Pia Mia is back like she never left. Boasting 6.1 million followers on Instagram alone, the global pop star has established her name in the music industry releasing timeless pop smashes for listeners all around the world. One spin of 2015’s “Do It Again” featuring Chris Brown and Tyga and you’re instantly thrown into a trip down memory lane — inspiring nothing but good times ahead.
At 8 years old, Pia stepped on stage for a school musical — a moment that would change her life forever. She explains, “Something clicked inside of me, it felt right. Everyone has their purpose and form, that’s music for me.”
Hailing from the island of Guam, the musician, actor, designer, entrepreneur, and author is a jack of all trades, getting her start by posting engaging videos on Youtube before landing lead roles in various commercials. Calling Los Angeles home for a decade now, Pia Mia describes herself as a “hopeless romantic,” which bleeds into her music in a way we can all relate to.
Now, she returns to release her newest single titled “Hot,” reeling in the legendary Sean Paul and rising star Flo Milli. To celebrate, she launches the new and interactive fan engagement tool aptly titled The Hot-Meter, allowing fans to unlock exclusive content, merch, and a chance to win the Pia Mia x Adam Selman Sport “Hot” gym look.
Flaunt caught up with Pia via FaceTime to discuss her roots in Guam, the “Do It Again” days, the “Hot” remix, collabing with Adam Selman, studio essentials, goals, and more!
What was it like growing up in Guam?
Growing up on Guam, you’re surrounded by family all the time. You’re going to the beach, going to BBQs and fiestas, living the simple life. Being able to appreciate spending time with family, living that slower-paced lifestyle where there’s not so much pressure. It’s about doing what feels good. Taking care of everyone around you, and everyone around you is taking care of you.
What was the turning point you realized you could do music for a living?
Well, I started singing when I was 8 years old in the school musical for Cinderella. Before that, I was really shy. Really relied on my parents to communicate and make me feel comfortable. After I started singing, I found my confidence and started doing the most that I could bear. Our industry in Guam is tourism, so shooting, recording, that entertainment aspect isn’t so big. I was singing at my school whenever I could.
I became a Japanese wedding singer at 11, my first job. I’d sing for government events. I’d upload my covers to YouTube, which my older sister Candace is the one who really started doing that for me. I’d send in my tapes to America’s Got Talent and X-Factor. I tried to do anything I could, really have fun with it and go with the flow. Follow the signs and do what felt natural. It was really my decision to go into music. I was really lucky that my family supported me, and the island supported me. Eventually I came to LA, accidentally ended up being here.
“Do it Again” with Chris Brown & Tyga was a big record for you, what are your fondest memories from those days?
Making “Do it Again”, getting Chris Brown and Tyga, putting it out was one of my favorite times in my whole life. Even outside of music, in general I was so happy. I had my real first love then. I’d signed my first major deal, I was putting out my first major single to a song I came up with Nic Nac and Marc Griffin. We internally got Chris and Tyga on it. We fought really hard for that song to come out and when it did, it had so much success. Such a good first step for me as an artist: learning how to drop singles and shoot big budget music videos. Colin Tilley did that video, I’ve loved him forever. I’ve known him forever, support him until the end.
I remember being on set that day, everything was so smooth. Chris and Tyga came, everyone’s outfits went together. The way the day was going: no hiccups, no problems. Everyone was really having fun. When that’s the vibe, you know you’re on the right track. Everything was flowing really well, I’ll never forget that time. If I could go back, I’m always on Twitter saying “take me back to 2015.” I was so happy then! I’m happy now too, but it was a special time.
“Hot” out now! What are you most excited for?
Just dropped “Hot” with Sean Paul and Flo Milli. I’m in a new deal. Everything in my world right now is new, I’m so grateful for the support I have. For Sean and Flo to be on the song with me, I love both of them so much. We’re in a pandemic, they got on and we’re able to put this out. We’re really lucky to do this. When I put “Hot” out in the beginning, even still now, it’s such an unsure time. I’m so happy the fans are really enjoying this. They’re super excited about the features, they really elevated the song and brought a whole new life to it.
Talk about getting Sean Paul and Flo Milli on board.
Getting Sean and Flo on was straightforward and simple, we sent them the song. I love both of them, they said “yeah let’s do it.” That was it. We got their versions, we got it mixed and mastered, we uploaded it ASAP because I knew the fans want more. They want more music, more visuals. Especially now since we’re stuck at home limited with what we can do, music is really filling an empty space for people and bringing that sense of relief.
The visualizer is separate from the video, right?
It’s not an official music video, but I did want there to be a visual element to the remix. Something more for the fans. They’re hungry and I’m hungry to drop more too, so I wanted there to be a visual to support “Hot” with Sean and Flo.
Was there any hesitation dropping during a pandemic?
Not being able to see my fans face to face to perform for them definitely makes me sad. At the time as a person, I want music. Music and visuals are helping me get through the pandemic, helping me find happiness and joy. An escape from everything going on. I’m excited to be dropping stuff because I know how much happiness it can bring. Every day when I go online, people ask “when’s new music coming? Who are the features going to be? When’s the visual coming?” I’ve always been about dropping a lot. I’m grateful to be able to even do it because it’s a tricky time, figuring out how to get everything done. We’re making it happen, pushing through.
