Miki Ratsula: Spring 2023

Moroccan Lounge (Los Angeles, CA)

On May 15th, Miki Ratusla took to the Moroccan Lounge stage for their first headlining show in 2 years. The Finnish-American singer, songwriter, and producer who has been releasing music independently since age 16 released their long awaited debut album, i owe it to myself, in March of 2022. As a result, Ratsula went on to support Lauren Sanderson, JORDY, and Sammy Rae & Friends on their first national tour. Ratsula followed the release of their album last July with made for them, an E.P. made up of gender neutral covers of popular songs by Phoebe Bridgers, Harry Styles, and more. The trans, nonbinary artist strives to spread inclusivity by sharing their innermost vulnerable feelings and experiences through their music. Miki Ratsula’s incredibly unique tone paired with their authentic songwriting creates a cathartic and intimately personal experience in each of their songs.

After a short intro song, Miki emerged from backstage wearing a homemade shirt that read “Trans Joy” and jumped right into performing fan favorite song, “Missing June.” They went on to play the two singles from their upcoming sophomore album, jealous of my brother, which explores feelings of gender envy toward their cisgender sibling, and “what would the neighbors think?” Miki explained they wrote the latter about their family issues upon realization that sometimes you need to take a step back after someone doesn’t show up when you need them to because they aren’t going to change anytime soon. Their soothing vocals effortlessly floated across the painfully emotional ballad. To their delight, the audience sang along to both songs wholeheartedly.

Accompanied by Carlo Gimenez on electric guitar and Syd Tagle on keyboard, Ratsula went on to play several songs from their debut album, including “suffocate,” “reeboks,” and my personal favorite, “i didn’t know any better.” They also performed crowd favorite “second” on the acoustic guitar. The heartfelt ballad explores how they were afraid their now fiancée would feel differently about them after getting top surgery. Their gut-wrenchingly truthful lyrics created a space where several audience members became emotional upon hearing the song. Miki also invited support act Jules Paymer back on stage to perform a stripped down, acoustic version of their newest duet, “The Daughter That My Mother Wanted.”

We were lucky to be treated to four unreleased songs from Ratsula’s upcoming project. For the first new song, “blue balloons,” Ratsula invited fellow queer artist Semler onstage to perform the song acoustically. The song, coming out on June 2nd, features an interpolation of “It’s My Party” by lesbian artist Lesley Gore and navigates the experience of being misgendered at your own birthday party. Ratsula also debuted “sims 3,” “5 foot something,” and “if i blame myself.” By showcasing this many new songs, we can’t help but get excited about their future releases. They closed the night with their gender neutral version of “steal my girl,” before coming back onstage for their encore song “i walked a mile in my room,” in which they took off their shirt to reveal their top surgery scars, as everyone in the room chanted their name in support and admiration.

Personally, I have been a fan of Miki’s music for the past 7 years. Seeing them perform live for the first time completely exceeded my expectations in ways I could never imagine. I have never felt safer than I did in Miki’s audience, knowing nobody around me was judging me for any reason. To feel completely seen and understood in a room full of complete strangers was an experience unlike any other. I am eagerly awaiting the release of “blue balloons,” as well as Miki’s sophomore album in its entirety.