to express in new and creative ways. When I started it in my basement, I had no particular intentions for the song. My brother showed me some chords he was working on, and I asked him if I could try to build a beat around them for fun. I created the intro section and it turned into a song. It lived as a demo for a couple years until I revisited it and got additional production on it from Michael Ferranti, producer of the band Kid Smoko, and a friend of mine from high school. I sent it to Belis & she experimented on it in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve been a big fan of hers since like 2019 — I love the way she flows, and is unconfined to a particular genre. I made the video with my good friend and one of the most creative directors I’ve seen, William Alan Harris. He’s been my creative partner through this era, and it’s pushed me to express myself visually in very freeing ways. The crew for the video was just us and shot entirely in my house — hair, makeup, and styling by me, video shot and edited by William. Belis’s part was shot remotely in LA by Alex Harris. So much energy was put into this project, and it feels really good to have it out in the world.”