You designed a “Hot” new gym look, in collaboration with designer Adam Selman for Adam Selman Sport. How’d that come about?
I’m really excited to be collabing with Adam Selman. We were introduced through my team at Electric Feel, and we designed a really sexy workout fit that my fans can win. It’s an exclusive limited capsule, so isn’t going to be around for long. I’m proud of these designs, I love it.
There’s also a “Hot” meter, which is this really cool tool that unlocks prizes the more you stream the single and participate. If you complete the “Hot” meter, you can win an Adam Selman set!
How do they participate?
You can get to the “Hot” meter from my website. If you complete all the steps before the 10 slots fill up, you enter to win the Adam Selman collection.
What’s your love for fashion? How would you describe your style?
Music and fashion for me go hand in hand. If I’m in an outfit I don’t like, I’m not going to do a good job. If I’m in an outfit I love, I’m going to kill it. I'll do what I need to do and it’s going to be the best. It really helps me feel confident, get in the right mood I need to be in for whatever the case is. It helps me express myself. I like to explore and try different things, fashion’s another outlet for me to do that. I do it in my music, in my writing. For the visualizer, Adam designed a special, custom collab piece. Getting dressed is part of me. Whether I’m going to be super girly and wear heels or if I’m going to wear a sweat outfit, I’m doing it on purpose. There’s a reason behind it.
How would you describe your style?
It’s so hard for me to put that into words, I like a lot of different styles and I have different moods. I don’t only wear one style. If I had to pick a couple words: sexy, street, edgy, island, unique. It’s hard to label. [laughs]
Was Drake impressed with your “Hold On, We’re Going Home” cover?
Oh my gosh, I haven’t been asked this question in so long. Drake dropped “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” I was so inspired by it I wanted to do my own version. I went in with Nic and Marc, we did our own spin on it. We redid the production and the melodies, but we kept the lyrics. At the time, I was at a dinner and Kanye had asked me to sing the song. Drake was there and I think he liked it, which is a good thing. My fans really liked that song. Even to this day, that song streams really well. It feels good when you put it on, it doesn’t feel dated or old.
Do you and Sukihana have a record coming?
I love Suki! We do have songs together. She’s the realist, what you see is really what you get. Every time I’m around her, I feel so comfortable to be myself. She gives people the space to be who they are and is very accepting.
3 things you need in the studio?
White roses, neon lights, and candles.
What’d you learn from working with Babyface?
Working with Babyface was the first time I ever saw a recording studio, recorded a song, saw how songs were made, saw how production happened. I knew nothing before I got in to deal with him, never been in a studio before.
Were you nervous?
I don’t think I ever felt nervous. I always really felt this is what I was supposed to do, so much more excited than nervous. Of course in the back of my head, I always want to do a good job. I’m always pushing myself to improve, analyzing the situation where I could’ve done it better, but overall I’m excited. Eager to learn, eager to be better, really appreciating the moments. I don’t come from this, my family isn’t in the entertainment industry. I come from a very small island and really, I’m out of place here. This is far from where I come from.
Do you still feel like that?
Yeah. I’m native to Guam, my whole family’s there. I go back multiple times a year, they come here. Guam’s home, always. I’ve been in LA working for a long time but there’s something when you go home, having that feeling of “I’m home.” There’s that comfortability, you get that sigh of relief. You feel safe when you go home.
Are you going home for the holidays?
I’m going to spend December on Guam. I did spend part of the pandemic at home too. I somehow got stuck in my condo in LA for 4 months by myself, which I’m never alone. I always have my cousin or a family member with me. That was really hard. I was supposed to go home for two weeks and I ended up being there for two months. Every year, we’re deciding “are we going there or are you coming here?” But probably home.
Talk about your journey to Electric Feel/Republic Records.
I’d met Austin Rosen during my time of being independent. I remember meeting with him and thinking he’s such a smart businessman. He seems to really understand me as an artist and believe in me and my project. We had a really good work chemistry so we decided to work together. We were looking to sign to a major, trying to decide where the best fit would be. We came to the conclusion Republic should be my new home. I love Monte and Avery, I’ve had such a great experience working with everybody there. I’ve been in the label game before, had experienced and learned a lot. I can see this is the right place for me. Everyone’s excited, everyone’s invested. Everyone wants the best for the situation so I feel good.
What can we expect from your forthcoming project?
I hope everyone is loving this “Hot” remix with Sean Paul and Flo Milli. I hope people enjoy the visualizer, it was really fun to shoot. Definitely more music coming soon, more of everything. I’ve had a lot more time to think and be creative during this pandemic. I’ve brainstormed a lot and had time to work, so a lot is coming.
Goals for yourself at this point of your career?
I want to keep dropping. I’m hoping eventually, I want to go get back on the road and tour. Live shows are such a big reason I love being in this industry, I like to see people face to face and be able to perform for you. Looking forward to more of that. I’ve had a lot more time to think and be creative during this pandemic. More of everything: more music, more movies, more books, more fashion. I hope everyone is loving this “Hot” remix with Sean Paul and Flo Milli. I hope people enjoy the visualizer, it was really fun to shoot. I got a lot more in store and still a lot of room to grow.