Katy Mikelle is a singer, dancer, actress, pianist, and writer born in San Jose, CA. She has performed in over 35 plays, many with TheatreWorks, and San Jose Repertory Theatre. Her favorite roles include Hellen Keller in The Miracle Worker, and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
Katy won creative writing awards throughout grade school and at Mills College as a Theater Arts major. She recently finished directing her first musical The Circle of Eyes for NYWinterfest which received the awards for Best Musical, Choreography, Set Design, Originality, and Costumes. She also just released her first album “Phantom of a Dollhouse” on Spotify, & Itunes.
T2C: How are you dealing with home containment in LA?
Katy Mikelle: Normally I am a homebody, and I prefer to spend most of my time by myself. Before this pandemic, my social interactions were mostly going to work, working in Theater, and classes (dance/fitness/music, etc).
While quarantined, I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the technology that allows us to take piano lessons over Skype, watch/give concerts on a live stream platform, or teach fitness classes online. As much as I have had negative feelings about how modern technology has become a major problem (everyone is always staring at their phones and artistic authenticity is fading away..) I’ve realized how much we now all need our devices in order to cope and connect with one another while we are in forced isolation. Reading new books, Skype music lessons, piano, writing, cooking, photography, dancing in my living room, and spending more time in nature: This is how I’ve been keeping sane and as healthy as I can during this lockdown.
T2C: What would you say is the difference of being in self lockdown between NY and LA?
Katy Mikelle: I cannot speak for those in NY, as I have been in LA since the Pandemic hit. I was extremely lucky to have completed NY Winterfest and to have flown back to LA just in time before the outbreak. I can imagine that if I was stuck in a tiny airbnb or apartment in NY alone during this time, it would have been much more difficult emotionally and probably financially than being quarantined here in LA with a beautiful backyard full of trees, in a quiet neighborhood, and a less populated location with less chance of becoming infected.
T2C: What have you been able to accomplish in this time?
Katy Mikelle: I am halfway through writing the children’s book format of my play “The Circle of Eyes.” I have read 4 books on Child Development and adult survivors of traumatic childhoods, and I have begun to write my own book, a story about my personal experiences.
I have been working on lyrics and melodies for 2 new songs for my play, and I’ve continued to study music over Skype from my amazing teacher and mentor Daniel Alexander. I’ve taught fitness classes and private contortion/stretching classes online, and I’m working on some custom acrylic paintings for friends.
T2C: What has this time stopped you from accomplishing?
Katy Mikelle: I am unable to have steady work due to Covid-19, and therefore I am unable to raise the finances that I would need to produce my musical in LA. Because of Covid-19, all of the artists that I know are struggling to make ends meet. In such a scary time of desperation and uncertainty, it is exceedingly difficult to find that spark of creative inspiration, artistic freedom, and it is even harder to accomplish goals when we have no idea where our next paycheck will be coming from, or how we will pay our bills.
T2C: What kind of emotions does this time bring out of you?
Katy Mikelle: Spending so many hours in isolation, hardly able to make ends meet, sitting alone with my thoughts day after day, night after night, is exposing many more emotions than I anticipated. I think that most of us lead such busy lives, for better or for worse, that we’ve never even had the time to sit down and face our inner demons, or greatest fears, traumas from our past, our regrets, our insecurities, questions we’ve never been brave enough to ask, etc. Up until now, for me personally, even if I’ve thought about these things before, work, classes, and the activities of my busy life have always taken priority. I think I may not be alone in saying that many of us are, in a way, are forced to face these thoughts and feelings like we never have before. What is most important? Health? Family? Friends? Career? Art? Money? Love? How did this planet become so destroyed? What did we do wrong? What did I do wrong? How can I help? Am I happy with my life and if not, why? What do I miss the most? Who do I miss? Did I take things for granted? How can I be a better person? What changes will I make when we are finally “set free?” These are the thoughts that have been keeping me awake every night.
T2C: If you were to equate this time to a song or song cycle what would it be?
Katy Mikelle: I didn’t have to think about this one for very long. The song immediately popped into my head, even though I haven’t heard it in quite awhile: “Everyone’s Waiting” by Missy Higgins (my favorite female Australian singer, musician, writer, and composer of all time)
There’s a line in this song that goes “I hear that answers appear when we just stand still.” I feel like the whole world is forced to stand still for a moment, all of us together, while mother nature, or the universe is saying “Everyone just stop. Stop and look around. Things need to change.”
You can hear my music here.
T2C: What message would you like to give the world right now?
Katy Mikelle: It’s okay to not be productive every day during quarantine. It’s okay to have “writers block” when you’re not supposed to. It’s okay to gain weight, or lose money, or spend all
day in bed grieving, or daydreaming. It’s okay to fall apart. It’s okay to reach out for help. It’s okay to be angry and sad and feel everything all at once. We are not alone in this. My message to the world right now would be a message that I need to tell myself once in awhile: You’re stronger than you know. You are not alone. You are here for a reason, so don’t give up.
Artists: Don’t create because you feel pressured to prove you are being productive. Create because it feeds your soul and it heals you. Then share your art to help heal others. This is how we’re going to make it through.
T2C: What is the first thing you will do when we are no longer self quarantined?
Katy Mikelle: I will grab some friends, head to the beach, and dive into the ocean.
T2C: What are the things that are getting you through this time?
Katy Mikelle: Art. Music, piano, writing, reading, studying, working towards my goal of working with children, and getting outside. Nature.
T2C: What haven’t we asked you that you would like to say?
Katy Mikelle: To those children and adults who have been stuck in quarantine in a mentally or physically dangerous home: Don’t give up. This will end. There IS hope for a better life.