Mitski says she didn’t quit music because it’s “the only thing I can do”

The indie star went on an indefinite hiatus in 2019 and intended to start a new life

Mitski has spoken about her decision to return to making music and touring following her indefinite hiatus in 2019.

The indie star had announced that her headline show at New York’s Central Park Summerstage in September of that year would be her last “indefinitely”, but had assured fans she wasn’t quitting music entirely.

In a new interview, Mitski has now explained that she did intend that to be the end of her artistic career. “I was thinking this was the last show I would perform ever, and then I would quit and find another life,” she told Rolling Stone.

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Speaking about why she wanted to get out of the music world, she said she felt like it was “shaving away my soul little by little”.

Mitski press shot 2021
Mitski, 2021. CREDIT: Ebru Yildiz

“In order for me to survive in the music industry as it exists, I had to stuff a pillow over my heart and tell it to stop screaming, and be like, ‘Shut up, shut up, take it’,” she said. “After a few years of doing that every single day, my heart really did start to go numb and go silent. And the problem with that is that I actually need my heart — my feelings — in order to write music. It was this paradox.”

She pointed to that phenomenon as what made her want to quit, saying she was “really scared” for her “future self” that she would end up putting out music just for the sake of “keeping the machine running”.

Though she was contractually obliged to deliver one more album to her label Dead Oceans, Mitski came to feel like she needed to continue to make music for herself too. “What it came down to was, ‘I have to do this even though it hurts me, because I love it,’ ” she said. “ ‘This is who I am. I’m going to keep getting hurt, and I’m still going to do it, because this is the only thing I can do.’”

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In November, Mitski announced the release of her next album, ‘Laurel Hell’, which will arrive on February 4, 2022. So far, the star has shared three tracks from it – ‘Working For The Knife’, ‘The Only Heartbreaker’ and ‘Heat Lightning’.

She will return to the UK and Europe next spring for her first tour since 2019, with gigs in Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester having to be upgraded to bigger venues due to demand for tickets.

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