Way before she was one to watch in the music world, Mia Rodriguez was already a star. An early adopter to TikTok back when it was still Musical.ly, she found a niche on the social media site, sharing comedy videos and covers with her litany of followers, foreshadowing a music career in the making.
When her debut single “Emotion” arrived in late 2019, following the then-17-year-old’s signing to City Pop Records, it felt like everything changed, and suddenly the Sydney musician was on track to realise a dream she’d had since the age of 10. Though the events of 2020 threw a spanner in the works, Rodriguez remains resolute.
“COVID-19 kind of delayed my music career a little bit,” she explains. “But because I’d built up a following online, everything’s sort of online anyway. I was going to travel, and tour, and do all that stuff, it kind of sucks that I didn’t get to do that.”
Despite a halting year, 2020 brought with it new music by way of “Psycho” and “BEAUTIFUL & BITTERSWEET”, a J Award nomination, a presenting slot at the digital ARIA Awards, and even a digital live debut.
“I’ve had so much practise in front of cameras and media from TikTok already that it kind of just felt normal in a way,” she says. “It’s like comedy videos, except [it’s] music – it’s just content in the end.”
Now in the thick of 2021, things are looking up for Rodriguez. In December, she announced her physical live debut supporting Lime Cordiale. In a “surreal” moment of things coming full circle, the performances were scheduled for Sydney’s Enmore Theatre where she had first seen Troye Sivan – a noted inspiration – play live back in 2015.
Though Rodriguez has big hopes for the year, 2020 has taught her that plans can be stopped in their tracks at a moment’s notice. Instead, she’s happy to go with the flow and let hard work guide her path.
“[I’m] definitely [planning to release] more singles. Maybe an EP, I’m not sure. More performances,” she muses. “Whatever opportunities are thrown at me. I definitely want 2021 to be my breakthrough year, so I’m going to work really, really hard.”