By Charles Mombo
Since participating on Lifetime’s Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid and being featured in the Chicago Tribune, Bustle, and on ABC7’s Windy City Live, Mikayla Gilles (pronounced ‘Jeel’) has been preparing to make her musical debut. In dealing with the uncertainty of 2020, Mikayla found inspiration to write, record, and produce her first single “Away” dropped December 4th on Apple Music and Spotify with an accompanying music video and visuals. Fusing Contemporary R&B, Electronic/Pop Crossover, Jazz, and Alternative Styles, Gilles’ first-ever track will uplift others to embrace change and pursue new beginnings.
The music video for “Away” not only follows and symbolically represents Mikayla’s growth both musically and emotionally but is also a tribute to her family. A script written by her Father, Maxime Gilles M.D., and brought to life by Tyler Furlan (TFF Productions) out of Chicago’s own Fort Knox Studios/2112, this release is personal and a true Chicago production! In the video, Mikayla drives “Away” into a new chapter of her life in a Cherry Red Dodge Hellcat through which she pays tribute to her Uncle, Ralph Gilles (Global Head of Design, FCA), auto industry mogul who was recently recognized in a Netflix documentary, Abstract: The Art of Design, for his design of the iconic Chrysler 300c.
Mikayla is a Junior, Finance Major, at the esteemed Howard University, graduating names like; Taraji P. Henson, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, and Anthony Anderson. Remote learning has granted Mikayla time that she wouldn’t otherwise have had to work towards her creative dreams. During Chicago’s lockdown not only did Mikayla vlog the launch of her personal training business for her YouTube channel but she also taught herself how to produce and record using Logic in her DIY home studio.
Following “Away” is an exclusive documentary-style vlog narrating Gilles’ path from modeling to music, Journey to Away. Mikayla elaborates on “Away”, “The learning curve, grit, and grind that this entire project required of me forced me to grow this thick skin I didn’t even know I had and it has only made me fall that much more in love with being an artist, a creative, a force, a leader, a believer, and a boss. I want this for life”. This behind the scenes look at the work Mikayla put into independently producing and orchestrating this first track is also echoed as a larger theme in her music video.
The multi-talented songstress is a newly signed Select Model and leaves her nearly 50K Instagram followers in awe with her masterful piano renditions, wanting to hear more of her unique musical spirit. She uses her growing platforms to encourage others to own their individuality, be resilient, and follow their dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. “Away” is the first of Mikayla’s written pieces that she has translated from the keys of her Baby Grand to a full track. In 2021, Mikayla will be releasing a second single and EP.
Check out the music video here: