Japanese-American musician Mitski has resisted a single definition throughout her career.
Moving her way through genres and eras, Mitski has experimented with orchestral strings, punk, pop and indie rock. Her sonic variety may be a representation of her growth and ambition as a Third Culture Kid. Due to a parent’s career, Mitski lived in multiple different countries throughout her childhood. She spent significant time in Turkey, Malaysia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brooklyn. While spending her formative years living across the world, Mitski found it difficult to really connect with people. In an interview with Pitchfork, she commented how people found it uncomfortable to try to identify her:
I just didn’t make sense to anybody.
Much of Mitski’s music centers around cultural fluidity. She focuses on the idea of loneliness and feeling like she doesn’t belong in any one place. Her video for “Your Best American Girl” depicts Mitski vying for the affection of someone who prefers the hegemonic standard. “Nobody” represents feeling isolated in a very stylized environment, where all she has is fragments of other people.
Mitski ultimately isn’t concerned with how critics and fans alike perceive her; she is an honest artist. Such artistry cannot be simply defined — Mitski’s work is a multi-faceted expression.
Mitski is currently touring her unapologetic album “Be the Cowboy.”