Reality TV competitions have chewed up and spit out so many talented musicians over the years, but not many get a second chance in the industry. That was never going to happen to the headstrong Milku, though.
After making it to the semi-finals of Australia’s Got Talent as a teenager, Milku – real name Miles Elkington – has bounced back impressively with his debut EP You Make Me Feel Beautiful, a record that captures someone fully becoming themselves as an artist.
Gone is the nervous kid wondering why on earth someone like Kyle Sandilands is judging their voice, replaced by a charismatic indie pop star, making the music they want to make.
You Make Me Feel Beautiful also captures the artist’s chaotic mid-twenties – battling raging anxieties, trying to be successful in life and love, learning to be vulnerable, and finding happy highs through it all. “Life live out loud, no matter how hard things get” the message seems to be in the EP’s playfully bright compositions.
Recently spotlighted as triple j Unearthed’s Feature Artist and with a growing following on TikTok, Milku feels primed for his breakout moment.
To celebrate the release of his EP, Tone Deaf asked the Sydney-based singer-songwriter to break down each song in more detail, which you can read below.
Milku will also be launching his EP with a national tour in May, visiting Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney (more information here).
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Milku’s You Make Me Feel Beautiful is out now.
You Make Me Feel Beautiful Track by Track:
I started this song by laughing and playing a piano riff into an iPhone voice memo, which is the recording you can still hear as the main sound in this track. I wanted everything to feel instinctive, not heady or clever; I started singing random words that were about being sparkly and destructive and confused in your 20s, then layered cheesy synth solos and dank synth bass while playing a drum kit so hard it sounded like Michael Bay explosions. I love starting the EP with this weird song — I want people on the back foot and not sure what to expect next.
To me this song is about the loneliness we feel under the big game we talk and the beautiful photos we take, and the gnawing feeling that maybe we’re not all we’re cracked up to be. I thought it would be funny to set that idea to the happiest synth sounds I could possibly make. I like things that are totally ironic and totally serious at the same time and that’s how I view this song.
‘Sposed to Do’
When I was making this song I pictured it on a see-saw between deeply funky, sexy R&B grooves and basslines – which I love – and nerdy, cheesy computer sounds, because I’m just not that cool. To me, I hear uncertainty and anger in this song, which was something I really let myself explore for the first time on this record. I had a pretty strict religious upbringing, and it was cool to just let myself say ‘I have no clue what the fuck I’m doing.’
‘Real Like a Feeling’
“Nothing’s real like a feeling, but you try to package it up.” I wrote that line fed up with the way we sell each other on neat arguments and narratives, instead of just letting ourselves feel our emotions underneath. I put that idea over warm synths, acoustic guitars and acoustic drums, all sounds that make me feel nostalgic and happy and sad at the same time, like this song.
‘Beverly Hills Cop’
This song is the weirdest track here and maybe my favourite. I like putting things that are loud and funny — huge synths, beverly hills cops putting me in handcuffs — next to the most tender emotions — finger-picked acoustic guitars and someone who makes me feel beautiful. To me, this song does that so well in one minute and 30 seconds that I decided to name the EP after it.