Contact Me!

It’s Mia here! I have been so amazed by the outpouring of kind words on my blog. I seriously read through all the comments for like 2 hours on my bed. You all are so great! Like previously posted, I am a singer/songwriter and that is my number one passion. I love singing. Aside from that I absolutely love meeting new people. I hadn’t felt the need to post about this until now but you all make me so excited! I really want to get to know you more and answer any questions that you may have. At the top of my website there is a tab that says Contact Mia! Please head over and send me a message even just to say hi. My band and I also love the opportunities to go to your home churches and play some music so feel free to request me for that. Also, if you are a songwriter like me or would like to learn how to do this, I would love to collaborate or give lessons. Very last thing for now, I have many social media sites and communicate with a lot of my fans through those so go find me :)

blog contact

Facebook: miasunshineofficial

Twitter: @miacsunshine

Instagram: miasunshineofficial

YouTube: Mia Sunshine Official

Staying Persistent

musician:studentGrowing up, I always have been known to be the shy girl who fades in the back. Once you get to know me I am very outgoing and energetic; it just takes times. Being a musician has taught me that persistence is key and necessary. Music has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I soon realized that writing music was great but if others weren’t hearing it, what was the reason for it. This made me change my mindset and put in the action needed to make my music spread. Persistence made me determined and not care if anyone thought anything strange of me. It all started when I first got to college. I had been writing music for awhile and I was annoyed that nothing was happening with it. I prayed asking God why nothing was happening with this passion He put in my heart. All I could hear Him saying was to take action. It hit me. God calls me to take action and He will do the rest. I started contacting every record label and producer I could find. It seemed like I was calling the whole world. Every response I got just knocked me down. Either they were too expensive or they wouldn’t take unsigned artists. I felt like it was hopeless. That moment taught me persistence. I started reaching beyond the calls and met up with the musicians that I knew. I was recommended one producer from a friend so I called him up and poured out my heart. For once, I found hope for my music. My producer, Billy Smiley, was ecstatic of working with me and all the details fell in place. After this one experience in my life, I started to become persistent in all areas of my life. I go after what I want. Recently, I really wanted to become involved with the marketing department at a recording studio so I searched one out. I continued to visit them until they saw that I would be an asset to the studio. I got the position and I kept working to get farther. The biggest lesson I learned is that God calls us to take action in all areas of our life. He will open and close doors to direct us in His way, but we have to keep pushing forward.

Song Breakdown: “You’re Not Alone”

I absolutely love performing this song for people because it seems to resonate the most with everyone. Whether you are the strongest of faith or feeling a bit weak, this song is a reminder of why we go through life. When watching the news, my heart breaks from all the tragedy. The world is literally broken and only Christ can hold it together. As I walk through hardships, I easily get caught in my own ways. I struggle with feeling that no one understands and no one cares. In Jr. High, I was this dorky 4-eyed acne girl who no one really wanted to be associated with. I clearly remember one of the popular guys being assigned to sit next to me and his comment was that he would prefer to sit next to anyone else but me. I didn’t understand how people could be this cruel. I was only 11 years old. I was blessed with an incredible family to love and support me, but I felt like school was a prison. I came home running to my room in tears because I felt so alone. My mom would come and comfort me and remind me that it does not matter what others think of me. The only opinion that mattered was what God thinks of me. While I know this to be true, I couldn’t help but feel hurt. Every time I tried to put these thoughts out of my head they just flooded back in. As I grew up and matured, I found myself in Christ. I realized that only God could understand what I was going through. Only God could help me feel surrounded by love. So many times we try to take life in our own hands, but this whole life is about honoring Christ. The Lord has put a plan in place for our life and we need to give our doubts, hurts, and worries to Him. This song is a constant reminder that God is always by our side. He will always be our guide and help us find our way. I hope and pray that this song will be that reminder to you and that you will find love through Christ.

