Time drags as young Milla longs to have her new songs recorded

September 16, 1994|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic

Poor Milla. Here she is, still on tour behind her first and so far only album, "The Divine Comedy," when what she really wants to do is get her new songs recorded and into the CD stores.

"I mean, the album is pretty old," she says, over the phone from a record company office in New York. "It was recorded two and a half years ago."

She makes it sound as if that were some time back in the last century. To many of us, two and a half years isn't very long at all, but when you're just 18 and your life has been changing as quickly as Milla's has, well -- two and a half years can seem like an eternity.

For one thing, the music career is a relatively new thing for Milla. In 1988, when she was 12 and still used her last name, Jovovich, she made her debut in the movies. Since then, she has appeared in a half dozen films, including "Dazed and Confused," "Chaplin" and "Return to the Blue Lagoon," her first starring role.

"Acting was definitely my first love," she admits. "But I've never experienced the emotions that I've experienced in music with acting." Some of that, she says, is because music is so freeing. "It's like losing yourself," she explains.

"It's your quickest connection to spirituality, it's your quickest connection to sensitivity. Because music just seems to strike something so emotional in people. I mean, you hear a song you love, and you get chills. Or you hear a song that is, like, your song with your friends, and you cry. Or you laugh. It just hits to the quick, you know? It hits your nerves like a needle."

But it isn't just the emotional charge of being lost in a song that drew Milla to her current career. "I think music is how I express myself best," she says. "That and through writing. I've always felt more comfortable behind a pen than in person, and I think music just gave a more surreal aspect to my writing."


"I think what I'm trying to say is that when I write a song, my words tend to be serious," she answers. "But then the music comes in, and usually the kind of melodies I write with my guitar are very pretty, are very flowing. It gives it sort of an edge, because here I am with these words that are far from happy, but this music that's pretty and flitting around everywhere."

Milla almost didn't get to make that kind of music, though. In fact, if it hadn't been for her pianist, Chris Brenner, "The Divine Comedy" probably would have had a different sound altogether.

"He was really the first person, the first adult in my life, to listen to my demos and say, 'Milla, what are you doing? I've heard your music and read your lyrics -- this isn't you.'

"At that time I was 15, and everybody at the record company was telling me to go in this one direction," she explains. "They were telling me how much money they're spending, just trying to manipulate somebody as young as I was who'd never been in the music industry before. I was getting really freaked out.

"So it was a real help to have somebody who was an adult on my side, saying, 'You're right, and please, don't do something that's so far away from who you are.' "

Still, it could have been worse -- she could have recorded and released the songs she'd written when she was 14.

"I would hate to have made an album then," she says, laughing. "I listened to some old songs I had written, and, like, they're funny because they're so dramatic and so dark. It probably would have worked, coming out of a 14-year-old. But I would hate to be doing publicity for that now."

Granted, those songs were only written a couple years before the ones she is doing publicity for, but as Milla well knows, a lot can change in two and a half years.

Hear the "Divine"

To hear excerpts from Milla's album, "The Divine Comedy," call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6181 after you hear the greeting.

Here's Milla

Milla, opening for the Crash Test Dummies

When: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m.

Where: Warner Theatre, Washington

Tickets: $23.50

Call: (410) 481-8327

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