Austin Mulka details the inspiration behind his music, biggest influences, upcoming EP, tragic death, future goals and more in exclusive interview

Austin Mulka is a musician, martial artist, writer, and political activist from Detroit, Michigan. He studied Philosophy, Economics, and Political Science at Hope College and worked at the Charles Koch Institute as public policy intern, with a focus on Criminal Justice Reform, before transferring to the University of Michigan. At U of M, Austin received his degree in English and Literary Studies. 

Austin writes all of his own music with guidance from friend and producer Nick Delbis. In addition to being a singer/songwriter, Austin also plays a variety of instruments, including: guitar, piano, saxophone, drums/percussion, bass, ukulele, and is currently learning violin. In choir, Austin sang as a first tenor and a first bass.

When asked about leaving politics to pursue English he remarked: “The pen is mightier than the sword.” 

He added: “Whether for better or worse, writing has been one of the most powerful instruments of influence in the history of human civilization. From Plato’s “Republic” to Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. From Shakespeare’s “Henry V” to Martin Luther King JR.’s “I have a Dream”. From Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” to George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. From comedians’ notebooks and teachers’ lesson plans to talk show hosts’ teleprompters and preachers’ napkins. From fanatic followers and fanbases starching nations to a single reader killing time at a bus station. Writers have influenced lives and changed the world around them. I’m inspired to write by the potential to be a voice that positively impacts people’s lives and inspires other as writers prior have done for me. Being a voice for the masses of the disenfranchised has always been the dream.” 

Austin’s debut single, “Soul”, details an emotional story about a past relationship. 

“It’s strange listening to my songs sometimes and remembering emotions I was feeling at the time. I have songs written from when I was 16 where I kind of roll my eyes because it’s so melodramatic about something I barely remember. But, yeah, Soul was essentially about trying to convince an ex-girlfriend to stay friends despite breaking up. I choose it for my debut because it was around the time of the break up and the emotions were very fresh.” 

Austin released his first EP: “This is my Message to the World. Part 1: Life” by the end of 2019. The EP is a tribute to one of his favorite poets, Emily Dickinson, and makes references to John Keats, Jane Austin, and Emily Bronte. “Emily Dickinson had a lot of strong opinions and controversial beliefs, but she delineated them in such a vague and careful manner.” Austin said. 

“This is my Message to the World will be released in four sepereate EPs, mirroring Dickinson's four part collection of poems. I plan on having a single or album in between each release instead of four consecutive releases.”

Austin talked in depth about Dickinson’s wide variety of subject matters, ranging from flowers, love, and life to despair and death. He wanted to choose poems that captured Emily’s fascination with death while also emphasizing her love of nature and beauty. 

“My goal for the collection is for the songs to be very different from each other in terms of mood, subject, and feeling but still fit together as a whole” he explained. 

As for his musical influences, Austin also draws inspiration from a variety of artists. 

“Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Fiona Apple, Rebecca Sugar, and Regina Spektor” he said. 

“As far as my biggest influences, I don’t know where to begin. The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Frank Sintra, the Jackson 5, and Queen all had a huge influence on me. Some more modern influences are Panic! at the Disco, Maroon 5, Fiona Apple, and Regina Spector. And lyrically, I love Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar, even though my style is a lot different” he detailed. 

Austin explained that his biggest source of inspiration has been his family, mainly his dad. 

“My dad is an incredible singer and musician and not the type of person to sugarcoat things. He’s the first one to tell me if my music sucks or if he doesn’t like it. Once I was sitting on the couch practicing a song I wrote, and he turned to me and said: ‘Dude, you are a great f****** songwriter.’ It was really motivating coming from him, because he’s someone I am used to being brutally honest with me. My mom, grandparents, friends, and brothers and sisters have also been really supportive.” he explained, 

He continued: “My family on my dad’s side have also always been extremely supportive. My Uncle Chuck and cousin Joe Mulka [are] huge inspirations. I would listen and play guitar with them during the holidays. My Uncle Chuck was one of the most technical guitar players to whom I’ve ever had the privilege of listening and my cousin Joe took lessons from him and became quite the player himself. All that talent being within the Mulka family made me feel like a part of something really special.” 

Pausing for a moment and taking a deep, Austin added: “My Uncle Chuck very recently passed away. At the funeral they displayed some of his guitars, had Beatles pictures all over, and played some of his music. It was really rough.”

Austin is optimistic about his career in music and plans on pursuing music for the foreseeable future. 

“I have come to accept that I am literally insane. Michael Bisping once said: ‘quitters never win’ and that’s definitely how I approach the music industry. The last year, I’ve done almost nothing but music. I don’t sleep, I don’t go out, I barely see my friends, I’ve been obsessed with writing, recording, practicing, and promoting my music. I’m prepared to spend 70 hours a week, until I’ve written and recorded all the albums and EPs I have planned, working on a hobby that pays a negative salary.” he said. 

Regarding what he wishes to accomplish in music, Austin explained: 

“I don’t see any accomplishment I could achieve as something to look at and think: ‘I did it!’ I just want to record the songs I have written to the very best of my ability. That would be my accomplishment, to finish everything I have planned to release, and move on to my next project. I’m not focused on accolades, I’m taking things one song at a time. It’s much too early for me to even begin thinking about accomplishments.” 

Though he was featured in recently released Lifoti's January/February 2020 issue 11, you can check it from below link's for your country:

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