Photo: Morgan Peyton.

VIAA has put in her time in the music industry, doing backup singing gigs for the likes of Willow Smith and Anderson.Paak; as such, her first effort to emerge from upstage is polished, solid, confident and full. “Lie” shows that VIAA (born Mia Coleman) has a strong notion of melody, but also knows that minimalism—that roomy chorus—can have maximal impact.

We’re debuting that track here as the next look at VIAA’s forthcoming EP, Shooting in the Dark, which I can verify is as breezy and into-a-groove as its singles. On “Lie,” she presents some of the scenarios women tell ourselves to justify staying with shitty dudes, something I’m sure plenty of us can relate to at one point or another. The hook is both eminently singable and a courage-inducing mantra for anyone who really just needs to dump his ass. There’s nuance and empathy in it too, though; VIAA’s voice is cake-sweet and leaves space for the truth that it’s not as easy as it sounds. And that’s cause she knows exactly how it feels. In a press release, she writes:

I wrote ‘Lie’ in the midst of a tumultuous time in my last relationship. Both of our insecurities were flaring and one of my partner’s insecurities was that I was being unfaithful to him even though I wasn’t. I decided to write a song as if I was being unfaithful, almost to spite him because that was my only outlet at the time—inspiration does comes from crazy places. That’s what the song initially was for me, but now it’s transitioned into a bigger message for me and others. A message more along the lines that we have all of these stereotypes and ‘lies’ placed on us, specifically as women. And, it was a reminder to ask yourself are you allowing those lies to run your life, are you allowing people to define you, are you living a lie you don’t even know you’re living because you’re so conditioned to it? That’s why I’ve been asking women what ‘LIES’ they think society puts on women and also what ‘TRUTHS’ can they speak in opposition to that, so other women can find some insight or inspiration to start living their truth freely.

YES, MA’AM. Listen to “Lies” below and “Hurt So Good” here. Shooting in the Dark is out this Fall on STEM Distribution.