Miller Blue is a singer/songwriter/producer from the UK.
The English artist revealed his debut EP “Cotton” on February 8th. Influenced by the likes of Frank Ocean, D’Angelo, James Blake and Erykah Badu, the storyteller is delivering an honest project showcasing Blue’s soulful vocals along with a heartfelt songwriting and a stunning production. Fusing elements of r&b, soul and jazz, the self-produced EP explores the subjects of love, friendship, lust, mental health, homelessness and appreciation.
“I feel this EP is simply a reflection of the start of my growth in to the person I’m becoming and will always without fail anchor me back to my roots,” explains Blue.
Miller Blue will be headlining at The Waiting Room on February 23rd in London.
“Cotton” is now available worldwide.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
I’m Miller. I’m from a little village in Shropshire called Gobowen. It’s sleepy as can be but I think that may be what makes it so quaint.
What's your story?
I guess a part of my story is that I spent most of my years up until I was 19 blissfully unaware of the world. My conscious view stayed within the confines of my quiet village and the surrounding areas for a long time. I guess in some ways this meant I was able to take the time to ponder and question a lot of the thoughts that came in to my head. Not much noise, not much distraction. Everything moved at a leisurely pace and I think for a long time, this suited me. Once music became a bigger part of my life I realised I needed to get away from this to grow both as an artist as well as a person.
When did you realize you could sing?
Honestly I don’t think there was a ‘moment’ as such, I remember singing along to songs I was learning on guitar when I was around 17, I definitely couldn’t sing with any technical ability at this point, I just tried to feel my way around it. Which to some extent I still try and do today, as I’ve never had any lessons. I remember making beats in my room but having nobody to sing on them, I also liked telling stories so I simply combined these two things and out came some songs. I remember being proud for one of the first times. Knowing I’d made something from scratch that I’d truly enjoyed the process of felt so refreshing.
When did you start making music?
17, I started to play guitar but also was making hip-hop beats on my laptop. However at this point I hadn’t realised I wanted to be an artist as such, I wanted to be strictly a producer. During my childhood my dad used to always bring me in to his studio to play around with his synths. I don’t think I paid as much attention to it all as he would of liked but I feel it’s definitely stuck with me as synthesis is something I now really enjoy and like to incorporate in to my work.
When did you decide to become an artist and release your original music? What did your family and friends think of it?
I remember it worrying my mum when I told her I wanted to study music at college. It didn’t make sense to her, not financially anyway. Nobody where I lived really aspired for such things, it was unheard of in Gobowen. There are not many job prospects around so often people generally take on labouring jobs, work at the local shops or have to move away. I just wanted to create and get better at what I was doing. My mum ended up saying for me to try a year with the more traditional route via college and that if I still wanted to work with music after the first year that I could change. So to prove to her I was serious I did just that. I tried studying things that could in someway be beneficial to me regarding music in the future so I studied business, media studies as well as ICT. I continued playing guitar and producing through the year and at this point my mum had realised I was being serious about studying music, so was happy for me to do so. It was during my first year studying music technology that I released my first song as an artist both producing and singing but under a different alias. This alias shall remain unnamed due to it being the worst name of all time. My family didn’t understand it, saying that we just didn’t listen to the same type of music so of course they wouldn’t, and that was okay. However at this time I took this quite personally and had a lot of self doubt. Although my friends and dad were encouraging, others at college often ridiculed for what I was doing creating a cluster of self doubt which I only perpetuated. It did push me to work harder and become better but often at my own expense.
You recently released your debut EP "Cotton". What's the story behind this project? When did you start working on it? When did you finish it?
Cotton truly means a lot to me. Although not conceptualised at this time, I guess it was started back in 2015 when I wrote “Marigold.” This song was originally released on an earlier project of mine which has since been removed, but once I’d realised the theme of this EP I knew that it needed to be on here so I went back in to the project, re produced it and re vocaled certain sections to create the version that now sits on the EP. I spent a few years at university in Leeds rather unsure of myself, both my character as well as my music. Combined with this as well as being in a very intense and fast moving relationship I feel in some ways I lost my drive and direction musically. In saying this I believe this was the very thing that stemmed certain things on the project as I guess without bad we could never truly appreciate the good. “Rose” came to me during this darker time in which I was self-medicating in attempt to ignore the realities I needed to face. “Rhythm In The Dance” came to me a little after during a trip down to London in which I had this sense of pure appreciation for the things I’d been gifted with in my life, both small and large. For “Rush” I’d just moved to London and it was during a period of pure bliss in my last relationship, a time at which I felt nothing could ever touch or corrupt the love that I had with this person. Lonely nights came after speaking to and spending time with various homeless people around London. I’d not seen such a serious vast amount of people sleeping rough prior to my time in London so it really came as a shock to me. I wanted to just let people know I had time to give, if it was wanted.
