Erin Mikaelian, the lead vocalist of Lebanese band Pindoll, is not only a very talented singer but also an incredible performer. On stage you'll find her dressed in dark Cabaret-inspired outfits with a heroin chic 1950’s starlet-meets disheveled army punk girl look. She is the epitome of cool, and she isn't afraid to show it.

It is because of Erin that the Pindoll experience is not only auditory, but also one of the best shows in town. checked in with her ahead of the band's upcoming gig at the 'Jim Beam Rocks!' Music Festival in Dbayeh on Friday night to find out what we can expect. Check it out. Hi Erin, let me first tell you that I feel cheated. I watched your last performance at Radio Beirut and there was a moment when you looked me in the eye and sang to me that you were fed up with my love. It meant a lot to me. When the concert was done, a friend of mine told me you looked in his eye and told him the same thing! What have you got to say for yourself?
Erin: My audience is one person, who's ready for a revolution... I don't see different people while I'm on stage. But I promise next time to be only fed up with you [smiles]. I thought your new album, Twisted Times, was a knockout record - it's been a staple in my home and car stereo. What's been the public’s reaction to it so far?
Erin: I enjoy being criticized by the public. After all, that’s one of the best learning experiences I could have. But so far, no one has reacted negatively so I assume they liked the album. I know you teach singing lessons, and with a voice like yours, I am not surprised. But that’s only a portion of what you offer on stage. I can safely say you are the craziest and most charismatic performer I have seen perform in Lebanon. Can this be taught? Is being technically flawless enough, or do you advise your students to lose themselves and go crazy?
Erin: Thank you for seeing all that [smiles]. I think being charismatic and crazy is first about being yourself. This is why I help my students search inside themselves to find out who they truly are, who they want to be on stage, what their message is, their purpose in singing, and all sorts of things. Being able to explain your thoughts clearly and your ability to communicate that to your audience is far more important than just singing the right notes. And yes, I tell them to lose themselves and never forget to take a sip from their glasses on stage once in a while. Do you, personally, have any idols you try to channel through your performances?
Erin: Yes! Ever since I was a kid I was enchanted with Michael Jackson's unstoppable "artistic" energy. To this day, I feel it flow in me. He is a big inspiration for me. I remember watching you years ago in an empty pub in Sanayeh, I was probably the only one there. You played on and you were all bloody fantastic, just like every time I saw you guys. Having been so good but playing to almost no one, did you ever think about quitting?
Erin: One true listener is enough to motivate an artist than a group of people who aren't into the show… And yes, I did think about quitting. After all, life is all about losing and finding [your way]. After all those years, you are now playing at the Jim Bean Rock Festival and have several shows coming up. How does it feel to have finally made it big? And where do you see Pindoll in a few years?
Erin: We are actually very excited to play at the Jim Beam rock festival. We rescheduled our practices and hopefully we will perform some new songs, too. Personally, I don't like thinking ahead of time regarding music. To me, art is freedom. I like to set it free. And I believe that when you do something passionately you'll succeed in it no matter what. The Jim Bean concert has an impressive Lebanese roster of very promising bands, something that hasn’t happened in Lebanon for a long time. Who are you excited to watch perform? Any competing bands that have your respect and whose records you enjoy?
Erin: Actually, I'm happy to watch all our local bands play. Unfortunately I have never had the chance to see them all perform live before due to my overly hectic life. But now is the time. You mentioned you had more upcoming shows. Can you please tell our readers when and where you are performing next? And please, do tell us, any new albums on the way?
Erin: So far we have two upcoming shows: Jim Beam on June 27 in Dbayeh, and the 'Light FM 25 Years of Music Celebrated' event on August 2 at the Zouk Mikael Festival.

We've already gathered a bunch of ideas regarding our next album, but we're taking our time. We’re looking for a quiet place to escape from the routine and hopefully start our next journey in the wild.

So there you have it, folks. Scoop of the season: perfectionist Erin Mikaelian was disappointed that Twisted Times did not get any bad reviews; she’s a Michael Jackson fanatic;, she’s dedicated to her craft; she’s evasive about the details, but encompassing in scope; and she’s thinking of taking off into the woods. That’s it, I’m sold.

Buy Twisted Times. Watch Pindoll Friday night in Dbayeh. No, you cannot skip because of a funeral. Tell them it's Pindoll, they’ll understand.

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