In every school there is a music classroom full of possibility. Generations of young people sift through hours of learning standard theory, songs & rhythms, but very few will hang on long enough to see a career past that. In the case of Miki P, it all started in that classroom, taking lessons on a cheap Walmart brand First Act guitar for nearly nothing. But to Miki – it became everything.
A self made artist, multi-instrumentalist and musician born in Kansas City, KS, Miki P, aka Mikala Petillo, was raised with music coursing through her. With the introduction of The Beatles around the same time she picked up the guitar and drums, she started to incorporate her passion for listening into learning every Beatles’ song on both instruments. “I remember playing ‘She Loves You’ at a talent show in 7th grade. After I got a taste of performing, it’s almost as if I couldn’t contain the music in me! I needed to express myself in as many different ways as possible.” says Miki. And the expression was a much needed change of pace for most of her childhood and teenage experience, “Growing up I lost family, friends, and a band mate to very sudden and traumatic accidents, my parents got divorced, like a lot of young people, I was grieving with no-where to go.” she says, “I needed to create a shelter for myself where I could say all of these things and process them. I started to catalog my life through songs, and my instruments where the tools helping me get there.”
From the very start of her songwriting, Miki P grew into her voice and her path. In her 9th grade year of high school she joined a teen-band called American Slim as the drummer and vocalist: this was the first group she ever had the opportunity to record, perform & write with professionally. Playing mostly covers & bar gigs for the first 3 years, the band grew their stage presence and following in Kansas City, eventually releasing a full-length original album called Irreplaceable in the Spring of 2017. Within the span of their career they played festivals in Kansas City like Middle of the Map Fest & Crossroads Music Fest, and also played venues like the Royals Kauffman Stadium, Arrowhead Stadium, The Nelson Atkins Art Museum and an EP release show in 2015, opening for touring Blues musician Mike Zito at Knuckleheads Saloon. American Slim officially dismembered in the Summer of 2018, and while one chapter was coming to an end for Miki, another had already begun.
In January of 2018 Miki had began work on her debut solo-record Dome of Swallows, an album with the accumulative life experience of the then freshly-21 year old. Her first single off the album was aptly named ‘Who I Am’, “I knew American Slim was ending, and I knew it was time to try something on my own,” she says, “it was really nerve wracking, but it one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as an artist, and honestly as a person. I learned so much in the process.” Recorded at Element Recording Studio in Kansas City, MO with Joel Nanos, her debut album was released on August 2, 2018 and featured two KC music-natives Fritz Hutchison on drums and Robert Castillo on bass, both of which she would continue to collaborate with as she formed her band Miki P and the Swallowtails.
Meeting in the vast network of Kansas City’s rich music scene, in October of 2018 Miki P and the Swallowtails was created, and by the fall of 2019 they released their first EP Swallowtail independently. Each member’s musical background brings unique elements to the table, including music degrees in classical and jazz studies. The members of the band are Rachel Lovelace on Bassoon, Adee Dancy on Cello/Vocals, Cade Pool on Drums, Robert Castillo on Bass and Miki P on Guitar/Lead Vocals. “It’s one of the most positive musical experiences I’ve ever been apart of,” says Lovelace, “It’s rewarding to use the skills I’ve learned and applying it to music I enjoy performing and listening to.” Castillo also welcomes the “diverse and varied perspectives each member brings to the creation process.” Along with their musical collaboration, The Swallowtails have had many opportunities to perform, including festivals in the Midwest like Boulevardia, and is currently venturing onto the road playing through establishments like Sofar Sounds and intimate venues throughout the Midwest in Colorado, Louisiana, Arkansas and more. They are currently in post-production for their next album to be released in the early Summer of 2020.
“I’m really excited to see where The Swallowtails go,” says Miki, “I feel like I’ve been working so hard to get to this point, and I’m starting to see that hard work pay off.” Now rocking on the stage and in the studio, Miki P started as a young aspiring musician with the drive, talent, and motivation to take her dream out of the classroom and turn it into her reality.