Miranda Fling started singing at a very young age. She has notebooks from elementary school full of silly childhood lyrics. Miranda shared this side of herself with the world in the past two years. Although new to the scene, success came quickly. Miranda won the Sonic Spotlight in 2020, landing a spot on the virtual stage with some of the biggest music names. Now Miranda releases her self-recorded, self-written freshman album, Wishful Thinking, on March 1, 2021.
Miranda couldn’t meet with producers face-to-face during quarantine, so she set up a studio in her closet and started experimenting. “I just have a MacBook and lived in a basement bedroom with a little walk-in closet. I took all my stuff out of the closet and set up my Mic, MacBook, and some lights. I don’t have anything besides my headphones, my microphone interface,” says Miranda. “I had to make sure it was soundproof enough. It was a really creaky old college house, so I definitely had to wait until my roommates were not jumping around upstairs.” Miranda captures moments of inspiration in voice memos on her phone. Then, no matter when the moment comes, she tries to record it and build on it later.
“A lyric pops into my brain, and I usually try to put that to some sort of melody. And my first step with recording is usually trying to find some sort of chords that go along with it, laying the chords down, then laying one vocal track down. And then from there, I try to build with harmonies and background vocals as much as I can because I feel pretty limited in my instrumental capabilities,” says Miranda. “Typically just goes from phone-voice-memo, then I try to record a little demo on my laptop and build from there.”
Miranda finds the most critical step in her writing process is to listen. She listens with a very critical ear and tries to imagine the song in various scenarios. Then, she lets it come to life, building the song piece by piece, editing, and processing as she crafts the tune. The process is unique, but she feels it helps her get the song’s vision to listen to the recordings. “A lot of times, I’ll completely change it. But it definitely helps me. I play it in my car sometimes and say, okay, what could be better? Where do I want this to go? And then sometimes I end up combining lyrics from another song and just making it into one.” This past year, Miranda has focused on this process. Her first song came when COVID started, and she kept receding into her room. The process has been long, and she finally knitted together five of her favorite pieces for Wishful Thinking.
“There’s no song called Wishful Thinking, but a lot of my songs come from a place of living in this reality that’s never actually going to happen or wanting something that I can’t have,” says Miranda. “Probably 70 percent of my songs are about some dumb boy that I don’t like anymore, but I just like the emotion behind it. The drama that’s in my heart, I guess, comes out in my music because I don’t really super open up about it any other place. So it just comes out like 10 times bigger in my music.”
Before the full album release, Miranda had two songs on Spotify; she heard about the Sonic Spotlight, a virtual music showcase for youth ages 22 and younger in Larimer and Weld counties, and gave it a go. She is new to the music industry but took a risk. Miranda submitted her songs. She landed as the top finalist and won the competition.
The Sonic Spotlight partners with the Bohemian Foundation, The Colorado Sound, and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The goal was for participants to work with industry experts, connect with creative peers, receive radio airplay, create a professional music video, play festivals, win prizes, and level up their music.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect. ‘Cause I was very new to the Fort Collins music scene. I didn’t realize how many talented people there were and how many cool bands are here,” says Miranda. “It was really awesome for me to learn about all of that and make connections with really cool people who are my age and who are trying to do the same thing, just making their music on their own. They taught us a lot about how to make connections and market your stuff, which I’m still really uncomfortable sometimes doing.” Upon winning, Miranda got to perform a virtual concert for The Colorado Sound Radio, a fundraiser for NIVA Save Our Stages Act, and viewed it on their website.
Winning Sonic Spotlight got Miranda an entirely produced music video as part of the 53:14 Music Video Experiment, a full day of recording at Stout Studios, a $500 gift card for Music Go Round, and a performance in the FoCoMX music festival. As for what advice Miranda has for someone in her shoes, “A little bit of push goes a long way. I think that it took a long time for me to realize that people are actually interested in what I have to say,” says Miranda. “And they do support me. It’s easier to build a community than maybe you initially think, especially in Fort Collins. So I guess my advice would be to share it. Just put it out there.”
Miranda is just getting started. But her immediate success shows she has what it takes to make something happen. “I have a lot of ideas, and I feel like I’m always thinking of new things,” says Miranda. “I want to see if I can take my style to new places. I really just want to get better at producing and see if I can do as much as I can on my own. Because I feel like I understand the fundamentals. I just need some push. I need to get a better computer and better equipment.”