My Life as a Musician and Student

student:musicianPeople always wonder how it is possible to balance life when being a musician and going to school. Not going to lie, my senior year of high school I considered the idea of not going to college. I can now look back and say that I would not be who I am if I didn’t attend Grand Canyon University. As a college student, there are many responsibilities one must attend to. Of course you must go to class and then you have to complete your homework and you should consider going to the gym so you don’t gain that Freshman 15. I added student leadership on top of all of that. My first glance at life was that I would never fit music in. God began to open up my eyes and teach me the moments to use my music. During the school week my routine is constant. It consists of class, homework, gym, leadership, and work. The weekends are even more fun because that is when I get to work on my music. My whole weekend is spent at church leading worship or in my room jamming out. My life is extremely busy, but waking up to quiet time with God I know I am unstoppable. When you are a musician going to college, you find time for music. The biggest lesson I have learned is that being in college has been the best decision for me as a musician. I have so many supporters just because we attend the same school. Whenever I have a concert/gig, I know my leadership team will be front and center. I think back to the amount of people that knew about my music before college, and now the amount is overwhelmingly higher. I cannot even begin to describe the support Grand Canyon University has been in my life as a musician. I would not have had the opportunity to perform at Creation Fest if it wasn’t for them. They encourage me to reach for my dreams and, yes, find my purpose. Don’t let the opportunity of a lifetime support slip through your hands. I could not be more grateful for my time as a student and musician.

My Journey to Creation Fest

Mia Sunshine- fringe stageI never really talk about my performances so I want to recap on this amazing experience. My producer told me one day last year that I needed to start sending my music in for different performance opportunities. I was really busy so I didn’t do much research, but I started sending my music in to places. I didn’t give this much thought afterwards. One day during the summer I received a call asking if I would perform at Creation Fest in Washington. My jaw dropped. I didn’t even remember contacting this festival. I accepted the position and then realized I didn’t have a band. This was a problem. I told my sister she was playing keyboard and background vocals so that was the only set band I had in place. I started contacting person after person, and unfortunately most were all busy and couldn’t join. Day by day passed and I was getting worried because I had no band. My worry turned into begging God for a miracle a couple weeks before the drive to Creation Fest. My best friend that I have grown up with since pre-school was my merchandise manager and she told me she knew someone but he was currently in Nicaragua. She got him to confirm that he would play guitar for Mia Sunshine and travel to Washington with us. I posted on Facebook that I needed a drummer and a family friend said she knew someone and she would send her my way. I now had a drummer and a guitarist who I had never met. We all planned to meet in the same city 2 days before the drive to Creation Fest and rehearse a little. All I can say is, God is good! I literally met Kenny and Lauren a day before we were to be in a car for 14 hours together!! We spent one full day from 8 am until 11 pm rehearsing music. I can’t even begin to explain how crazy this was. I am used to rehearsing with a band for months in advance, but God had a plan and He crafted it just the way it was meant to be. I am beyond grateful for my incredible band members and managers.

Life Leading Worship

IMG_2419sI have grown up my entire life helping lead worship in some sort of way. I remember in Jr. High always having to get to school by 7 am so that we could rehearse for chapel. I do not remember a time in my life when I haven’t been a part of a worship team. I contemplated the idea of going to college to be a worship leader. I had been leading in my home church for quite some time and one Sunday morning my mindset got flipped upside down. I was singing and trying to get the congregation to worship God, but as I looked to the audience, all I saw were people on their phones or talking to their neighbors. I soon realized how angry this made me. Do these people not understand what worship is? That was the problem. I was struck with these feelings of irritation and missed the opportunity to help lead others and teach others of what worship is. I learned this myself when I began to help lead worship at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Arizona. I was in awe of the way the congregation worshiped God at CCV. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. When asking the leaders why this was, I learned it was because they worked so hard in making sure every aspect led people into a time of worship. There is a ton of controversy on worship because people believe it should just happen and doesn’t really need to be put together. While I do know the Spirit leads, I believe we are failing by not thinking through the details of creating a worship environment. As a worship leader, I fail by not giving my best and by not finding the best to share their talent in this. God created each of us with different talents. It is unfair of me to take the child-loving servant and tell them to play piano. As a worship leader, I strive to create a worship environment of excellence so that when it comes to service, everyone has the complete opportunity to worship in music.

