MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Jana Mila’s “Like Only Lovers Could”

There’s something weirdly familiar about Jana Mila’s Chameleon. But that doesn’t make the Dutch singer/songwriter’s New West Records debut any less impressive. It can be a fine line between formulaic and wonderful, but Mila offers more than enough stylistic surprises and understated charisma to fend off complacency in the average listener.

Chameleon is out August 30. In the meantime, there’s “Like Only Lovers Could,” the album’s delicately intense opener.

“I wanted to capture the turbulence of love,” says Mila. “It has a way of twisting and turning you around, feeling like the best thing or the worst thing that’s happened to you.”

Mila hadn’t planned on writing a love song. “It was late at night, and I was humming the words and singing a melody,” she says. “The title arose when I thought about the insane power two lovers can have over each other. It can feel like a force that’s uncontrollable and overwhelming—some would even say it’s a form of psychosis.”

Mila grew up in Amsterdam with a mother who sings Brazilian songs, a father who plays saxophone in big bands and a brother who studies Indian music. At 17, she entered a contest for young songwriters, which led to shows around Holland. Somewhere along the way, she met up with multiplatinum Dutch superstar Ilse DeLange, who arranged a Nashville songwriting trip for the two of them in 2022. There they met well-connected producer and session musician Todd Lombardo. Something must have gone right, because Mila was back in Nashville working with Lombardo in a matter of a few months.

Lombardo is known for his work with Kacey Musgraves, and there are tracks on Chameleon that wouldn’t sound out of place in that Grammy winner’s setlist. Other moments recall veteran producer John Leventhal’s work with Sarah Jarosz and Shawn Colvin. But the fittingly titled Chameleon’s secret weapon is its wealth of ideas, whether it’s country pop, mountain folk, intimate acoustic storytelling or weighty piano ballads. There’s also Mila’s unwillingness to lose herself in it all.

For “Like Only Lovers Could,” Mila found her inspiration in Laurel Canyon. “I’ve always been a big fan of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young,” she says. “And the melody I came up with was really asking for some warm, comforting harmonies.”

We’re proud to premiere Mila’s “Like Only Lovers Could.”

—Hobart Rowland