“Lately” and Streets Of Croatia both arose at similar periods. The hang drum you hear throughout “Streets Of Croatia” I recorded on my phone during a time spent in Pula. I’d just come out of a relationship and this was a serious time of self-reflection. A time that will never leave my memory, such a beautiful time with so many beautiful people. When I got back I continued working on “Lately” and found a little snippet of the ocean waves I’d recorded out in Croatia, so used this as the final thing you hear on the outro so that it all tied up nicely. In a nutshell, the project for me is simply a reflection on my growth over the last few years.
You self-produced the EP. Could you describe us the production process?
It definitely varied for each song. Sometimes I will start a vibe and go off of that to begin writing, however I will also often just think of a motif and in my head imagine the pallet of sounds it think would work well with it then from their start building up a soundscape to help amplify what the song is about. But I wouldn’t say I have a set production process for every song.
What are the different topics you are talking about on this project?
Love, friendship, lust, mental health, homelessness and appreciation.
What's the last song you did for "Cotton"?
“The Streets Of Croatia” intro was the last track that I started, it felt so nice knowing the last song I was working on came from such a good place.
What was the hardest part about making this EP? What was the best part?
I think for me the hardest thing was persevering with all of the changes to the track listing and being patient making sure I was entirely happy with everything. This took me a long time and I found myself getting very frustrated at points being unsure of myself as a lot was changing around me so I struggled to keep a constant, even with the EP itself. But looking back I’m so glad I took the time and waited it out where I needed to, I can’t imagine anything worse than releasing things that you weren’t happy with.
Why did you decide to name your EP "Cotton"?
I remember first listening through the finished EP and realising how it had grown with me over the last 3 years. From love to friendship to mental health to just life in general I guess. I’ve been forced to grow up quickly within this time and each song for me signifies a different part of this. Cotton itself is soft and grows in a little protective pod. Growing up in such a small village I felt similar in some strange way. However Cotton can be made in to a number of things and I feel this EP is simply a reflection of the start of my growth in to the person I’m becoming and will always without fail anchor me back to my roots.
What lessons did you learn after finishing the EP?
I think the process of the EP release has taught me a lot about the industry, definitely helped prepare me for future releases.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
It always varies. In the past, it’s come from a spontaneous thing I’ve witnessed, to something a friend has said, to a personal experience, to hearing a piece of music. I guess you can never know when something’s going to pop up and make you want to create from it. But I believe it can’t be forced, it has to come naturally to be true.
What do you like the most about making music?
Surprising myself is one thing. You never know what’s gonna come out of a day, so looking back on what you’ve made can be very rewarding. But it’s a rollercoaster as I definitely have the polar opposite at times also. I love meeting new people, seeing where their inspirations lie, connecting on a level that allows you to create seamlessly is a beautiful thing. Also just learning I guess, always learning.
In your opinion, what makes a good song?
Many things can make a good song, of course an understanding of song structure, dynamic changes etc etc can help massively when approaching songwriting. However it definitely can depend on the genre as well as the original intention behind the song itself. But for me I’d say honesty is the most important thing. I believe you can tell if something is honest in music, whether that is via a vocal performance, way someone has built up their track sonically or from another element. Things resonate with different people for different reasons, but as long as it’s honest then it’s much easier to do so.
What advices would you give to young producers?
Find what you enjoy doing and do that. Time is something we have to spend wisely, so we may as well try using it doing something that we enjoy. Hopefully this turns in to what you can call your work and there will be less friction between wanting to do it and having to do it. Keep that passion aliveeeee. Also, get clued up. The competition has become crazy due to the accessibility of good quality DAW’s and the ease of being able to make good quality audio. You’ll need to find a way to stand out in some sense. Once again though, there’s not a simple answer for this but persistence is key.
What are your goals for 2019?
I wanna keep trying to find beauty in the small things in life, not look too far ahead so that I can enjoy each moment. While saying that I’m very focused on music right now, I think finding a balance with anything is the hardest thing in life, so I’ll be working on that too. I also want to keep improving myself as both an artist as well as a person, as I think it should hopefully go hand in hand with my music becoming better and growing organically. But yeah, a lot more music to come from me for sure.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
More open-mindedness. More questioning of things we’re told. I think the more as people we truly think for ourselves the easier it is for us to distinguish right from wrong and don’t get deluded so easily. I think to change the masses we first have to look within ourselves for what we need to change and go from there.
What biggest lessons have your learnt as an artist and as a human being?
To trust myself. Too much self-doubt only leads to destructive behaviour. Easier said that done though, it’s natural for the ego to self criticize.
Be nice where you can, you never know what someone else is going through. Just because someone is acting a certain way doesn’t mean it’s purposefully aimed at you. I guess just trying to be mindful where I can of the possibility that someone else may be going through something I simply couldn't understand without taking the time to, so for that very reason I try to be patient with my reactions.
Things come in waves, it’s been important for me to learn that when things are a certain way, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be that way forever. Things pass and things change.
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