If you preordered Angie Miller’s upcoming EP, you’re getting a personal touch that you might not even know about. Miller, who rose to fame during the 2013 season of “American Idol,” is addressing envelopes herself to send copies of her brand new EP, “Weathered,” which comes out Tuesday.
“My apartment is hilarious right now,” she says. “It’s me, my boyfriend and my best friend who are here, and there’s a stack of T-shirts and a stack of CDs and envelopes everywhere.”
Though Miller was not the first “Idol” hopeful to sing an original song on the show (we can’t forget about Larry Platt’s “Pants on the Ground”) her original song, “You Set Me Free” was a breakout hit. After her elimination on “Idol” in the top three, Miller had talks with multiple record labels, but she says she opted not to pursue a deal because it would mean sacrificing her independence.
“I realized that getting a label deal and doing all of that stuff would take away from what I truly want to do, and I would have to compromise, and I know I wouldn’t be in control of my career,” she says. “I want to know everything that’s going on, at least to start out. I want to make mistakes and learn how to do things right.”
But didn’t she learn all about the music industry from being on “American Idol”?
“Oh, gosh,” she says, considering the question. “‘Idol’ was a very different world than the one I’m living in now. I didn’t know a single thing about the music industry, and I was kind of left in the dark. I think ‘Idol’ is boot camp for performance, it’s boot camp for doing interviews, it’s boot camp for dealing with a lot of stress and still staying positive, but it’s not boot camp for Music Industry 101.”
“You Set Me Free” was uploaded to iTunes after her TV debut of the song. When asked how this might have helped her financially, she says, “Honestly, I don’t even know. I have no idea.”
“I’m very thankful for my time on ‘Idol’ though, and they got me all of my fans — all of my Dreamers, as I call them,” she says. “I wouldn’t be the artist that I am today without ‘American Idol.’”
The ‘Weathered’ report
As for the artist she is today, “Weathered” showcases Miller’s songwriting chops as well as her vocal chops.
“With this EP, I just think the most important thing out of everything is that when people listen to the six different songs, I want them to hear six different points in my life over the past two years,” she says.
“Weathered” is also more artistically daring than the usual post-“Idol” fare. The title track is a building instrumental storm, almost reminiscent of The Cure, before Miller shouts an incantation through the fog. And it’s over in about two minutes.
“I’m not a super commercial, bubblegum pop kind of girl. I wasn’t even that on ‘Idol’,” she says. “I did lots of singing in lots of places, growing up before ‘Idol.’ And I heard lots of no’s and I didn’t always win, and I think that was good. I think it prepared me, because you’re not going to win at everything. I didn’t even win at ‘Idol’! Who knows if I’ll ever completely win at something, but it doesn’t matter. I can still sing! I’m not a huge fan of competition anyway. I just want to sing.”
Miller's thug life ... on the North Shore of Massachusetts
Miller grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts before moving to Los Angeles at the beginning of this year. One of the tracks on "Weathered" is an anthem called "This is the Life" with the refrain of "that's the way we do it, raised in Massachusetts."
"That is a tough word to fit in a song," she says of the Commonwealth. "Oh my goodness, that song came out of nowhere. This song was written in the most hilarious way. I wrote it with three guys that go by the name of Red Decibel. We were just sitting in a pizza shop and we were like, 'We want to write a fun song!' And the original lyrics were 'thug life' instead of 'this is the life.' Oh my gosh, it was terrible at first but then we were like, 'Let's talk about my life, growing up in Massachusetts and call it 'This is the Life." And we just started humming the pre-chorus and as a joke one of the guys said Massachusetts there, and it fit! And we were just like, 'Wait, what?! It fits! Let's keep it there!'"