Voice of nature – Mick Pedaja

The pure, open music of Estonian singer Mick Pedaja speaks of an artist with a deep connection to the environment

A fishing trip with a friend when he was 15 first opened Mick Pedaja’s eyes to the wonders of nature. ‘We talked for five hours, gazing up at the clouds, and I suddenly realised I’d always been blind to the beauty of my surroundings,’ he says. After this epiphany, he started going hiking and camping in the forest, and this remains a weekly activity, even in winter.

Having studied guitar at music school and started songwriting in his teens, it was inevitable that nature would find its way into his music. Sometimes this influence is overt, such as the birdsong that opens his 2014 single ‘Ärgake’ (Wakening). ‘I like making field recordings,’ Mick explains, ‘and I sometimes use sounds from nature and from cities in my music, because these sounds inspire feelings in all of us.’ But nature also comes into his music subconsciously, he says, and it can be heard in the organic feel of his songs, and the purity, warmth and openness of his sound.

Amid a vibrant Estonian pop scene, where the likes of post-Soviet rapper Tommy Cash, electronic indie-pop artist NOËP and art-pop band Ewert and The Two Dragons have gained international recognition, Mick has been making his own waves, winning a prestigious national award for his first album Hingake/Breathe, and setting up several side-projects to continue his musical experimentation. From performing solo and with his band, he now also collaborates closely with his singer-songwriter wife Angeelia, and is playing with orchestras. Mick made his debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of the Baltic States, Finland and Russia in March 2019. He describes the experience of performing his music with Kristjan and the orchestra as ‘truly special’. ‘It’s amazing,’ he says, ‘to have this orchestra with me on stage. I feel very open and fearless when I perform with these musicians.’

For his ‘Midnight Sun’ collaboration with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Mick will be joined on stage by Angeelia to perform a selection of his songs, specially orchestrated by US composer Charles Coleman. The songs are taken from Hingake/Breathe and also Mick’s latest album Avaimus. Nature is once again a powerful theme on this recording, which includes songs with such titles as ‘Heat and Leaf’, ‘Tundra’ and ‘Cold and Bright’, as well as a trio of instrumentals that layer string quartet and electronics and form a three-part ‘Forest Hymn’. ‘Performing my music with orchestra is such a beautiful experience,’ says Mick. ‘It’s like you have all of nature, all your ancestors, with you and supporting you.’

Biography

Mick Pedaja is a musician and composer from Rapla, Estonia. Known for his atmospheric electro-acoustic palette, chilled rhythms and floating vocals, Mick says his mission is to bring warmth and peace to his listeners. He launched his solo career in 2014 with his debut EP Ärgake. His first full-length album Hingake/Breathe was released in 2016 and won best indie/alternative album award at the Estonian Music Awards 2017.

On 24 February 2017 Mick took part in a concert to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, at which he performed his song ‘Ärgake’ as well as ‘Kuulake kõik’ by Sven Grünberg. Also in the spring of 2017 Mick began an experimental electronic side project called SUMRA, resulting in the album Laniakea. Mick’s latest album Avaimus, released in December 2018, is inspired by the forests and natural surroundings he feels close to, and, like Hingake/Breathe, contains a mix of songs in Estonian and English.

Kristjan Järvi is among the diverse composers, performers and producers that Mick has worked with so far in his career. Mick also collaborates closely with his wife Angeelia, who is a singer and composer.