Interview: Soulful Singer/Songwriter Jen Miller

This month, brilliant indie vocalist, ukulele master and all-around musical badass Jen Miller – representing Columbus, Ohio – tolerates my line of questioning for the second time around.

She covers the recording process, Kickstarter, her favorite bands, The Red Wedding, her quirky but beloved fans, how she’s grown as an artist and more. Read on, dinosaurs…

It’s been two years since you released your first EP on iTunes, what do you think the major difference between your new album, Overgrown, and Forget the Dirty Hearts is?

I think the major difference between the EP and the album is that I really got my hands dirty here. For the first EP, it was my first time in the studio. We did it all in one weekend and the songs didn’t really have a chance to ripen in the studio…we just recorded them as quickly and as well as we could in one 48 hour weekend.

This time around, I worked with a producer, Derek Snowden, who really helped me push my sound. Some days I would come in the studio and be like “Derek, I wrote a song last night! Let’s see what we can make of it!”, and that’s what we would do for the night. It would come in as vocals and a ukulele and get transposed to electric and banjo by the end of the night. That’s just how it goes. So the sound is definitely more developed and the songwriting more solid.

Kickstarter and YouTube seem to have been your friends over the years… What projects have you backed on Kickstarter? 

Kickstarter burnt an imaginary hole in my pocket for a second there. I actually found it thanks to Julia Nunes…I am a massive fan of hers and she and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole are the combined reason I started teaching myself uke. She crowdfunded her first 2 albums which I (of course) backed obsessively.

Who are you into of these days musically? Anyone you fangirl over who readers might not have heard of?

I AM FANGIRL CENTRAL. A little less crazy than the One Direction fans though. I riot less.

Huge fan of Ohio natives Twenty One Pilots…Allen Stone, Kate Nash (swoon), Ed Sheeran’s new album, Nina Nesbitt, Passenger and Stu Larsen.  Continue reading “Interview: Soulful Singer/Songwriter Jen Miller”

Video: Nina Nesbitt – Selfies

I know I’ll come off as a total asshat saying this, but I’m not so shabby at predicting fame. Like Lana Del Rey long before SNL, Emma Stone in Superbad, Cee Lo’s “F*ck You,” Ellie Goulding, Adele…

If I was fond of leaving the house I would pursue a career as a talent scout. (But I’d probably end up handing out flyers at the mall, luring raccoon-eyed saps to my fraudulent modeling agency.)
nina nesbitt selfies still Speaking of modeling and people who should be famous, Nina Nesbitt is really great. She’s a legitimate songwriter from Scotland who had a pretty big hit in the UK called “Stay Out.”  Continue reading “Video: Nina Nesbitt – Selfies”

Interview: Brooklyn Singer/Songwriter Vieem

Vieem (pronounced vie-em) is an East Coast songstress on the rise. Oddly, I had just been telling myself that I need to interview someone again, since my correspondence with Spektor-soundalike Jen Miller was completely painless and massively beneficial to myself and anyone reading.

Of course I couldn’t think of exactly who to contact about an interview. Then, like a slap of fate, I get a message in my inbox from an indie artist with a link to her SoundCloud.

Now, this barely ever happens, musicians contacting me, but when they I do I feel the looming presence of shame, like I’m going to let them down somehow. After the mild anxiety, I realized that this was actually perfect timing!

So I wrote to her about her album, Be It Hated, the industry, and much more and she did a great job of answering my sometimes amateur questions with depth.  Continue reading “Interview: Brooklyn Singer/Songwriter Vieem”

Jerry Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011)

78 year-old Jerry Leiber (left) passed away today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA, of heart failure. Leiber is one-half of the songwriter duo responsible for the Ben E. King hits “Stand By Me” and “Spanish Harlem,” and “Hound Dog” originally sung by Willie Mae Thornton (made famous by Elvis) AND “Love Potion No.9” by The Clovers (which was covered by everyone from AC/DC to Neil Diamond to Robert Plant)

Leiber’s longtime partner in prolific platinum-hit-making glory was Mike Stoller (also 78) who composed music on piano while Lieber lyricized famous lines like:

Is that all there is to a fire?”
Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is
if that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
(“Is That All There Is?” 1969)…

Continue reading “Jerry Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011)”