Mia Zapata – American rock singer
Mia Zapata was an American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist, soloist of the group The Gits (1986-1993).
Mia Katherine Zapata was born on August 25, 1965 in Louisville, Kentucky.
At the age of 9, the girl learned to play the guitar and piano. She was influenced by such artists as Bessie Smith, Billy Holiday, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Hank Williams and Sam Cook. In 1984, Mia entered the college located in Yellow Springs, Ohio. In 1986 at college she and her three friends (Joe Spleen, Matt Dresdner and Steve Moriarty) formed the band The Gits.
Punk-rockers The Gits were Mia Zapata (vocal), Matt Fred Dresdner, (bass), Joe Spleen (guitar) and Steve Moriarty (drums). Their debut album Frenching the Bully was released in 1992 and Enter the Conquering Chicken in 1993.
On the evening of 6 July 1993, Zapata spent some hours drinking into the night at Seattle’s Comet Tavern. At around 2.30 am, Zapata bade farewell to a friend she had briefly visited on Capitol Hill and went in search of a cab home. Mia Zapata’s body was discovered dumped in a dead-end street about an hour later. She had been viciously assaulted, raped and then strangled with the drawstrings of her own sweatshirt. She died on July 7, 1993 in Seattle, Washington. Mia was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in her hometown of Louisville.
Her killer, 50-year-old Cuban immigrant Jesus C Mezquia, was a serial criminal with a history of violence towards women. Mezquia was sentenced to thirty-six years in prison on 25 March 2004.
A month before the murder, Mia and The Gits, signed a contract with Atlantic Records to tour the US in support of their new album.
Recordings of Mia Zapata’s remarkable voice and lyricism came to light, preserved on tape, in the late nineties.
In February 2013, a play called These Streets, inspired by the stories of and featuring music by Mia Zapata and other female musicians in Seattle, debuted at ACT theatre in Seattle.
After the Mia’s death, her friends created a self-defense organization Home Alive, which was closed only in 2010. Over the years, the organization organized a number of charity concerts named after Mia Zapat, in which different groups such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Heart and others took part in different years.