When Donna Missal hits the road on tour, she has needs.
“I’m like super serious about my health on tour because the most important thing to me…I really want to do a great job and put on a great show. And the only way for me to do that is to be physically all there…so I bring a lot of vitamins with me.
The road is an amazing place to be inspired by new places and meeting new people, so I always have my notebook ready to take notes and write songs. I write so much material, so many lyrics while we’re driving around the country. So, I would bring my notebook.
And my refillable water bottle, because at every venue for every show it’s gotta be right there with me. I’ll drink straight out of the tap in any city, I don’t care. Trying to lower my impact in every way possible.”
And the New Jersey native (she of the beautiful mermaid tattoo: yes, my envy is for real) is going to require these things and more in order to keep up with her fans as they – and she – regress to what was either the best of times or the worst of times: high school.
With her knock-out debut album, This Time, which boasts poetically soulful and stellar songs like “Jupiter,” “Keep Lying” and “Girl,” festivals, and solid support tours under her belt, she is now embarking upon her first headlining tour. For Missal, there’s nothing quite like the palpable energy and sense of connecting with an audience when she’s onstage. And this tour time around, the audience is hers.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to play a show where, I sold tickets, you know – for people to come see me. I’m really excited to see what that’s like…I can’t wait to meet people and to really physically feel it in the room.”
Missal also made the command decision to make her shows a uniquely memorable event for herself as well as for her fans by engaging a prom-theme. For an artist’s first tour under their own steam it’s a pretty bold undertaking, but one with purpose.
Welcome to the THIS TIME Tour. Think school dances, tuxedos, Glamour Shots, that first kiss, the dress. And the feelings. Missal shares her concept with the enthusiasm of a 16-year-old.
“I definitely want it to be an experience. I want it to be something that from the moment you walk into the venue you’re transported somewhere emotionally.”
As a product of homeschooling, Missal never had the “pleasure” of traditional high school moments like a graduation ceremony or picture day – but that doesn’t mean she can’t relate.
“The more people I talk to, the more I understand how negative that experience has been and could be for so many people. I mean high school is not really a time when most people consider that they had their shit figured out – that they knew who they were and what they wanted and to have that big, Hallmark experience of going to a school dance, going to prom, and to not be in a place where you feel good about who you are and what you want… it can take a real long time to get there.”
Fortunately, we’re living in a time when we are more open and honest about the frailties of self-esteem and self-acceptance, as well as acknowledging how absent they often are in adults as well as youths. And whether the thought of those teen years fills you with glorious nostalgia or absolute dread, here’s to Missal attending the high school socials that she never had and fiercely advocating for everyone else getting a musical do-over on their terms.
“Bring whoever you want to bring, come alone and make friends, wear whatever you want to wear. This is for people to really relive that experience in the way they want to remember it. And I just can’t wait to see how people show up. I’m totally encouraging people to dress for their formal, if you’re a woman and you wanna wear a suit, I encourage that. If you’re a dude and you wanna wear a dress, I love that. I just want people to show up exactly how they want to. And I want an experience that makes them feel included, accepted, safe.”
And that’s because inclusion isn’t a plot twist for Missal: it’s her storyline and one making itself more and more prevalent in our cultural and artistic narrative. Here we are post-Grammy Awards 2019 and two vital aspects that distinguished this year’s awards from previous years were the sheer number of women taking home a Grammy (31) and no less than 13 LGBTQ artists nominated (such as St. Vincent, Brandi Carlisle, Janelle Monáe, Bebe Rexa, and Linda Perry), 5 of whom performed during the live broadcast. As a woman who openly identifies as bisexual, Missal is absolutely here for the representation and recognition of absurdly talented queer artists who, “…straight up fucking deserve it.”
“Watching Teddy Geiger nominated for songs that she’s written for Shawn Mendes: when was the last time we saw a transgender woman recognized in that way for her achievement?”
Fair point. But proud as she is to be an artist inspiring people to be more comfortable in their skin and helping shift cultural thought towards members of the LGBTQ community, at the end of the day Missal admits that she is ready for us to reach a place where it’s no longer a topic of conversation.
“I wanna be a part of that but, of course, the ultimate goal – the ultimate result, I think – that we’re all hoping for is at a point it doesn’t even matter. We’re not talking about it, no one cares what your sexuality is, and it’s not relevant to the art that you make. Because while it’s our identity, it still does not define the person that you are.”
Now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to check out the THIS TIME Tour dates and feel free to come as you are because by the sounds of it, Missal can’t wait to live in this moment with you.
“I’ve been getting so many amazing messages like, ‘I’ve just got my dress,’ ‘I wore this to my real prom,” or people asking their significant others or their friends in the way would ask someone to prom. Asking them to go on this tour with them…that’s exactly what I was hoping for and it just gives me goosebumps even thinking about it.”
Check out Donna Missal’s directorial debut with the video for her latest single, “Jupiter.”
THIS TIME NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
2/20 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
2/21 Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
2/22 The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
2/24 U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC
2/26 Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC
2/27 Aisle 5 – Atlanta, GA
2/28 The Basement East – Nashville, TN
3/09 Flying Burrito Festival- Phoenix, AZ
3/16 House Of Blues, Peacock Room – Houston, TX
3/17 89th Street OKC – Oklahoma City, OK
3/18 Dada Dallas – Dallas, TX
3/20 Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
3/21 Soundwell – Salt Lake City, UT
3/23 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
3/24 Neumos – Seattle, WA
3/26 The Independent – San Francisco, CA
3/29 El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
3/30 The Casbah – San Diego, CA