19 year old singer/songwriter Kate Miller started songwriting at the age of 9, drawing inspiration from the likes of the Buena Vista Social Club and Paco Pena. Always searching for inspiration, Kate has an ever -growing list of contemporary female singer songwriters she admires - KT Tunstall, Lissie and Lianne La Havas to name but a few.
We caught up with Kate at her local market where she was toying over buying a punnet of cherries, whilst she was deep in thought, we asked her a bunch of questions, here's how it went....
Please introduce yourself and your music in one sentence....
Hello, I’m a 19-year-old Singer Songwriter whose music is melodic, dark and soulful
You were spotted during an open mic night, where was this and what songs were you performing?
The Open Mic night was in Watford and I was performing a few of my first songs including “Hold Up” which I still play in my set.
Staying with Open Mic nights, where would you suggest to a musician to ply their skills?
I was quite lucky in the sense that I hadn’t been doing open mic’s for too long before I was approached. But if you’re looking for an intimate venue then I’d suggest The Green Note in Camden – but be prepared to queue!
What advice would you offer to a struggling artist who is in fear of never being heard?
Don’t give up. If you enjoy what you are doing then keep on doing it but maybe try different venues to seek out new audiences.
What was your reaction to Barry Blue approaching you?
I’m risking being deleted off Barry’s Christmas Card list here but I was blissfully unaware of who he was until my parents enlightened me. I was quite stunned as it was only my second Open Mic night.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
This advice was not received in person for obvious reasons but I like the quote from Salvador Dali ‘Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing’
‘Black Rivers’ is a haunting melody, how long did this take to write and is there a story behind it?
I was working on an art installation when I wrote this song with Ed Harcourt. It involved hanging hessian sacks, which were weighed down by lyrics and thoughts. The song directly addresses the contents of the sacks, and describes the physical and mental weight of carrying around these thoughts. Pretty dark stuff!
You have been writing songs since the tender age of 9, what sort of lyrics were you writing back then?
Luckily my selective memory has erased all cringe-worthy lyrics penned by the nine-year-old me.
You are an artist as well as a musician, who inspires you in both sectors?
Loads of musicians inspire me, its hard to pick one, at the moment I’m listening to a lot of Angel Olsen and Sivu. In the art sector, I’ve recently been looking at the work of Pipilotti Rist and Janet Cardiff.
First gig you ever went to?
Kylie’s Showgirl Tour… haha!
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
Barack Obama, Pope Francis and … Tracey Emin to liven things up a bit.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Titania, queen of the fairies, in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Full of attitude!
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer
A Gorilla that can do sign language… because Gorilla’s are cute and fluffy…
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Lullaby of Birdland, It’s one of favourite jazz standards and always goes down well with the crowd when I play it live.
How do you feel social media has been for musicians both unsigned and signed?
I’m not very good on social media, I can just about cope on Instagram. but clearly it offers a platform to reach a wider audience than traditional media for all musicians.
You’re releasing your debut EP this year, how is this coming along?
I’m still at the early stages but am really excited about the project and can’t wait for people to hear it!
What are your plans for 2014?
The EP is my main priority along with lots of gigging!
Kate was having trouble deciding on the cherries so we thought we'd assist by buying her a large bag of grapes which seemed to keep her happy, whilst she was munching on a bunch, we asked her some quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Drum machine or the real deal? Real deal
Mac or PC? Mac
Fry up or Sunday roast? Sunday Roast
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Ozzy
CD or Vinyl? CD
Car or Motorbike? Car
Acoustic or electric? Electric
Shower or Bath? Bath
Tattoos or Piercings? Piercings
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino? Robert de Niro
God or Google? God
There you have it folks, a few things you didn't know about Kate Miller, please spend a few more minutes visiting Kate's social media sites, they're all listed below for your convenience...
We at Musicmuso would like to thank Kate for taking part in our interview and wish her all the best in the future. We'll be keeping in touch with her and publishing news on forthcoming releases and gigs.
Interview by Mark Wincott