Santa Cruz, California native Mira Goto has been a busy woman of late, readying a new country EP from her base in Nashville, while returning to her home turf to take part in relief efforts from the fires that have ravaged her part of the country, helping feed the firefighters and offering other help.
“The fire here was easily the worst we’ve seen in my lifetime,” she said in an e-mail to American Songwriter. “Obviously the smoke was bad, but we were very fortunate that my home and my parents’ home were both spared. Many friends lost their homes though so we’re trying our best to support the community during this time.”
An award-winning favorite of music lovers in Santa Cruz, Goto recently released the new single “Anybody Else” from her upcoming EP, Nobody Warned Me, due out next month. Goto worked on the project with multi-platinum producer Ken Caillat, best known for producing Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, and for his involvement in pretty much the entire output of his daughter, singer Colbie Caillat.
Goto first met Caillat at an awards ceremony where she was performing at the annual conference of the West Coast Songwriters. She said that, where a lot of female singers may have been somewhat intimidated to be working with someone who has produced people like Stevie Nicks, Caillat was a great producer to work with.
“Ken is a very approachable guy,” she said. “He’s kind, and funny, and is very good at making the people around him comfortable. When it comes to recording, he’s very artist-focused. He continued to check in with me throughout the process making sure I was happy with the direction of things, if there was any more I wanted to add to it. It really didn’t take long for us to get comfortable with each other.”
Goto wrote “Anybody Else” in Nashville with Simon Gugala (Kris Allen, Muddy Magnolias) and Michael Logen (Kelly Clarkson, Point of Grace). “Michael is such a great writer, he and I have written together a number of times,” she said. “We actually have another co-write on the EP called ‘Next Life,’ which I recorded with [acclaimed bayou soul singer] Mark Broussard. Michael introduced me to Simon, and we spent an afternoon in Nashville working on this one for several hours. I think all of us were not feeling our best that day for a variety of reasons, and really needed the pep talk that song provides.” The upcoming EP’s Nobody Warned Me title track, released earlier this year, reached number 34 on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart.
Everyone who moves to Nashville with big dreams has a story about their first few months getting settled and into the city, and Goto is no exception. “My first couple months in Nashville were BRUTAL! I moved at the beginning of July in 2016, and I lived in an attic of a really old house. It was a climate I had never experienced before, that southern humidity. I didn’t know it wouldn’t cool off at night! Those daily thunderstorms are wild. And the attic was infested with brown recluse spiders, which is what ultimately pushed me to move out. That room is probably the reason I met so many people the first couple months though, because I was doing anything I could to not be home with the spiders.”
“My first time performing in Nashville,” she continued, “was at The Listening Room Café with a friend of mine, [American Songwriter lyric contest winner] Lance Carpenter. He co-wrote two songs on my upcoming EP as well. He pulled me into a writers’ round with some heavy hitters, and I was fresh in Nashville, hadn’t nearly had the time to stockpile some songs I was proud of. I nearly threw up before going on stage I was so nervous. These moments push us to make us better though, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”