Why I Choose to Write about God AND Relationships

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Growing up, my whole life has been surrounded by listening to K-love and Air1. I absolutely love these radio stations. They contributed to my love of music for sure. I knew that I was going to be like the artists you hear on there. During my growing up years, my heart was changed to the idea of writing and singing multiple genres. When my relatives and friends found out, they basically told me it wasn’t right to do both. I struggled deeply with this. I felt God put a calling on my heart to not just write songs, but to write my feelings. As a musician, I have multiple inspirations that come from the Christian music industry and I always saw them as perfect. Now I know that only God is perfect, but the musicians always sang about the same thing and I thought to myself, “I will never be like them or as talented as them because they don’t have the same struggles I do.” Yes, this is bad thinking but it brought me to crying at God’s feet. I feel like God wants to use me to show the world that everyone goes through human struggles but God can heal us. I am not a musician that has my life figured out; I go through a lot. I am a young woman and I have experienced heartbreak just like the rest. I have experienced temptations like each one of you. I have made mistakes. The incredible thing is that God forgives me and loves me and He continues to bless me when I don’t deserve it. I don’t want to appear like I have my life put together and figured out, because I do not at all. I am opening my heart up so much to everyone that I am allowing you to see the hurt, pain, joy, and triumph. It is difficult because now I am confessing to you all of these embarrassing moments in my life, but I truly believe that someone will listen to my songs and be lead to God calling out to them. I have been amazed to see the support I get from all my fans and I am so grateful for your open and loving heart for me.

Interview Spotlight: Guitarist Kenny Tack

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When did you start playing guitar?

“I started playing about 6 years ago.”

 

What is your favorite thing about playing the guitar?

“The freeing feeling that it gives is amazing, but honestly it’s the doors playing guitar opens as far as friendships go that I love the most. In fact, I wouldn’t have most of my best friends if I didn’t pick up guitar.”

 

What is one memorable thing you remember most from being a musician?

“Gosh, one of my favorite memories is the very first time I played the electric on stage to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey for Relay for Life with a whole bunch of my friends. It was just an amazingly fun experience.”

 

Who is your biggest inspiration for your music?

“Gosh, it really depends on what you mean. As far as just playing goes, Ben Kasica is my all time favorite, but if you’re asking who I look up to and try to model the most as a person I would say Tim Rosenau or Timmy Rose of TobyMac. The guy has had such an impact on my life.”

 

What are your aspirations for the future as a musician?

“Great question, honestly I just want to be able to do it full time in what ever way the Lord tells me to!”

Song Breakdown: “Eyes Wide Open”

IMG_2577sI am so excited to tell you all about how this song came about. “Eyes Wide Open” was literally something that God created in seconds. One of the biggest struggles in my life, and I know it is for many, is fear. I say that I know in my heart God is in control and He is the protector, but then I let thoughts of fear rush in my head. I worry when there is a storm. I worry if I am going to fail a test. I worry about my future. I worry about death. These things terrify me and for most of my life I let it control me. Many times I would go into my room and cry because I was unknowing and assumed that tragedy was going to occur. Everyone around me and in my life thought I was one of the strongest followers of Christ, but yet I lacked so much faith. It is one thing to say I know God is going to protect me, but when time starts ticking away, I let my mind be consumed by the world and not of God. Psalm 4:3 shook me up and has forever changed my life. The verse says, “ I will lie down and rest in peace for you alone oh Lord make me dwell in safety.” When I read this I cannot even explain the feeling that came over me. I learned that day that peace is all I need to remember because God is on the front line fighting my battle. I was afraid of a storm, yet God calms the storms with His hands. I was afraid of my unknown future, yet God proclaims He knows our prosperous plans. I was afraid of death, yet God sent His Son to die in my place. All of this was evidence of the power and protection of my great God. I was headed to Nashville to record my album a day after I wrote this song so it wasn’t planned to be on the album. I got there and I loved recording my other songs, but I told my producer we had to do this song. The lyrics you listen to in this song come from my heart. This song tells a story about my life more than any others do. As you listen to “Eyes Wide Open” I hope that it will not only show you who I am, but that it will inspire you to lie in peace.

