On September 7, 2019, Mitski performed at Summerstage in New York City’s Central Park, declaring the performance to be her “last show indefinitely.” After announcing the show, she clarified, “Y’all, I’m not quitting music! Me? Quit music?? I’ve been on non-stop tour for over 5years, I haven’t had a place to live during this time, & I sense that if I don’t step away soon, my self-worth/identity will start depending too much on staying in the game, in the constant churn.”
“I was thinking this was the last show I would perform ever, and then I would quit and find another life,” Mitski said. She also said of the performance, “It was beautiful. I performed, and I remembered how much I loved it. And I remember walking offstage, and I immediately started crying. Like, ‘What have I done?’”
Why did @mitskileaks want to quit music in 2019 — and how did she make up her mind to come back? In our new digital cover story, she reveals the answers for the first time https://t.co/DuSn5KtF0i pic.twitter.com/MXZ1SBz5C8
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) December 27, 2021
Lucy Dacus opened that concert, so Rolling Stone got her thoughts about the show. Dacus said, “I asked her, ‘How do you feel.’ The first thing she said was, ‘Oh, I’ve made a huge mistake.’ She verbalized it, and I felt a shade of terror for her.”
Mitski revealed that the pressures of fame are part of why she wanted to leave music, saying, “This is what really made me quit. I could see a future self, who would put out music for the sake of keeping the machine running. And that really scared me.” She also noted, “I guess fame is relative. There’s Taylor Swift fame and then there’s local-DIY-scene fame. The real struggle for me in getting bigger is, how do I maintain integrity in the performance? How do I make sure the audience experience is still intimate and emotional in this 8,000-cap room? How do I not resort to flashy pyrotechnics onstage? Because I don’t want my show to be about that — I want people to enter into a place with me and have an experience, and then leave having experienced something important.”
Of course, Mitski has since gotten back on the horse, as she has a new album, Laurel Hell, on the way in 2022.
Read the full feature here.