Emerging country artist Carolyn Miller has begun to make a name for herself in Music City, being tapped “One to Watch” by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and a Next Up Now artist by CMT. Influenced by country music artists like Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill, along with pop icons Kelly Clarkson and Adele, Miller has used her big, powerful voice to create her own style that captures the true essence of country-pop. Her latest single “Ain’t About That” is the epitome of this.
I got the chance to talk with her about how she first got into making and performing music, what changed on “Ain’t About That” once she got into the studio, her music industry goals and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
I started working professionally as a kid – I grew up in show business doing theatre, commercials, voiceovers, film/tv, etc. A few years ago, while I was still working in that field, some doors unexpectedly opened and the opportunity to record original music presented itself for the first time. I took a chance, said ‘yes’, and I’ve never looked back. I’m about two years into my solo artist career and I’ve honestly loved waking up every day and embarking on this journey! It has been a wild ride so far and I’m so excited for what the future holds.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
Honestly – no. All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a baby was be on stage, singing and performing. I always knew that this is what I was going to do for the rest of my life! There was never a deciding moment or an “Ah-ha!” light bulb that went on suddenly. I always thought it was odd in middle school or high school when teachers would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up and some kids genuinely didn’t know! I couldn’t relate to it, because I truly always knew!
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music so if you had to describe the music you make without using genre names, how would you describe it?
For the message of my songs, I’m a big believer in knowing your self worth. YOU are special, unique, important and everyone brings something different to the table. I want my listeners to have a sense of confidence and self empowerment and always feel welcomed/invited into my world. I want to be an artist that is always viewed as warm and approachable and hope my music always reflects that! Sonically, I would say Manhattan meets Nashville. I’m a city girl with a country heart!
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill, Adele. Strong powerful women with big voices to back it up 🙂
Your most recent single is “Ain’t About That”. What’s it about?
It’s a fun, uptempo track that celebrates the moments and feelings with a loved one that can’t ever be bought, replaced, or recreated.
Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed ”Ain’t About That” or did the idea just come about organically once you were in the session?
This song was actually written by my friend Lance Carpenter (Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It”) and Makayla Lynn. Lance emailed me the voice memo from the day they wrote it – I heard the first 30 seconds and was hooked. I loved the message and couldn’t get the chorus melody out of my head! I knew from the beginning I wanted this to be the first song I release in 2020. Ironically, it ended up being super appropriate for the times we live in.
Were there any major changes made to ”Ain’t About That” once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
My producers and I shaved off a couple lines of the bridge and second verse that were in the original demo. We felt the cuts served our version of this song a bit better and it helped keep the run time of the track to a radio friendly length. Sonically, we fattened it up a lot. The demo that was sent to me was just pure, raw acoustic guitar and a vocal. We had fun putting our spin on it and bringing this fully produced version to life!
I know these are weird, uncharted waters and there’s a lot of uncertainty and plans being re-arranged/canceled/etc. But what can fans expect from you in the next few weeks/months? Are you planning to release more music?
“Ain’t About That” is my first of three singles to be released this year. I’m excited for this new wave of music and there will be a lot happening over the next 5-6 months! I have two other songs that just got mastered and will be ready to go when the time comes. I’ll also continue performing virtually as much as I can, so fans can see me performing 1-2x every week.
Prior to COVID-19, you were spending a lot of time on the road as an up-and-coming artist, playing shows and getting your name out there. What’s the best part about spending so much time on the road and the worst part? What are some of your favorite cities to visit and play a show in?
The best part is the traveling. I love visiting new places and seeing new cities. Touring sometimes takes you to states and places you wouldn’t normally plan a trip to! I also love meeting new fans. It’s fun to make friends/contacts in the cities you pass through on the road and it gives you a reason to keep coming back. Least favorite – not all green rooms are created equal. Some are awesome and glamorous, some are TINY with dim lighting and NO mirrors (what?!); as a female, that makes getting ready pretty challenging! As for my favorite city, it will always be New York City…aka home 🙂
You are still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
I would love to hit 100,000 streams on Spotify. Sign with a top booking agency and label. Become a CMT Next Women of Country artist. Nab a support spot on a major tour. So many…the list goes on and on! One step at a time 🙂
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
Dogs! I am getting a puppy in two weeks and I’m OBSESSED with watching training videos, following puppy Instagram accounts, and reading everything I can about bringing home a new pup. After the amount of research I’ve done, I’m confident I could have a side business as “dog whisperer” – LOL!
Featured Photo Credit: Rachel Deeb