'Heart' is the name of Mike Taveira New single, released earlier this year on Oct 17, 2019, and this song sure does pack a whole lot of it. One of the most notable achievements of Mike's first single is its commentary on love and loss within a refreshingly neutral space.
Mike, who identifies as pansexual, comments on the painful reality of heartbreak, regardless of the relationship and gender identities. He crafts an original point of view within a love anthem, one that is created from gender neutral thinking. This idea is refreshing, considering every love song, regardless of the singer's gender identity, forces listen to relate to one strong gender stereotypes and it often perpetuates toxic ideas of gender behaviour.
Mike Taveira, on the other-hand, said nope, fuck that, and wrote from a neutral space. The outcome is a beautifully honest exploration into heartache. This idea of neutral identity continues in to the music video of 'heart'. Where Mike is seen with his heart, literally, ripped out of his chest and battered around by various lovers of different gender identities and backgrounds.
My overall excitement and surprise for this video may be due to my proximity to the issue of LGBTQIA+ exposure, but I was ecstatic when I heard the song and saw the music video. THEY GOT IT RIGHT, I kept repeating, referencing a realistic and broad representation of connection to love and pain of loss. Something that is RARELY seen in modern media and should be celebrated.
We had to interview this wonderful blooming artist based in NYC and understand where his mindset was when creating his new single and learn how he would like pansexuality to be presented in media. Also, do your self a favour and watch the music video NOW, it needs more recognition.
N: First of all, can you give us a bit of background about yourself, where do you live, where did you grow up, and what project are you currently most excited about?
MT: I’m a Jersey boy and grew up in a town called Edison. I currently live in NYC and have been here going on 5 years now. I am excited about having released my first single into the world, and seeing everyone’s response. I’m also very excited about something that’s coming in January...
N: Can you give us insight into how you have built your career journey?
MT:Work, fail, work, succeed, repeat. Failure is something you grow from and ultimately helps you succeed.
N: Can you talk us through your inspiration for your new song, Heart, came from?
MT: 'Heart' was born from/out of a few heartbreaks I experienced in the past and from the realization of the importance to ACTUALLY love yourself. It’s something I’m still learning.
N: For you is the song a questioning of love and pain, as much as it is for the listener?
MT: Yes. Especially the confusion of loving someone so much to the point where you feel delusional when they leave you, like “was I the only one who believed this was real?” “was I the only one in this relationship?”
N: 'Heart' is an exploration of heartbreak, love, loss, and connection. In the Heart's music video, you took the visual representation of heartbreak literally, transporting viewers to a romantically gruesome depiction of heartache and exploring the evolution of relationships. A message we all can relate to, questioning our actions in the fact of love, and how the person receiving it, owns it. What was your thought process when you decided to take the visual representation of 'Heart" into a realistic and gruesome space, contrasted with soft and romantic elements?
MT: I love that you got all that from the video. So well said and exactly what I want the viewer to feel. I came up with the concept over a year ago. The feeling I always remember when I was going through a heartbreak is as if my heart was physically ripped out of my chest. When the break up happened I couldn’t work--I legit had to take off because I couldn’t handle the feeling. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I actually went back home to my mother's and didn’t get off her couch for 2 weeks with the feeling that my heart was ripped out, beat the fuck out of and put back into my chest. When I love someone I love them so deeply and in this case, I ignorantly gave them my absolute everything.
N: The craftsmanship of Heart's lyrics is beautifully simple on the surface, yet digs deep into the question of how do we navigate love and connection. One aspect I found fascinating was the use of neutral gender language, the song is relatable to everyone who has loved, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or gender identity?
As an artist that identifies as pansexual, do you actively craft your message to exist in this neutral space and what importance does the message hold for you?
MT:Heartbreak is heartbreak. It could even come from family, it doesn’t have to be sexual or romantically involved to have the same impact. It feels the same on different levels depending on how much love you have for that person and their soul. I specifically wanted to show different gender identities because of my pansexuality and how I’ve experienced heartbreak from not just one gender and gender identity. I do want my craft to exist, I never had a male figure growing up that would vocally express “I am into women and men” “I am into trans women and trans men.” Those words out loud never existed and still are very rare for a man to express. I want younger kids to have someone, I didn’t have, to relate to.
I specifically wanted to show different gender identities because of my pansexuality and how I’ve experienced heartbreak from not just one gender and gender identity. I do want my craft to exist, I never had a male figure growing up that would vocally express “I am into women and men” “I am into trans women and trans men.”
N: It is so important that we see a realistic representation of relationships in media and Heart's music video does just that. I love the levels of care you went to when creating the characters of your lovers, too show that love and pain is fluid. Did you intentionally showcase a diverse range of romantic connections in the music video and how important was it for you to deliver a message of diversity?
MT: The majority of the people in the video as well as behind the camera come from a diverse background. I didn’t just show diversity to show diversity. This is my life and the people I love deeply and surround myself with. They lift me up and I do the same.
N: Is there a full album to follow Heart?
MT: ...possibly. Right now I’m focused on singles, but would love to release an EP and then one day an album. I have so much I want to share.
N: You have built up an impressive acting resume in the NYC independent scene and a long list of roles in the New Jersey theatre space. Was producing music the next natural step for you as an artist?
MT: Yes, I did musical theatre from eight through to eighteen years old and then went into film and tv but never stopped writing music. Through meeting an incredible artist Evangelia who I consider my sister/soul because the second we met we clicked like we were lost, siblings. She’s the first person I opened up to about my desire to make music and share it.
She pretty much changed my life by believing in me and letting me know that music was possible for me. I told her my idea of Heart’s music video was before I ever even stepped into the studio. She introduced me to Skyler Cocco, a badass female producer who has become a trusted friend and collaborator. Shout out to Skyler for producing and co-writing Heart, as well as Zack Miller and Evangelia for co-writing and helping me find my sound and voice for this first single. I love you guys!!
N: How did you navigate the discovery of your sexual orientation and find acceptance within yourself?
MT:It’s been a huge journey to finally identify as pansexual. Growing up and listening to others I was always confused. From people telling me I’m “going through a phase” and I’m straight to then telling me I’m “gay and just don’t know it yet,” to me believing them all and going back and forth from being straight to gay and then back to straight again. It was exhausting. I finally grew up and moved to NYC and realized that It was okay that I’m attracted to both women and men. So I actually identified as bisexual for a while until I realized that I’m also attracted to trans women and trans men. Pansexual fits me because even meeting someone who identifies as non-binary is something I’m open to. Gender truly doesn’t matter. I love being pansexual and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
N: How do you practice self-care in your daily life?
MT: I work out every day and eat super healthy. I don’t drink or do drugs. I just focus on what I love and the people I love. I’m still learning more about self-care and how to navigate negative self-talk. It’s something I’m working on every day.
N; What is on the horizon for Mike Taveira?
MT: I’m hoping more of this.. so I'll let the universe do its thing and we will see.