Pop-rock New Jersey musician, MISTINE, was born in a log cabin in Vermont. After coming off tour performing with the likes of Conan Gray, Wiz TheMC, and Zeph, MISTINE is releasing her debut single, “Everett Park,” available on all streaming platforms on March 24.
When a relationship ended one summer, MISTINE could do nothing but write about it. The track was finished some time ago, but MISTINE doesn’t like to be rushed. While those close to her encouraged her to release it, she wasn’t ready. “We live in this culture of fast consumption,” MISTINE says. “I think people lose the fact of how things hold so much more value when you set your intentions and take your time. I didn’t feel like I could put my whole heart into it and give people the song they needed to be given.”
The song, named after the exact location in Los Angeles, is a narrative about the beginning and ending of a relationship—and how those memories can haunt that very space. Romantic, beautiful, and sad, “Everett Park” is complete with ethereal synths and MISTINE’s signature energetic guitar. Her soft-spoken voice is like the flutter of a butterfly wing, gentle and introspective; but shifts into a vocal powerhouse when she sings. Delightfully kind, spirited, and wonderous, MISTINE is like the ocean; brewing with depth beneath the surface and surprising you at every turn. I sat down to speak with MISTINE on a warm March afternoon to talk about memories old and new, haunted spaces, friendships, and taking her time.
So, you were born in a log cabin in Vermont? Tell us about that!
Yes! I was born at home in Vermont. My parents planned on moving to Vermont permanently, so they built a cabin. But then my grandparents got sick, so we never actually ended up moving there. But we ended up there all the time when I was a kid, it was great!
We still have the house [and] a lot of my best childhood memories are there. Vermont is so beautiful! I also thought it was weird that people were born in a hospital. I didn’t realize that was a thing! I thought all of my friends were sick, I felt so bad for them. Turns out I was the weird one.
Let’s talk about “Everett Park,” which you say is about the beginning and ending of a relationship. What was that experience like for you?
Everett Park is the first place I met someone…and where we ended our relationship. It felt like a full circle location. A few weeks after the break, we sort of questioned if we made the right decision. So, we met up in the same place, [Everett Park] and I wrote the song the same day. I know places can hold a lot of meaning but I didn’t realize this place meant so much [to me]. But it did…it was such a small relationship at such a small point in time.
I wrote “Everett Park” about the feelings you get when you go back to a place that feels tainted. It feels like you shouldn’t go there anymore. And I know a lot of people that won’t go back to something like that. I didn’t want to have a bad memory in a place that I felt I could still enjoy. So, I threw a picnic with my friends and created new memories. That way, it didn’t feel like someone from my past owned that place. That’s where the idea came from, that a location doesn’t have to be a bad place—you can make it whatever you want it to be. It was me taking my power back, not only in the relationship but in the physical place.
You completed the song in your parent’s guest room in New Jersey, correct?
Yes! The first summer of lockdown my old roommate and I started a track with this concept of a place and the memories that haunt it. After I went to the park, I had all these ideas that I sent over to my old roommate, Jamison Baken, and we finished it. Baken and I did most of the production before sending it to Andy Gannon, my friend in Manchester, U.K. We worked together virtually a few more times before I finished it in New Jersey.
When did you first get the bug to be a musician?
[Laughs] When “Piglet’s Big Movie” came out, Carly Simon played at the end of the credits. She was in this field with the characters, playing guitar. I just remember being like, “Mom, I want to do that.”
I really love nature and animals, and it just appealed to me. So, my mom signed me up for guitar lessons. I still remember at my very first lesson, I didn’t have a guitar pick. I had to use a quarter. Musically, I love Aerosmith and classic ‘80s rock bands like Heart; and that was it! Those bands are really the reason I wanted to play. Some of my early songs were part of a school project, and I think you can tell I’m sort of trying to emulate them. With “Everett Park,” it was more about finding my own sound.
Do you recall your first performance? What was it like for you?
Exciting! [laughs]. I think I was too young to be scared, I just remember feeling happy. I have been performing since I was in about fifth grade. My guitar teacher asked me to be in a rock band and our first gig was at a state fair. After that, we played The Stone Pony! A couple of years later, I joined the Rock It Live Foundation in Red Bank, NJ. I did that until I left for college.
“Everett Park” is a very romantic and beautiful song. It’s also very cathartic and sad.
I know what you mean! My favorite thing about music is sad songs that sound and feel happy. It reminds me that everything has two sides, a double meaning. Like Bruce Springsteen, all of his songs are about the working class and the downtrodden, but they’re also very anthemic. People love to listen to them in the car, on the Fourth of July…but they’re not happy at all.
I also watch a lot of romantic comedies, so it [the song] feels like something you would hear in a rom-com. That’s probably where most of my songs come from. They sound like they should be in an indie movie or a romantic comedy.
I love your mantra of “wanting to make music that makes people feel good” and wanting your fans to “feel like they’re your best friends.” Tell me more about this relationship with your audience.
I feel like most people are clout chasers. I experienced a lot of that touring, realizing people were only interested in hanging out with me because of who I was touring with. That’s not a good feeling.
One of the things I really like about myself is that I think I’m a good friend. I put a lot of effort into my friendships. I try to be there for them, it’s what I’m good at. And I want to be able to do that for other people, for my fans. I want to learn who they are, what they want to hear.
I’ve gotten so many messages from people who feel like they have nobody to talk to. They tell me these personal things about their lives…they really need somebody they feel comfortable talking to. If I can be that for them, the slightest bit to what degree I can, then I’d love to be that.
With “Everett Park,” how did writing that song help you overcome your heartache and take your power back?
Just being able to say it, being able to say it to other people, and in a way that was exactly how I was feeling. I thanked my co-writer for having me write down exactly what I was feeling. I can get really scatterbrained so being able to say it in a very distinct way was cleansing.
What would you say to someone who is experiencing heartache right now?
Do what I did. Go back and make new memories! Don’t let anyone hold anything over you, because if you’re happy, if you’re enjoying your life, [if] you feel confident, then that’s all that you need. You don’t need validation from anyone else.
You have an EP on the way! Is “Everett Park” the central sound we can expect from you?
I would say “Everett Park” is the most central sound. So, everything is based around it but cohesive. The whole concept of the EP is that they’re songs you’d want to listen to in the car! I really like songs with forward movement. I hope people like listening to them anywhere but especially the car. I’m excited, and I hope to get out on the road soon, meet new faces and connect with people through my music.
Follow Jamison Baken on Instagram
Find Andy Gannon at andygannonproducer.com