Java Jam

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Java Jam is essentially a talent show held at Grand Canyon University where the students participate in showcasing their special talent. Mia Sunshine was invited to perform at the GCU Java Jam on February 25, 2015. Mia chose to perform two brand new songs for the audience. The first song was called “Distant Memories”. We did a breakdown on what this song means in a previous post so go read about it there. The other song is called “All I Need”. Mia and her guitarist, Kenny Tack, co-wrote this beautiful song and performed it as a duet. The crowd had an incredible response and the band got a chance to talk to a lot of the students. If you want to listen to this great performance by Mia Sunshine, watch the video on Mia’s YouTube.

Interview Spotlight: Mia Sunshine- The Beginning

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When did you start singing?

At age 6. I was a pro at Mary Had a Little Lamb.

 

Why did you start singing?

I started singing because I had such a passion for it. I learned very quickly that I hold all my emotions in and singing was the only way that allowed me to release those feelings.

 

Is your family musical?

I believe my parents have hidden talents that they don’t want to share. My sister is incredibly talented and musical. She sings and did the harmonies on my album. She also plays piano better than me, plays the guitar, and is quite the glockenspiel player.

 

What instruments do you play?

I play piano, glockenspiel, violin, the recorder like every other elementary student, and I aspire to play more than 4 chords on the guitar.

 

Do you get nervous before performances?

This is a great question. I used to get extremely nervous when I was young. I think I have been performing long enough and been making multiple mistakes that I have gotten over it. The worst that can happen is you make a mistake, you learn, and move past it. Keeping this in my head has helped me to get rid of those nerves and just go out and have a good time worshiping and sharing my story.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

NEVER GIVE UP. If God has laid it on you heart to do music, then He is going to use you in this. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not realistic or you’re not good enough. Keep putting in the effort. God will bless your hard work.

My Creative Team

This is my awesome creative team! Each member is a vital part of my team, and I am so grateful for their help that I want to share them with you all!

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Name: Mia Contreras

Major: Business Marketing

Where I Live: California

Favorite Food: Mexican!!!

Favorite Artist/Band: Britt Nicole

Hobbies: Songwriting, Softball, Traveling. In my spare time, I like to learn weird instruments like the glockenspiel.

Nacho

Name: Ignacio (Nacho) Andrade

Major: Business Management

Where I Live: Arizona

Favorite Food: Bacon and Pizza!

Favorite Artist/Band: Dirty Loops

Hobbies: I am a music enthusiast. This has slowly become a big part of my life as I’ve dedicated almost half my life devoted to getting better and performing. As the music director and keyboardist of my church, I’ve realized that God gave me a special gift that I love!

Kaitlyn

Name: Kaitlyn Vogel

Major: Business Marketing

Where I Live: Arizona

Favorite Food: Pizza

Favorite Artist/Band: Boyce Avenue

Hobbies: Photography, Playing Guitar

John

Name: John Mansoor

Major: Marketing & Psychology

Where I Live: Arizona

Favorite Food: Italian!

