Today we are excited to feature Ohio native Emily Miller on the site for the first time. A multi talented country, bluegrass and gospel singer who is actually classically trained, Emily has learned from and performed with some of the best in country music including Grammy Award winning Tammy Rogers King of The Steel Drivers and Sheryl Crow. She moved to Nashville in 2014 to study at the city’s prestigious Belmont University where she was a Commercial Voice major and one of the two lead singers in Belmont’s Bluegrass Ensemble. Having graduated in 2018 she is now carving her name as a talented country artist, having released several singles in recent years including “Prince Charming” which was used as the theme for the US television show “Renee’s Bridal Takeover“. While her most recent release “Take The Trash Out” is full of attitude and sass, it is also very empowering and is accompanied by a fun video directed by Logen Christopher.
It was great to get the chance to chat to Emily via zoom to find out a bit more about her career and of course this fabulous release!
1. LH Great to chat to you, thanks for your time today! Where about are you talking to me from?
EM I’m currently in Nashville, I’ve been on the road so much in the past couple of months so it’s good to be home for a couple of days. I’m headed out of town again tomorrow …so home is really in my car these days it seems!
2. LH You’ve been living in music city quite a few years now, do you consider it your home yet or are you still an Ohio gal at heart?
EM Yeah, I love going home to Ohio and seeing my dog, that’s my favourite part …I have a golden doodle and I miss him so much when we are here! But Nashville is definitely home, when I’m not here for a long time I miss it! It’s changed a lot in the past 7 years since I started going to college here but the people and the core are pretty much still there.
3.LH Before we chat about your latest single, which I absolutely LOVE by the way, can we just rewind a bit and talk about your musical background, which is a bit different to a lot of artists I interview as you are classically trained I gather, both as a pianist and vocalist. How did that come about?
EM When I was 6 years old my elementary school had after school programmes, and my Mom signed me (and my sister, who’s 4 years older ) up for piano, and I absolutely hated it! I quickly realised it was classically based, and tho I’m very grateful now for my classical training (I believe it’s a healthy core for a musician and singer) it was not my thing! We got our classical assignment and we were supposed to practice all week… I didn’t practice! I was playing whatever country song I could find the chords to, and sing… but singing and playing piano at the same time were very difficult. But I got good at sight reading, because I didn’t practice what I was supposed to so at my lesson the following week I’d just have to give it my best shot! At junior high I was told that I should take voice lessons to help me, obviously the majority of that is classically based… I won a few competitions singing classically, got some scholarships for college out of it, so it was really nice but when it came to what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, it wasn’t classical music! I’m too much of a hillbilly bumpkin at heart ! So I came to Belmont in Nashville for college and found that commercial music, country music, was where my heart lies. And I haven’t looked back since!
4. LH So what was it about the Country music you grew up listening to back home that stole your heart? Were there any particular artists you loved?
EM What I love the most about it is the storytelling. I’ve never been a reader, I was always the one who got magazines to read on vacations whereas my sister would get a chapter book. I liked seeing visuals and that type of thing more than reading. I gravitated towards voices that would depict the story… Alan Jackson, Reba was one of my biggest influences, she’s my queen, Trisha Yearwood, Ashley McBryde, I love all of them. I grew up listening to a lot of hymns in church, so me and my sister would listen to the country hymns station on Pandora.
5. LH So let’s move on to your newest single “Take The Trash Out” which came out earlier this year. It’s got a very different vibe to your previous releases and shows a totally different side to you. Was that something you set out to do after showing your deeper side on the reflective ballads you’ve given us?
EM I think so, a little bit…I can write a sad ballad all day long, and when I was getting ready to put my EP together I realised I didn’t have very much tempo. And anyone who knows me knows I’m very sassy, so I needed song that showed that side of my personality. So I brought in one of my best friends in town, Drake Austin, and he brought in the concept of “take the trash out” to me and asked me how i felt about it and I loved it . We sat down before covid hit and wrote it, I call it my ” Sass Jam”, I love that song so much!
6 . LH Am I correct in saying it’s your first co-write? How different was it, having someone else to bounce ideas off?
