By Mia Asano | From the January-February 2023 issue of Strings magazine
“Lunar” was the first original single I released, and I play it at all of my live shows. I’m getting ready to start touring again in 2023, and this piece has been back on my music stand while I prepare!
I recently graduated from the Berklee College of Music, and I had to put on a senior recital/capstone project. I decided to have this double as my debut concert in Boston, and I ended up putting on two big shows in August. This was one of the most important pieces I played that night, and in the weeks leading up to the shows I was practicing it every day.
As I prepare to go back on the road in 2023, I am practicing my show repertoire and putting together my set. A big goal of mine is to perform more original music at my shows and this piece was a milestone release for me.
I was incredibly inspired by my co-writer Jason Anick during the composition process. Jason is an amazing violinist who specializes in jazz, Gypsy jazz, and fiddle music. I studied with him during my time at Berklee, and he completely changed the way I play and helped me expand my technique and relationship with the instrument. I had a lot of the melodic concepts in mind when we decided to work on this piece together, and he came in and expanded on them and helped me solidify my ideas. The chorus of the song was mostly written by Jason, and you can hear the blues flavor he added, which is a very important part of my sound.
I don’t just want to be a pop violinist. I want to incorporate all the other styles of music that inspire me, including blues, jazz, classical, and rock. I am passionate about playing in as many styles as possible and showcasing everything the violin is capable of. I want to include this sentiment in the music I write and release, even when it is mostly categorized as pop or electronic.
I love this piece and am proud of it—listening to it brings me so much joy, because it reminds me of where I was when I first wrote it. In December 2020, I had my first video go viral on the internet and had hundreds of people asking me to put out original material. I hadn’t planned on releasing my music until after college, so this lit a fire in me to put my music out there. I was lucky to work with collaborators like Jason, as well as my two producers Annie Elise and Jason Petrin, who helped make the song what it is. I couldn’t have done it without them.
The initial melody is simple, so the phrasing is the most important part of the piece. When there’s a lot of repetition and long notes, my main focus is bow control and using dynamics to keep it interesting throughout. The flavor of the song comes from the ornamentation choices the player makes. The slides need to be carefully placed to accentuate the melody, particularly in the chorus. While they can be heavier in the verses, the chorus takes extra care to give it the bluesy feel Jason and I were going for, and it’s all about getting the feeling right.
The majority of what I play and release these days is categorized as pop, rock, or electronic music, as well as covers of popular songs. This piece fits right in with the music I’m doing, but it feels more authentic to me because I incorporated other styles of music I love as well.
I would recommend “Lunar” to anyone interested in a bluesy pop violin track. It’s fun to play, and the arpeggios at the end will still give you a bit of a challenge. You can give “Lunar” a listen on all streaming platforms under Mia Asano. The only edition of the sheet music is available on my website, miaasanomusic.com.
What Mia Asano Plays
Violins: Wood Violins seven-string fretted Viper (electric); Vanna So violin from the shop of William Harris Lee (acoustic)
Bow: CodaBow Joule
Cases: Bam Violin Viper case (electric); Calton case (acoustic)