Favorite Artist/Band: Coldplay

Hobbies: Reading & Playing Piano

Lexington

Name: Lexington Fehrenbacher

Major: Business Marketing

Where I Live: Arizona

Favorite Food: Tacos

Favorite Artist/Band: The 1975, Shakey Graves, Colony House

Hobbies: Play the Harmonica

Mexico Mission Trip

Mia MexicoI got the incredible opportunity to go on a mission’s trip to Mazatlan, Mexico. My expectations were completely different than what I experienced, but it was one of the greatest opportunities I have ever had. I went through the organization called Back 2 Back Ministries and saying they are incredible is an understatement. During my time in Mexico, I got to work with 3 different children’s homes. One was Salvation Army, one was Fleureser, and the other was Rancho de los Niños. I want to focus on Rancho de los Niños for this blog. This children’s home is for special needs kids. I want to be completely open and honest with everyone who is reading. I have never really known anyone who is special needs and I love everyone the same, but going into this I had no idea how to act. I was afraid that I would act wrong and a child would get mad at me. I was scared. As we were driving to this children’s home all I could do was pray. I prayed that God would help me react correctly and love the children the way I would with any other child. As I stepped out of the van, I was shocked at the dump these kids live in. There was dirt and huge weeds everywhere you walked. The walls in the house were not painted, and the sheetrock was chipping. The director began to explain to us that Back 2 Back asked the house what their needs were and the only thing they wanted was for a small area with chairs so the special needs kids could tell the neighbor kids about Christ. Wow! Even now this statement gets me. These kids don’t have a nice home, don’t have parents, and have a special need, yet all they are concerned about is the broken and lost. I finally got to meet the children of the special needs home and I fell in love. I have never met anyone filled with more joy than these kids. I spent the whole day playing soccer with these kids and I had so much fun. I was given a new perspective that day. Often times our daily routine is filled with excuses that we can’t afford to help others or we don’t have time to help others. I give these excuses constantly, but these children reminded me that life is about honoring God and sharing His love to the world. I may not have time to watch the new episode of “Castle”, but if I give this up to be a part of changing a life, I can be filled with as much joy as those kids of Rancho de los Niños.

Song Breakdown: “This Moment is Forever”

I am so excited to talk about this song because it has a pretty funny story behind it. The very first day I met with my producer, Billy Smiley, he told me to bring all the music I had been working on. I had this song I was working on that talked about being in a relationship built off of a godly foundation. I thought it was “rock solid”. (I hope you got that joke lol) Anyway, we started working on it, and with any songwriting session, you must constantly change lyrics to fit. It’s like a puzzle! I happened to mention something about lifting a candle up and suddenly my producer was determined that we had to make this a wedding song. I must remind you that I was 18 years old and knew nothing about a wedding besides the ones I attended. I tried to convince my producer that no one was going to want to hear a wedding song from a young girl. How was this relatable? I decided to push past my reservations and put my whole heart into it. I absolutely love the result of this song! I love getting to see the impact it makes at weddings and the excitement that builds up to it. Marriage is a gift from God and it is something to be treasured. I hope that anyone in this season now or whenever you are to this point in your life, that you will cherish the moments and realize that they will last forever in your heart.

JoshuaFest Announcement

Mia Sunshine is very excited to announce that JoshuaFest has asked her band to join them in September. JoshuaFest is a Christian 3-day concert featuring many well-known artists. Thousand Foot Krutch, Family Force 5, For King and County, and Tenth Avenue North are just a few artists that the band is personally excited to see. There are a variety of music genres available and the excitement is going to be through the roof. Mia and the band has a 30-minute time slot and will be performing on the same stage as some awesome other musical acts. It is confirmed that Mia will be performing 6 songs with a full band, but we are unsure what songs she chose. You will just have to go to find out! This 3-day festival is taking place in Quincy, California on September 4-6, 2015. You can find more information about JoshuaFest at www.joshuafest.com. Tickets are being sold online and the sooner you purchase, the cheaper they are. Use Mia’s discount code MiaSunshineJF15. So excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to see you all there!

Mia’s Spotify Picks

Wondering what to listen to on your Saturday morning? Well I have chosen several songs that have inspired me as an artist and you can listen to my playlist on Spotify now! As an independent artist, I am amazed and excited about how much music really can impact someone’s life. These songs that I have chosen for my playlist “Mia Sunshine Picks” range from God’s love and mercy to country feel-good music to, of course, relationships. If you listen to my album called “Eyes Wide Open”, you will learn that this encompasses a lot of who I am as an artist. I think it is important to be relatable to everyone and that means sharing my personal life with you all. Britt Nicole has been the most inspirational artist in my life and the first song on my playlist is called “Sunshine Girl”. I am Mia Sunshine because I strive to be a sunshine girl in this dark world. Jamie Grace is a more recent inspiration and I love how personal she is. I think everyone can relate to “Just a Friend”. Carrie Underwood always amazes me because that woman is talent. Her vocal range is incredible and she isn’t afraid to share her love of God in the world. Alex and Sierra have mastered harmonies and I think we can all learn from them or just enjoy their awesome skills. I could go on and on about music but I will just let you take a listen! Hope you enjoy this little playlist I put together!

