Folk-rock singer-songwriter Amanda Pascali returns with a ballad about what could have been. Written when Pascali, now 24-years-old, was a teenager, “Mihaela Mihaela,” is a beautiful story inspired by love letters Pascali found addressed to her father, a soldier at the time, by a woman named Mihaela.
“When I was 17, I took a trip alone with my father to his home country. It was there, in Romania, thirty years prior, that he was thrown into a forced labor camp and kicked out of the country for rebelling against the government,” she explains. After visiting her father’s childhood apartment in the capital city of Bucharest and finding the stack of letters, Pascali began to wonder how things might have been different had her parents not immigrated to the U.S. and met there. “I became fascinated with her,” she says, “I started to think ‘who would I have become if my father never left; if Mihaela had been my mother?’”
Calvin Venus, the track’s mixing master engineer, explains that the song’s content was intentionally coupled with its instrumentation. “We took a 1990s-sounding song, orchestral strings that sound like they’re from the 1800s, a 1970s sounding bass track, a 1980s-inspired drum track and put it all together in one song,” he says. Everything working in symbiosis to add to the depth of Pascali’s storytelling, “Mihaela Mihaela” serves as a mystifying coming-of-age track. “I got the idea to write ‘Mihaela Mihaela’ when I was standing in front of a foggy mirror in the bathroom of my grandma’s apartment after I had taken a shower at 17-years-old, wondering ‘who is that girl in the mirror? And who would she be if my parents would have never come to the U.S.’”
She asks questions which can never be answered, but through them she is inherently working to capture the essence of her own identity better. “Mihaela Mihaela” surprises listeners with a twist in the bridge, in which she ramps up the track from gentle pondering to fervent passion. Quoting the words written in the letters, Pascali sings “tu sei quello del mio cuore” meaning “you are the one I love.” In this way, Pascali brings Mihaela in as a voice to the narrative, adding to the truth of what almost was. “Mihaela Mihaela” is part of Pascali’s Messenger EP set to release this summer.
“Mihaela Mihaela” cover art by Jessica Castro