Sheri Miller

If you work your way around the vast, eclectic music scene of NYC, you’d be hard-pressed to find a universal topic that everyone is talking about – there’s a lot going on up there. Different genres, genres within genres, styles within genres within genres... you probably understand. But Sheri Miller, she’s doing something special. She’s pushing original music. She’s standing out. She’s the topic of conversation. It may have started in 2008 with her debut album “Mantra”, but today it’s coming to a head with “Winning Hand” – a record so promising that U2 and Peter Gabriel producer Kevin Killen has come in to lend his talents.

Miller tells us that “Winning Hand” consists of “songs that speak to love, artistry, finding oneself, the breadth of human emotion, isolation, connection, outer space, and intimacy.” But it’s her self-penned description of her sound that has us most interested: “I sound like a warm heart beating inside a glass jar, or an angel with little devil horns at the edge of the river. I sound like the hushed, rushed, feeling you get when you chew on crushed ice from your Coke on a blazing 102 degree summer’s day. I’m the kind, compassionate, loving girl that open the door for you, when you’re carrying extremely heavy bags, who has a dark, heavy, profound side.” Like I said, check out “Winning Hand”. And if you’re around NYC, check out a show as well. There’s a whole lot more to learn, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.  

XXQs: Sheri Miller
PEV: How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
Sheri Miller (SM): I sound like a warm heart beating inside a glass jar, or an angel with little devil horns at the edge of the river.  I sound like the hushed , rushed, feeling you get when you chew on crushed ice from your Coke on a blazing 102 degree summer’s day.  I’m the kind, compassionate, loving girl that open the door for you, when you’re carrying extremely heavy bags, who has a dark, heavy, profound side. 

PEV: Calling New York home, what kind of music were you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

SM: The Beatles. John Lennon, Paul McCartney.  My mom used to blast Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The Usa in our den.  Growing up in Long Island, Billy Joel was my first concert, I loved him.  And then Paul Simon.  And then Tom Petty.  I love the blues, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Louis Armstrong.  Ella. Etta.  Sarah.  Sing it with soul.

PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?
SM: I feel like I’ve walked through the fire many times. As an artist, I’ve burned to ash, and re-built myself, as if I was re-creating my life. My artistic life.  I’ve been that phoenix bird many times, being reborn in the flames. But I’ve always been lucky to attract and cross paths with great people in the industry. I’ve been lucky with my successes so far.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?
SM: The first time I ever wrote a song, I was about 7 or 8 years old, on the piano.  I remember feeling this indescribable joy, when the song was done, and I could play it on the piano, sing the words, I had the lyrics.  The “Lost Tribe” it was called, a song about buffaloes, wandering in the desert, sunsets, and surviving.  I can still sing it out loud, and play it, if you ask me.  The process of writing has always felt like I slip away from myself, and travel somewhere else.  I’m channeling something, or connecting to something bigger than myself.  Writing songs has always felt magical, at its purest nature to me. I’ve always loved that feeling.  For me, travelling back to yourself, back to the universe, is with songs.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Sheri Miller show?
SM: Honesty.  Emotion.  Feeling.  Heartfelt singing.  A little rocking.  And pure love.  I give a lot of love and soul.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
SM: Is my breast exposed?   Or wow.  Thank you. Wonder what’s going to happen tonight.

PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?
SM: Yes.  I meditate and connect to something bigger deep within myself.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
SM: For opening my mind, and shutting off the bullshit chatter of my brain.  By reading novels.  Reading poetry.  Listening to my friends talk.  Listening to people I meet everywhere I go.
PEV: Tell us about your latest release, "Winning Hand" which is produced by Kevin Killen (U2, Peter Gabriel), and features Will Lee on bass, Charley Drayton on drums and Gerry Leonard on guitars. What can fans expect from this work?
SM: Songs that speak to love, artistry, finding oneself, the breadth of human emotion, isolation, connection, outer space, and intimacy.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?
SM: I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I believe we block ourselves.  I go out and take a walk, clear my emotional blockage, start anew with my pen.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Sheri Miller?
SM: I believe in things you wouldn’t think I believe in.  And I like my liquor. Hard up.  When I have a drink.  Though I am partial to margaritas.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?
SM: It happened naturally to me when I was in college.  I didn’t make a choice.  I was gently pushed into music, through a series of coincidences and dream manifestations involving a Casio Keyboard.

PEV: What one word best describes Sheri Miller?
SM: Authentic.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?
SM: I love meeting new people, seeing new buidings, eating new spices in new cities.  Feeling new roads and potholes underneath my boots.  
You have to settle your roots inside yourself, and out in the airwaves and heartwaves to your friends and family.  There is no thousand foot oak in the ground, where you build your cottage.  Your cottage is the road.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
SM: I would love to travel to Asia, Africa and South America.  I haven’t seen Australia, or Central America.  Bangkok, Nairobi, Capetown, Rio, Sydney, Lima, I’d like to see you.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

SM: Joyful.  It’s wonderful to have your loved ones there, to connect with you. 

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
SM: Eating penne ala vodka, reading thick books of poetry, swimming in the ocean, running by the river, vintage store shopping, watching Woody Allen movies, listening to the Beatles, collecting rocks and crystals, travelling on white sanded tropical beaches.  Bali is on my list.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
SM: So much great music out there.  I think Raphael Saadiq, Adele, and Passion Pit are great.  Up and coming, I love Imelda May.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?
SM: I would be writing music as a songwriter.  I can’t imagine life without music and song.  I would die.

PEV: So, what is next for Sheri Miller?
SM: I’m releasing  my new record “Winning Hand” into the world.  Then releasing 2 new music videos for “Spoons” and “Mantra.”  Then I hope to record another record.  I have the songs.  I’m just waiting for the right time.  It’s a blessing to make music.  

For more information on Sheri Miller and to get a copy of and hear about "Winning Hand" check out: www.sherimiller.com  and on Facebook at  www.tinyurl.com/sherimiller

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