A version of this story appeared in the summer 2020 issue of Uncommon Path.
Singer-songwriter Connie Lim, who performs as MILCK, became a leader of the Women’s March movement when her song “Quiet” became the inaugural uprising’s anthem in 2017 and garnered 14 million views in just two days. The song gave a voice to women around the world, who recorded their own versions and posted them on YouTube. For the Los Angeles-based artist, it opened doors, from performing beside Yoko Ono at the 2019 Women’s March to signing with Atlantic Records. Her latest EP, Into Gold, explores a core theme in her life: that we are part of nature.
How does nature influence your creative process?
Nature helps me understand the patience that it takes to create something authentic. When I am hiking in nature, I remind myself of the time it takes a tree to root itself and grow. L.A. has a lot of great trails, especially in the Angeles National Forest. They are not as dramatic as the Flatirons in Colorado, where I also hike a lot, but there are ocean views.
You recently covered the song “This Land Is Your Land.” What drew you to it?
I always loved that song. As an Asian American, I’m singing it with the intention of including Indigenous people and giving the song another perspective. When Woody Guthrie wrote it, his intentions were to question the status quo of society. A lot of covers actually wipe out the most political verses. There’s a verse talking about people standing in soup kitchen lines where he says, “I stood there ask-ing, Is this land made for you and me?” It creates this questioning and suggests we need to address some of these things. A lot of my work is to question the status quo.
This was the case at the first Women’s March, where your song “Quiet” resonated with millions. Do you think the movement’s momentum continues to build?
I think, as with everything, there’s going to be a slowdown. The Women’s March was like boiling water. Then what happens is this water starts rising, like how women are rising right now, and it becomes many micro move-ments. Women are taking it on in their own lives. It’s gonna rain in different places, and we won’t even realize it was from the march.
In the video for your new song “If I Ruled the World,” you describe seeking social justice. In the end, you are buried in dirt and transformed into flowers. What does that mean?
We all return to earth, and we all are part of earth. What we leave behind is then the fuel for the next generation, or the flowers that are going to bloom. I like the reminder that my actions, my choices and my way of living will affect my niece and will affect my niece’s niece. The chase for profit and success in this culture is leaving toxic soil for our children.