GEA is the seventh album by singer-songwriter-guitarist-poet-painter-dancer Mia Doi Todd. The album was recorded in Los Angeles, CA, self-produced in collaboration with Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and is being released March 4, 2008 on City Zen Records in North America and Kindred Spirits abroad.
Mia is a true artist — an expressionist in many forms. Her garden of song is vast with flowers of infinite shape, color, size, and individuality. GEA is her most intuitive and primal collection of songs yet. Full of incredible passion and sensitivity, these songs reveal the depths of Mia’s emotions, visions and lyrical heart. The album opens with Mia playing guitar and harmonium accompanied by Andres Renteria on hand drums and prolific Chicago-based bassist Joshua Abrams (Sam Prekop, Prefuse 73). Broken, surviving, searching, and hopeful, Mia begins to sing and chant, flowing in the great “River Of Life” that all beings travel. Her voice and lyrics may bring tears to the listener’s eyes with their eloquent expression of the desperate yearnings of a lover of life, faced with the destructive forces which abound in the world. The songs each follow suit beautifully, evanescently, featuring woodwind, brass and string arrangements by the young and talented multi-instrumentalist/composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. His arrangements seem to lift Mia on their wings for a mystical journey of intense projection, romance, mourning, and otherworldly imagery.
Mia Doi Todd was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the only child of a Japanese-American judge and an Irish-American sculptor. Trained as a classical vocalist in her adolescence and teenage years, Mia began writing songs while a student at YaleUniversity, inspired by the mid-90’s Indie Rock movement. She recorded her debut album The Ewe and the Eye – just her voice and acoustic guitar — in one evening at the “Spaceshed” studio run by the LA band Further who then released it on their label in 1997 just as Todd was graduating from college. She relocated to New York City, playing downtown clubs and recording a second spare, acoustic album Come Out of Your Mine (The Communion Label, 1999). Mia spent a year in Japan studying the avant-garde dance form, Ankoku Butoh , and began to write longer, intricate songs. On her return to Los Angeles, Mia went to work on her third album and formed City Zen Records to release Zeroone in 2001 . These first three records all featured minimal, acoustic instrumentation, emphasizing her soaring vocals and finely wrought lyrics, the latter redolent of romantic poetry, but employing puns, alliteration, homonyms and many other verbal experiments. In 2002, Mia found a new home with Columbia Records ‘ Columbia Jazz imprint and re-recorded songs drawn from her previous albums with fuller instrumentation and more involved production, aided by Mitchell Froom and Yves Beauvais , resulting in The Golden State album. When Columbia Jazz was shuttered, Todd moved on to the Plug Research label, continuing to pursue more orchestrated arrangements on a significant portion of her fifth album, Manzanita , 2005. There she was joined in the studio by friends, Brent Rademaker and Rob Campanella. While some songs were reserved for just her voice and guitar or piano, others feature cameo appearances by members of Dead Meadow , Beachwood Sparks and the entire band Future Pigeon . In 2006, Manzanita was followed up by La Ninja: Amor and other dreams of Manzanita , an album of remixes by Dntel, DJ Nobody, Flying Lotus and more. La Ninja also had three altogether new tracks and a cover of the Beatles ‘ song ” Norwegian Wood .”
Mia has toured the US and Europe, headlining and opening for other artists, including Throwing Muse Kristen Hirsch, Lou Barlow’s Folk Implosion, Saul Williams, The Books, and Dungen. Having released records with labels as major and established as Columbia and as progressive and boutique as Plug Research, Mia is now enjoying her return to the homegrown approach. With the great and inspired work that is GEA, the future looks bright for this relentless romantic.