Perhaps the most surprising thing about “Castle Made Of Mirrors,” the new single by Charleston singer-songwriter Kit Mikell, is that it exists at all.
The song, which mixes a seductive electronic dance rhythm with classical violin and a guest rap from Indi’Gxld, comes after a long writing dry spell for Mikell.
In fact, she’s arguably better known as an event planner than a musician, having produced the Freak Show Charleston web series and Rap Fest.
After years of songwriting and vocal training, Mikell found herself at a creative dead end at the age of only 19.
“I had been a songwriter my whole life,” Mikell said. “Starting in like second grade, or even younger.
And I ended up getting writer’s block. And so from 19 [years old] for many years, I will say about 15 years, I had writer’s block. And I was not able to write at all.”
Then last summer, Mikell said she lost two people very close to her and the creative floodgates opened.
She’s put out two singles in the last couple of months, both of which blend electronic beats and rich synth beds with her Kate Bush-style vocals.
In fact, “Castle Made Of Mirrors” is so appealing and danceable on the surface that one might miss its message.
“The song is about basically the life you create for yourself,” Mikell said, “and it’s about when you have a longing for someone that is not in your life and reflecting on every circumstance that brought you to build your castle. It’s about taking a moment to realize you have the power to change anything at any moment. And then I started to think about kings and queens and their choice to rule and the responsibility and the weight of how that must feel.”
The song actually began as a poem, which she shared with her producer Dblcrwn. With the exception of the violin played by Constanza Kratsman and local artist Indi’Gxld’s rap verse, every sound you hear on the single was created by Dblcrwn and Mikell.
“I love that you can feel it in your body,” she said of the song’s electronic pulse. “You can feel the bass, you can feel the journey of the song, and it gives you more of a chance to go through an entire journey.
We wanted it to be a fusion of classical, hip-hop, pop and dance and so many different things.”
You can expect more songs from Mikell in the near future. After years of writer’s blocked, she can’t stop writing.
“I’m just writing all I can,” she said. “This was a cathartic passion project for me.”
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.