EM Yes! It’s the first song I’ve put out that’s been a co-write. I have written more songs with people since then. I feel I can tap more into my emotions when it’s just me as I don’t have to worry about a filter, but writing with Drake was awesome as he’s my best friend and he knows me at my lowest and my highest here in Nashville so I don’t have to worry about it. And he’s a fantastic songwriter. He learned through me that I write 100% my truth, I can’t sing a song and pull it off if its not 100% me. So when we were writing, there were a couple of times when we would go back and forth, and he’d say ” I think this would be better” and I’d be like ” But that’s not me!” .
7.LH Do you have any bucket list co-writers you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
EM Yeah, I’m a really big fan of Lainey Wilson, I love her style and personality, the way that she writes is so unique! So she’s definitely one of those who, if I ever had the chance, I’d love to write with. Or Ashley McBryde. I’d say they are my two favourites right now I’d LOVE to write with!
LH Ok, let’s put that out into the universe! Who knows what might happen! I’m massive a fan of them both, too!
8. LH There’s an important underlying message in your single, too, isn’t there….don’t undervalue yourself or settle for second best.
EM Yeah, I think in my own life I’ve sometimes struggled with that exact message. I think as females it’s sometimes hard to see your worth, because we are sometimes (not in a good way but not in a bad way) dominated so when the chance comes and we can take the trash out of our lives… it could just be a friend we’re taking out… we are taking control of our lives and realising our worth. That’s a big message in my song “Avaline” for her as well. I think its a big thing I struggled with, I found a lot of trashy men along the way and that’s a joke but also NOT a joke . So I think this song is just as much for me as it is for other people.
9. LH I absolutely love the track’s arrangements…especially that fiddle which kicks in immediately… did you know when you were writing it what type of sound you’d be after when you got to the recording stage?
EM Yeah, I actually kind of did on this one. I normally let my producer Colt Capperrune guide me in that way, but with this one I felt Miranda Lambert vibes, her song “Kerosene” with a driving force from the beginning with the guitars. So when Colt suggested fiddle I was without hesitation 100% yes! I’m a big fiddle fan. And we were very blessed to have Michael Cleveland on there, he’s like 12 time fiddle player of the year award winner and has had a documentary made about him, so to have him on the track was a big thing.
10. LH And of course there’s the brilliant video too! Looks like you had a total blast that day, is that a side of the creative process you particularly enjoy?
EM It was my very first video, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. So when the creators and director asked if I had any ideas I told them that’s not my wheelhouse, this is all you! So they came to me and said let’s take a more comedic approach and use blow up dolls and different scenes, and told me I was the one who was going to be acting all the time..I was a little hesitant, here’s my tv debut, sign me up for an Emmy or something! But it was so much fun, it was a bit like my songwriting at times, they’d come up with scenarios for the video then there was some that said ” to be determined” on the write out and I’d say things like ” well, I did have an ex who lived in his parent’s basement, could we do of those kind of situations ?” Or ” There was a video game player” ….I liked putting truths into the video. So by the end, what we decided on, were actual scenarios that had happened in my life!
11. LH So, earlier on you mentioned your EP and that was going to be my next question, we’ve had a few singles from you now, is there an EP or album in the works? We know the answer, but how’s it shaping up?
EM We are done with it! I’m just getting the visuals ready for it. We don’t have an official date yet, but we are going to do a physical release here in November, probably toward the end of the month, and then the digital release in January, after all the Christmas and holiday music that comes out. After Halloween and Thanksgiving I’m in full Christmas mode, so there’ll be the physical copy for stocking fillers coming in the next 4-5 weeks.
12. LH And what about live shows, maybe an EP launch even…
EM Yeah I’m always playing places, so we’re looking for January for different venus and stuff, but wherever they tell me they want me to play I try to look there . And hopefully one of these days we can get across the pond ….
I’ve never left America, I’d love to come over there sometime!
LH And we’d love to have you, we love Country music here so please keep us informed!
Thanks again for your time, I can’t wait to hear more news about the EP and maybe chat with you again in the future.
EM Thanks for having me!
Emily’s music is available to Steam/Download via all the usual platform. Stay up to date with all her news news at emilycmillermusic.com and of course via her socials too, find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to her YouTube Channel for the latest videos.
Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)