Instead of joining a symphony, classically-trained harpist Mikaela Davis decided to take her prodigious talents to the popular market, touring with artists like Bon Iver, San Fermin, and the Punch Brothers. Her debut album Delivery, which comes out in July, is the culmination of years of work.
Davis started taking harp lessons in elementary school, and has shown a single-minded dedication to her craft ever since. Even now as she’s building her solo career, Davis also plays in several bands based in Rochester, NY, where she lives.
But between recording, promoting a new album, rehearsing with others, and touring the world, Davis, 26, struggles to balance her work life with her personal life. “I’m checking my email 24/7,” she says. “There’s no sign-off time.” In the free time she does have, she watches Law & Order: SVU, cleans her apartment furiously, hangs out with her friends, and catches the occasional show.
For Davis, self-care is all about balance. While she’s often surrounded by other people (Davis calls “getting to travel the world with my best friends” her favorite part of the job), she resists equating self-care time with alone time, as self-imposed solitude can make her anxious. And “while eating healthy is important, sometimes watching crappy television and eating a pint of ice cream is what I need,” she says. Preach.
In this week’s “Shortlisted” Davis gets candid about her self-care routine. If hanging out in Target undies doesn’t do the trick, she can get through a demanding work week with the help of some “golden milk.”
“Bitches get stuff done.” — Tina Fey
Tea tree oil everything! I use Meditree tea tree hydrator lotion on my face every morning. It’s not super expensive, and makes my face feel great.
Radiotopia’s The Polybius Conspiracyexplores a video game conspiracy that appeared in arcades in the ’80s. So good, and made a 10-hour day of driving go by super fast!
Happy place outfit
Cheers to wearing Target undies, covered in a blanket, on the couch watching TV. Though if I had to choose one pair of pants to wear forever, I would choose my Madewell jeans. Comfy and cute.
Currently reading + listening to
I’ve been trying to get through Neil Young’s memoir Waging Heavy Peace, but I think I keep reading the same five pages over and over again. I’ve been revisiting Wilco like crazy lately. Lots of their albums make me nostalgic and put me in an overall happy place. The past month, it’s been their self titled record on repeat.
I’m still trying to figure this one out, but I know for a fact keeping to some sort of schedule (even loosely) helps. I’ve found that I get more done when I’m busy. When I have lots of time on my hands I tend to get the “ah, it can wait until tomorrow” mentality.
Instagram. I have a pretty short attention span, so scrolling and stalking my friends by way of pictures is the perfect way to pass the time for me.
Good hair secret-weapon
Oribe Matte Waves, for sure. But in general my hair colorist Katie at Scott Miller in Rochester is my secret hair weapon
Flats, sneakers or heels
As much as I flirt with sneakers, I’m a heels girl through and through. It’s actually easier to play harp in heels, as the heel gives my feet leverage on the pedals (there are seven of ‘em down there). Gimme some Frye boots and I’m good to go.
Self-care method of choice
My friend Johanna Warren recently passed through Rochester on tour and made me “golden milk.” I immediately had to have it! It’s filled with Turmeric, dates, and other herbs, mixed with rice milk (or any sort of milk) and a touch of ghee. Instant mouth orgasm.