Miki Ratsula has built a sizable audience by openly and honestly welcoming people into their world and is set to release their debut album i owe it to myself on March 25 via Nettwerk Records – a deeply intimate record that touches on mental health, loss, love, and everything in between. The Southern California-based nonbinary artist has been releasing music independently since they were 16, racking up over 20 million streams in the process. They have now shared their new single celebrating the effortless joy of love, “sugarcane,” which features their friend and occasional songwriting partner, Los Angeles-based musician Dana Williams.
“‘sugarcane’ is about the type of love that is just as enjoyable and as effortless as eating your favorite dessert. You can’t believe something so good can exist, and you just can’t get enough of it,” notes Ratsula, on the heels of getting engaged to their longtime love and creative director, Hope Reim. “Ironically, this song about effortless love was the most challenging one on the album for me as a producer. We ended up making around five different versions of it before it finally clicked. I was grateful to have Dana Williams, my friend, and occasional songwriting partner, along for the journey. Her additional vocals were just what ‘sugarcane’ needed.”
“sugarcane” follows the release of several early album singles, including the raw, personal single “second,” which deals with their fears and anxiety around getting top surgery and whose main hook is at the heart of the album — “I just want to love myself, so I can love you better”; “reeboks” which is about feeling so anxious about the future that they end up running themselves into the ground; “suffocate” ft. Lauren Sanderson; and “i walked a mile in my room,” which discusses their mental health struggles and its impact on the people close to them.
i owe it to myself is a testament to self-love and a gift to anyone seeking the same. The album is an acoustic pop dream guided by Miki’s lush, lofi-inspired production that captures the full emotional seesaw that rocks between youth and adulthood. The album is Miki at their most vulnerable and fully realized. The singer, songwriter, and producer uses their platform to candidly document their life: from coming out to getting top surgery to their mental health journey. It’s the kind of storytelling that listeners, especially young queer kids, crave and deserve. “I just want to be the artist I needed growing up,” says Miki, and that’s exactly who they’ve become on this heartfelt and impressive debut record. Throughout the record, Miki effortlessly floats between R&B slow jams and acoustic numbers laced with sensual groove, and some of the album’s more powerful moments exist in the soft, nostalgic spaces in between, which often deal with the pain that lives behind closed doors.
Photo Courtesy: Ashley Osborn + Davida Williams