Donna Missal is a songwriter who writes emotionally strong tunes about love and desire. She’s also a singer whose voice, coolly seductive or openly emotional, proved to be an effective vehicle for her material. Setting her confessional lyrics against electronic backdrops that meld pop melodies with dynamics that bring a sense of drama to the songs, Missal established her style on early singles like “Keep Lying” and “The Keeper,” while she consolidated her efforts on her first full-length album, 2018′s This Time. Her sophomore set, the acoustic-driven Lighter, appeared in 2020 with the torchy In the Mirror, In the Night EP arriving two years later. After losing her major-label deal, Missal returned in 2023 with the vibrant, independently released full-length Revel.
Missal was born and raised on the East Coast; her father was a musician and songwriter who ran a recording studio in New York City in the ’80s, while her grandmother was also a songwriter in the ’40s. When her parents began raising a family, they moved to suburban New Jersey and her dad built a home studio from his leftover equipment. Missal developed an interest in singing when she was young, and began joining in on family recording projects, including an annual Christmas album they passed along to friends and relatives. In her youth, she also got involved in community theater for kids, and it fueled her love of performing.
In her teens, Missal made the jump from acting to singing in bands, and she next took up songwriting, collaborating with other tunesmiths. In 2015, eager to kick-start her career, Missal recorded a slinky, seductive number called “Keep Lying,” and while the track was created to persuade other performers to cut the tune, her powerful vocal caught the ears of music fans and the recording went viral. After “Keep Lying” racked up over 1.5 million plays on streaming services, Missal’s career as a singer and a writer picked up; she brought out several more digital singles that were embraced by listeners, including “Sick” and “The Keeper,” both released in 2016; she landed bookings at several major music festivals, including Bonnaroo and Bumbershoot, and toured with the likes of Lewis Capaldi, CHVRCHES, and King Princess. Missal’s star continued to rise in 2017 with the release of two more singles, “Holiday” and “Transformer,” as she worked on her first full-length album. This Time was released by Universal imprint Harvest in September 2018. In 2020, she issued her sophomore LP, a more acoustic-oriented effort titled Lighter, which featured the rousing “Hurt by You” and the torchy “Let You Let Me Down.” It was followed in 2022 by a five-song EP, In the Mirror, In the Night, which veered into murkier electro-acoustic territory bordering on trip-hop. Around this time, Missal was dropped from Harvest and effectively became an independent artist. After a year of personal exploration and soul-searching, she returned with her third full-length, 2023′s Revel. An overall more varied effort, its songs ranged from the dynamic electro pop of “Flicker” and “I Saw God” to introspective, acoustic songs like “Paranoia.” ~ Mark Deming