New Song: “Distant Memories”

So excited to announce a new song written by Mia. While this song hasn’t been officially recorded, it is copyrighted to Mia Sunshine. The song is called “Distant Memories”. Here is the back story of this newly written song. I love listening to my friends’ lives and taking struggles and exciting things that they go through to create something relatable to all. This song talks about a girl finding what she thought was love. This girl and guy met one summer and things just felt right. They both lived on opposite sides of the United States. As soon as they were back in their state, the guy did not respond to the girl and she was heartbroken, feeling like she gave her whole heart to a guy who was just playing on her emotions. This song talks about how this girl realizes that he is not the guy for her but it doesn’t change how she feels. All she can do is remember everything they had together. Later on in the song it talks about how the girl is still holding on to the possibility of being with this guy one day. It’s too hard to say goodbye. My advice to my friend and all of you who have gone through this is be patient and wait on the Lord. Our hearts can be filled with what we think is right and suppose to happen in our life, but Jeremiah 29:11 states that God knows the plans for our life and they are greater than what we could ever make or imagine. While it may be hard waiting for that right guy, try to push out what you think is right so you don’t miss out on God’s great plan. That is the story of this song and I really hope you enjoy it. I would love to hear your thoughts on this song and my band and I are super excited about getting in the studio to record it!

How to Book Shows

Ever wonder what the trick is to getting booked for shows? Believe me, it is not easy! Every new, up and comer wants to learn how they can secure venues so they can begin getting their music out. Well, here are a few suggestions in learning how to find gigs and get booked. First, search Reverbnation and learn about the different venues in the area. Find out which venues will best suit your style of music. Never shoot down an option because you think it is not big enough. Accept every opportunity you can. This will build up your portfolio and more venues will be willing to book you.

Next, make the effort. Do not expect that opportunities will fall into your lap. If they do that’s great, but it is important to search out venues and make connections. Rather than shooting an email to a venue, actually go in to meet with the manager and give them a demo of your music. This will get the manager connected with you and they will remember you before any of the others who just simply sent an email.

Lastly, stay persistent. I cannot count how many times people say they have sent an email to a venue and haven’t heard anything back from them. Continue coming up with new music and a bigger portfolio and keep going back to the venue and showing them what you can do. Booking shows seem like such a headache, but if you go through the right steps, you will start seeing a broad array of locations just waiting to have someone like you perform for their audience.

Mia Sunshine: Photo Shoot Ideas

Photo Shoot Ideas

Mia Sunshine has an amazing opportunity to have a professional photo shoot done with her band. Mia Sunshine will begin to make some marketing tools such as posters and ads and is in need of some artistic photographs. We would love to get feedback from all of you on what you think would be some awesome, eye-catching photos. We have started a board on Pinterest called “Mia Sunshine: Photo Shoot Ideas” and we would love to have you add on to it and give us some ideas. If you are interested, please head over to Mia’s Pinterest board and start pinning some photos. You can also contact us on our website to share any ideas you may have. We appreciate your support and can’t wait to share the upcoming photo shoot with you all!

Stage Presence

Musicians are always trying to find new ways to make their name and music stick in a person’s head. Often times, music artists think that the only thing that matters, when making a name for yourself, is pushing out song after song after song. When talking to teenagers and young adults, it turns out that they just want to feel connected with a musician. This is why, I believe, stage presence is so important. It is easy to go out on stage and sing your set list straight through, but how can people truly see who you are and connect with you?

The first important thing about stage presence is to have fun! People go to concerts and shows to have an enjoyable time, but they want to see that you are having a blast as well. If you stand in the same spot the whole time with no interaction, people will remember you as boring and rude. But if you jump around and give people high-fives, they are going to love you forever.

The next important thing about stage presence is to share your story. When you signed up to perform music, you may not have thought that it would include sharing your heart, but your passionate stories always leave a lasting impression. If you are the songwriter, share the reason why you wrote that song. Let people see that you are just a normal person and experience heartache and joy just like them. If you are not the songwriter, just explain why the song is so meaningful to you. Don’t be surprised when emails start pouring in telling you how touched and changed they were by your story.