It was during singer/songwriter Angela Mukul’s first solo performance in an Orange County coffee shop that she knew she was on to something.
“All my friends and family came and I just realized especially in that moment that singing was what I wanted to do,” Mukul says.
Since then, the California native has received mentorship from Gloria Estefan and performed on national American television.
Last month, Mukul (pron. McCool) released a six-track EP, Free, after successfully raising over $15,000 in donations online.
“I just really wanted to embody that word ‘free,’” Mukul says about her new album. “I describe my sound as pop with a touch of soul. I went through a breakup recently. It was probably the biggest one I’ve ever gone through. So that definitely influenced some of my writing. You’ll hear that on the EP.
Mukul describes how she is able to take the complexity of a relationship and translate it into something that people can relate too.
“I am concentrating on one emotion that you are feeling and I am just trying to describe that feeling. With each song there is a different emotion,” she says. “I like to take it piece by piece and have a theme for each song, and one emotion for each song that people can relate to.”
In order to finance production of her album Mukul turned to online donation website Kickstarter. The Californian set a goal to raise $10,000 over a 30-day period.
“It was very successful. I am still fulfilling the rewards. One of them, the backer asked that I write a song for his wife’s birthday,” she says. “It made me realize that maybe I should start a side thing where I can do this for people because I really enjoy being able to do that. She was happy with it and it was pretty cool.”
Mukul received over $15,000 from 72 different donors during that period.
“It’s really humbling. Just to see the generosity of people that don’t even know me is really cool,” she says.
Mukul graduated from California State University-Fullerton in 2011, where she majored in business and minored in music.
“I wrote the song ‘Free’ in my last semester of college. I was dying to get out and I wanted to move and the music thing,” Mukul says. “I wrote that song in front of a pile of homework in what felt like two minutes.”
Mukul’s major concentrated heavily on entertainment management. Her courses covered everything from accounting to the legal side of the industry, which she says has really helped her career as a solo artist.
“All of that has definitely helped and continues to help me in my career,” Mukul explains. “Knowing how to take care of the business is a lot. The backend business stuff is really time consuming and you still have find time to be creative and perform.”
In 2012, Mukul made her TV debut on CW Network’s reality program The Next: Fame Is at Your Door Step. The reality program featured Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, John Rich and Nelly as mentors to the contestants and aired across the United States.
“Performing on national television was something I’d never done before and it was amazing,” Mukul says. “It was really great, I can’t wait for the next time.”
The contest featured local artists from across the country including Cori Yarckin, Jenny Leigh and Tilky Jones. Although the Cal State graduate did not win the contest, she says she’s grateful to have had Estefan as her mentor.
“It was so awesome. She is just such a wonderful lady and I still talk to her,” Mukul says. “It was just a whirlwind. It went by so quick. She’s just like a mom really. She’s won so many Grammy’s and I just can’t believe the legacy that she has. It was such an honour to work with her and to be able to talk to her.”
Mukul says she learned how to be natural when performing in front of cameras most about her experience on The Next.
“In situations like that it is easy for people to get worked up and nervous but just really you have to go do your own thing and not care that there is all this pressure, and lights and cameras,” she says. “Really being natural is what I took away from it.”
Earlier this year Mukul was nominated for a 2013 Los Angeles Music Award for best female singer/songwriter.
“It is awesome. I really appreciate that recognition and nomination,” she says. “I am happy that I have that nomination, but I guess we will see in November how that turns out.”
For more information visit angelamukul.com or follow her on Twitter: @AngelaMukul
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