date published: September 24, 2007

5 questions with...

Mieka PauleyMieka Pauley
by Josh B. Wardrop

Singer-songwriter Mieka Pauley graduated from Harvard in 2002, and since then has become a rising star on the Boston music scene. She’s performed across the nation and won the first Starbucks Emerging Artist award in 2005. Next month, she releases her new full-length album, Elijah Drop Your Gun, and on October 6 she opens for Ari Hest at Harpers Ferry in Allston.

Q: Has your degree in biological anthropology noticeably helped your musical career?
It helped me in the sense that I didn’t burn out on music in college. I had something else to study and I could keep my music just for myself.

Q: After college, you played in Harvard Square as a street musician. Was that fun? Annoying? Rewarding?
All of the above. I cut my teeth as a performer, and once I mastered playing for audiences that weren’t necessarily expecting to hear music, I could handle any audience I actually had in a club (laughs).

Q: How would you describe your sound?
It’s a little of everything. I’ve been grouped into folk music against my will, but when people see a woman with an acoustic guitar, that happens. I’d say my new songs definitely sound different from what I’ve done before.

Q: Do you have a favorite place in town to play live or hear live bands?
Definitely the Paradise Lounge. The sound is amazing, and there’s a family feel from seeing the same crowd there all the time.

Q: Where else do you hang out, when you’re not playing live or going to see shows?
(Laughs) Well, pretty much all I do is play live and go to shows! But I love Harvard Square, and Inman Square—a little off the beaten path—is really cool, with places like the 1369 Coffee House and East Coast Grille.