The season finale of The Bold Type had viewers sobbing, anxiously awaiting news of a season 2 renewal, and hunting down the song featured in the emotional final scenes.
True to the approach that built a loyal fanbase early in this first season of the show, the intense episode handles themes of abuse and trauma deftly, leaving viewers with an uplifting message of empowerment. That message is amplified in the climactic scene by the song “Quiet” by MILCK, a singer whose own experience reflects the show’s central message that whatever you’ve gone through, you can own it and overcome it.
In the last two years singer Connie Lim, who performs as MILCK (her initials and last name backwards), has undergone a rapid rise from an underground artist to a pop star. Her songs have been featured in shows like The Royals, Pretty Little Liars, Lucifer, and even the Grammy-nominated Empire. Her #ICantKeepQuiet project has been shared around the world. She’s performed “Quiet” for the likes of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and at the closing of The 2017 Women In the World Summit.
But MILCK has paid her dues as an independent musician and songwriter in Los Angeles. Her viral success is the culmination of decades of hard work, starting with classical piano at the age of 6. More than anything, it’s MILCK’s uncanny ability to connect and even collaborate with her audience that brought her fame.
Many Tunefind fans had their first taste of MILCK and her understated, yet intensely confrontational style when “Devil Devil” was featured on The Royals and Lucifer. The singer defies the archetypal enemy, with the chorus, “Do not try me devil devil/ Cannot buy me devil devil / You won’t make a fool of me oh no / What makes you so special special / For that devious dance between you and me devil devil.” However, the enemy can’t be defeated so easily. He’s still there at the end of the tune, and MILCK is still fighting — as we all must fight against our own traumas. “You take the shape of everything that I’m drawn to / You take the shape of everything that I’m drawn to / But your eyes are dead and red / Red as rust.”
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“Devil Devil” surged in popularity, with over 1 million YouTube hits, 900k Spotify streams, and several weeks trending on Tunefind’s TV & movie music charts. MILCK says, “I was stoked because my cowriters and I use Tunefind all the time to check out the latest and greatest music being used for shows.”
MILCK began to get contacted by listeners from all over the world, connecting with a whole new set of fans. “Those fans are still some of my most loyal fans as of yet. Some of them are creating alternative music videos to my songs on YouTube, and emailing me with their own artwork as an offering in exchange for me giving them a song to enjoy. I’m constantly floored by the fans that come from TV shows [that have featured my music].”
MILCK’s intense connection with her fans played a major role in her breakout moment, when her song “Quiet” went viral after she performed it at The Women’s March in Washington, D.C. The song speaks the daily repression and abuse many women face, with the lyrics, “Put on your face / Know your place / Shut up and smile / Don’t spread your legs / I could do that.”
But the song builds to an anthem of refusal. “I can’t keep quiet / For anyone / Anymore.” Those words work on multiple levels. Not only are they story of MILCK’s own journey to speak out as an abuse survivor — they’re also the story of the song itself.
MILCK originally wrote the song in 2015 with songwriting partner, Adrianne Gonzalez, but was told to delay its release. But in the lead up to The Women’s March, MILCK knew the song itself had to come out. She saw people having political conversations they’d traditionally stayed away from, and struggling to cope with Donald Trump being elected president after bragging about sexually assaulting women. She knew she had to speak out by bring her song to The Women’s March in Washington D.C.
MILCK connected with local a capella group The GW Sirens and, after only a single practice, gave seven a capella performances at the march. The song exploded, and since then has become an anthem for women confronting abuse and trauma around the world. Many of those fans have sent MILCK their own moving recordings.
“I remember stumbling across a video of a group of vibrant and strong women joyously singing my song in Ghana,” she said. “Then they translated the song to their own language at the end. That really got the tears flowing. They really made it their own, and added their own fingerprint to it. It’s such a beautiful, cross cultural collaboration.”
This has been moving for MILCK, personally. “It feels empowering to know that so many people are using the song to inspire them to speak up. I don’t feel alone anymore. I feel confident that there is a power within each of us to create massive change. My story is proof that we have extraordinary power within ourselves when we persist.”
The song also made a powerful impression on the creative team behind The Bold Type. Music supervisor Rob Lowry had “Quiet” on his mind throughout the season, because it “felt like it was written for the show.”
Lowry said he knew the season finale was the perfect spot for the song after showrunner Sarah Watson sent him the first draft of the script. “While reading the finale – while also bawling my eyes out – I read this particular scene and immediately just sent the song to Sarah and said ‘This is the song that we’re using here.’”
He contacted MILCK’s management, but they weren’t currently licensing the song for use anywhere. MILCK had signed with Atlantic Records and was recording a debut EP, including two new versions of “Quiet.”
Fortunately, MILCK was moved by the storyline of The Bold Type, and the way the song fit, both within the scene and the broader message of the show.
“As a survivor of abuse it’s quite a beautiful moment to realize that my desire to heal created a song that is now being featured on a mainstream show in hopes to help women of all different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds heal.” shares MILCK. “When I was growing up, I didn’t have shows as progressive and woke as The Bold Type. In fact, I made it my life mission to be a part of the change, and the evolution towards more depth in media. So, this is a dream come true for me. This song placement is more meaningful than most, as the intentions behind this placement are so loving and honest. I LOVE that this is happening!”
The show’s creators ended up using an unmixed, unmastered version of the new recording in the show’s first cut to get the timing right, then brought in the release later, when it was finally ready.
Of the song, Lowry said, “I literally cannot imagine anything else there. If for whatever reason it wouldn’t have worked, I don’t know what we would have done. I would have been at a loss. It’s just a perfect moment and obviously it’s been great to be able to help coordinate a bigger message behind it.”
This new version of “Quiet” featured in The Bold Type was inspired by another fan version of the song: an orchestral cover performed by the Chamber Orchestra of Westridge School. MILCK said, “I realized a few weeks after [hearing that orchestral cover] that I had to create a version that was more centered around the beauty of coming together… and orchestra mixed with choir elements are the ultimate musical representation of what building community can feel like.”
The orchestral version featured on the show will be released in 2018. In the meantime, fans can enjoy a much more minimalistic take, “a stripped version with just me and my guitarist. I absolutely love when singers do stripped sets with an electric guitar… there’s this intimacy and tension; this push and pull, and a very magnetic chemistry between the voice and the electric guitar.“
“This stripped version (available here) is more about the moments we need to protect and care for ourselves in more intimate and private spaces,” MILCK said. “The song for the gentle rebel when she comes home after a long day of building and being with community. I hope it brings some rejuvenation to the listener. Some comfort and love. Some beauty.”
MILCK’s message of gentle rebellion and healing is a perfect end to a powerful season of The Bold Type. Her EP — including the new version of “Quiet” — will be out in early 2018 along with (we hope) a new season of The Bold Type. In the meantime, fans can keep track of the empowering work MILCK is doing through the #ICANTKEEPQUIET Fund or her official website.
〉More music by MILCK featured in TV and movies