Meet Lewisham-born UK Open Mic performer, Amity Miller:
Hi Amity Miller, thanks for joining us! Let’s get into it:
Do you play solo only, or also in a group?
How old are you?
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
How did that place influence your music? (if at all!)
My local school had a great music department and I was lucky enough to join a local music academy that really nurtures musical creativity.
Where are you based now, and why?
I’m still in Lewisham living with my family
What got you into making music in the first place?
I come from a musical family and our house has always been full of music. Wherever we go, music comes with us. In fact, my grandfather was a talented musician who arranged his own music for his choir, following his father’s jazz music career, while my Great Great Uncle was a world-famous jazz musician.
At a very young age, I discovered that not only was I quite musical myself, but that singing and playing the piano helped me to reduce my anxiety and cope with challenges. I quickly found myself singing all the time, for any reason at all, and by the age of 9, I had started writing and performing my own music.
Not only was I a soloist in an award-winning school choir at this age, giving me plenty of big venues and even some TV experience, but I was also lucky enough to be part of a music academy where I was given lots of public performance opportunities. On the backdrop of a childhood spent making music on stage, it felt natural for me at fifteen to take the next step into playing my own material in pubs and cafes.
What instrument/s do you play?
Who would be in your top 10 musical influences, and why?
My ten biggest musical influences include Will Wood who inspires me to develop complex melodies and clever lyrics, Billie Eilish because of the deep emotion conveyed through her music, Lovejoy who taught me how to make music that is impactful and attention grabbing, Cavetown inspires me as a fellow trans musician, Katie Tunstall’s subtle jazzy undertones inspired me to bring jazz riffs and runs into my songs, Christina Aguilera was the first singer whose music taught me to explore the power in my own voice and it was singing her music that first introduced me to runs – I don’t often sing covers but when I do, Fighter is still a favourite – then there’s Nina Simone, whose improvisation helped me to learn how to loosen up my vocals and sing off the cuff, Adele did not directly influence me – though often people at open mics compare my sound to a young Adele’s so perhaps her sound has been a subconscious factor in my developing musical style. My last two would have to be Wilbur Soot who makes me want to start a band and Katie Perry, whose songs were the first I ever sang along to.
Do you write your own songs?
How many years have you been writing songs for?
What process, or processes, do you often find yourself using when you write songs?
Typically, I get a flare of inspiration in the form of a central lyrical concept, which I have to quickly write down before it vanishes. Sometimes I’m not even sure what I’m writing about and need to analyse my own lyrics to understand where my brain is taking me. For me, my lyrics often provide their own tune, arriving in my mind with a melody already bound to them. Sometimes I have to dig a little deeper to find where the melody is hiding, but it’s always there, waiting for me. After that, it’s a matter of finding the right chords to carry the melody and reflect the mood of the song.
Why did you get into playing them in the first place?
It felt like a natural next step and I was keen to share my music with the world. Then I got the performance bug. Now I can’t get enough.
What advice would you give new performers who are just starting out playing their first open mics?
Always open with a song that will grab attention and make sure your last song has a big finish. Be ready to give out your social media details: this is a great chance to get new followers for your music journey. Be sure to arrive early and stay after your slot so you canlisten to everyone else. It’s important to develop connections and be part of a very supportive musicians community, not just for your career, but also for your mental health and for the sake of artists supporting artists. It’s amazing how kind other musicians can be.
What’s the hardest thing, for you, about playing open mics?
Worrying that you might mess up is always going to plague you before hand. I also wish I could play more songs and often feel sad to have such a limited time on stage. I could always keep on going – it is such a great feeling.
What’s the most bizarre, or fun, open mic, or gig, you’ve ever played, and why?
I think it has to be Off The Cuff with JOM because it’s my first full on music stage experience with lights and smoke machines and a big audience.
If it’s not already, are you hoping to make music your full-time career?
What do you currently find the hardest and biggest obstacles to moving your music career forward?
My age means that it’s really hard to make the next step from open mics to full gigs since many venues that host proper gigs do not allow under 18s.
What’s the one truth about you that people often find surprising?
That I’m actually a child. People often think I’m in my twenties after seeing me perform and it’s hard to convince them of my actual age.
What’s the most exciting project you’re working on at the moment?
I just recorded myself singing with a recording of my dead great great uncle and his band. It is so exciting to bring his music back to life and duet with someone in my family I never actually met.
Do you have your own music video, channel or playlist you’d like to share?
Do you have music on streaming? What’s you main streaming channel to send people to?
Where is the main place should people go to find out more about you?
What other sites/profiles should people go to to find out more about you?
Instagram has more of my music than any other online resource: @Amity_Sings
We’re done! Anything else you want to share before we go?