Angie Miller has had a good year. The 19-year-old Beverly native went from devoted fan to placing third in the most recent season of "American Idol," from penning songs in her bedroom to playing a major national concert tour with her fellow finalists. Rock star life, suddenly granted.
But on Friday, Nov. 1, Miller will support less fortunate young people by performing at the annual ABCD Awards Gala, a fundraiser for Action for Boston Community Development, a nonprofit that helps low-income families overcome poverty and identify economic opportunity. (Film director Spike Lee will be a guest speaker for the event at Boston Marriott Copley Place. Tickets are at bostonabcd.org.)
Before the initial luster of Idol-associated fame fades, Miller is also working hard to ensure her own future success as a singer: She’s released her first single, “You Set Me Free,” secured a music publishing deal and management team, and will move to Los Angeles after the holidays to shop around her first batch of songs for a record contract.
Your Idol journey started just over a year ago. What’s been the most rewarding part of the last 12 months?
The most rewarding thing is the team of people that I never would have without that experience. At the same time, all the "American Idol" hype is winding down, slowly but surely. People can stop following you because Idol’s over. So it’s about starting new: keeping the fans I have and trying to gain more. I can’t wait to be able to release my original music. It will be the best feeling.
What was the most amazing thing you've experienced?
Before "Idol," I hadn’t had the chance to travel much at all. So just the fact alone that my first tour ever was this incredible thing with massive tour buses and all this crazy stuff – I can’t even explain what that felt like.
The judges are nowhere in sight. What kind of artist do you want to be?
I learned a lot about my musical style from the show. On "Idol" I was sort of this piano rocker girl. And that’s not entirely what my music sounds like. I want every single song on the album to be something I’ve written, something I’ve experienced. My voice on everything — family, life.
So what kind of songs are you writing now? Will they sound more pop?
There’s a song about what I’m going through right now: how there’s so much I want to do, so much passion that I have. But it’s really creatively worded. [Laughs] I can’t give it away. There’s another song about a friend I know who has gone through terrible things. And there are some really fun party songs: party like, “let’s have a great time,” but not, “let’s get wasted and drunk.” I don’t want to do typical pop, but I will say one of my favorite songs right now is “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. It’s a very anthemic pop song that still has a band element; a perfect mix.
You’re supporting ABCD on Friday. Is fighting poverty something that's important to you?
It means a lot to me. I got the chance to go to India in 2006, and I saw the poorest of the poor there. I was there for two weeks and it was so eye opening. And the people were so proud of what little they do have. Seeing them so happy with so little really makes you think: “Why am I complaining about my Starbucks again?” But I know that poverty exists all over. That kind of suffering is all around us and we just may not always see it.
Think fast: If you were an American Idol judge, which one would you be?
I think I’d be a blend of Keith Urban and Simon Cowell. I love Simon. I love how honest he was and that he wasn’t afraid to tell someone the truth. I just didn’t always like how he said it. [Laughs] Keith was super nice, so real and such a genuine guy.
Finally: What are you wearing for Halloween?
Honestly, no clue. I feel like every year I’m a cat. So I just don’t want to be a cat. No cat, no catwoman. Other than that, I have no idea. Maybe I should put the question to Dreamers [her fans] on Twitter?
Crowdsourcing costume ideas? I like it.
Fine. Here goes!
Editor's Note: Solicited responses to Miller’s Twitter inquiry included “Miley Cyrus,” “Batman” and “chocolate cake.” At press time, we could not confirm whether she was resorting to cat ears.