By Rick Coates
Singer/songwriter Miriam Pico has been on the Northern Express radar for the past six years; in our recent survey, readers of the paper selected her as Best Solo Performer in Northern Michigan.
Releasing three CDs since she launched her professional singing career at the age of 21, Pico is now 27 and performs at several venues in the region, most notably Phils on Front. Her 2009 release Sbout Time with pianist David Chown has sold well and when the duo gets together to perform it is a big draw for area venues.
Born in Puerto Rico in 1983, she has been in Traverse City since the age of four. A 2001 graduate of the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools, she lives with her husband Josh and their young children. Her philosophy live simply, love extravagantly is their family motto, and at each of her shows, Miriam collects pantry donations of non-perishable food items, baby diapers and toiletries.
She took a few moments to sit down for an interview just days before she was expecting her third child.
Northern Express: How far along are you in your pregnancy and will you deliver this baby in your home as you did with your last child?
Miriam Pico: I am 39 weeks pregnant, the due date is this Friday (April 1), I had my second baby at home and I am doing the same thing. I have a midwife and she has another midwife that comes with her, my mom will be there to help with my two other kids. I have a couple of friends that will also be there and of course my husband. As long as I am healthy and the baby is healthy I cant imagine having a baby any other way but at home. I had my first at the hospital and second at home so for me personally I prefer the latter. They are telling me it is going to be a girl, we have one daughter (age 3) and one son (almost 2) already.
NE: So are you planning on taking a maternity leave?
Pico: I guess you could call it that. I am planning on coming back to work in July, but I will perform at the Old Town Playhouse fundraiser in June. I hope to take a break, but the challenge is I have never known how to do that. We will see if that really happens. Come summertime I have a lot of weddings and other engagements booked. Then in the fall I plan to start on my new CD, actually two CDs -- another one with David Chown and then another one that is more kid or family oriented that will have a combination of original material and some lullabies on it.
NE: As you look at your musical career to date are you happy with where you are at?
Pico: I am 27 and I feel that I am finally starting to realize what I like and dont like. When I started six years ago pursuing a professional singing career, it was based on a lot of other peoples influences and opinions. Now I am starting to say no I am making my own choices versus pursuing maybe other peoples expectations for me and now it is a lot more fun for me. I feel that I am finding my stride.
NE: When you say you are starting to find your stride, what does that mean?
Pico: First of, with myself as a person. Also with my sound and songwriting. I feel everything now is a lot more down to earth. I think another big thing is I am not trying to be something that I am not.
NE: When you look forward, what is it you hope to be able to accomplish musically?
Pico: I guess as long as I live in Northern Michigan I see my focus on performing here and not really traveling outside of the state to perform. Now we are planning on homeschooling our kids while they are little, so if some sort of opportunity were to arise that meant touring the country I would look at it, but that is not my focus.
NE: But most people who pursue music want to hit the big time. Are you saying that is not for you?
Pico: No, I am saying it is not a priority for me. When I first started I sent my music all over the place, I tried out for American Idol. I am not going to kill myself trying to become some national or international singing sensation. I really prefer a simple life. I like doing gigs here and there on my own schedule and I like being a stay at home mom.
I am not sure that being on that national stage is all that it is cracked up to be, but having not had that I dont know for sure. But what I do know is long before I wanted to be a singer, I wanted to be a mom. So I feel I am really living my dream, I get to be a singer and I get to be a mom, and by being a mom my real dream has already come true.
NE: How much does being a mom influence your songwriting?
Pico: I would say a lot. Being a mom makes me see the world in a totally different way. It makes me see my mom a different way. It has been a very transformative experience thankfully, because I look at who I was before I became a mom and I was like, wow. I was so selfish, and thank God having kids changes all of that.
Miriam Pico will be on musical hiatus until July. To keep tabs on her life as a mother and singer/songwriter find her on Facebook or go to www.miriampico.com.