An Interview with Performing Songwriter Sheri Miller
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Sheri Miller, a talented a soulful, passionate and unique new songwriter, whose voice and songwriting has been compared to classic artists like the Beatles, Carole King and Aretha Franklin as well as modern singers like Fiona Apple, KT Tunstall and Alicia Keys.
Sheri Miller was born in a musical household in Long Island, New York. Her mother, an opera singer, "would loudly belt out arias in the night, and play classical Debussy piano. She was absolutely awesome." Sheri's uncle, a well-known recording engineer, also would send Sheri hand-made mix cassette tapes of Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Hungarian Gypsy Music, Diamanda Galas and Etta James.
Sheri started on the piano, but rebelled by composing original songs rather then practicing the classics. She attended the University of Pennsylvania (in the same music classes as R&B singer John Legend) and began to sing with a local Philly blues band, while still secretly writing her own songs in her bedroom. After college, Sheri moved back to New York to Park Slope, Brooklyn, and made her rounds at open mics like The Raven, while practicing her acoustic guitar and piano for hours on end in her basement apartment.
Since the open mic days, Sheri has been passionately playing her songs out steadily, having appeared on the stages of Joe's Pub, World Cafe Live, the Bluebird Cafe, the Canal Room, the Living Room, Cutting Room, Rockwood Music Hall and Maxwell's. She also has been lucky enough to co-write with Grammy-Award winning songwriters in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York, and has had a song featured on the Songwriter's Hall of Fame Compilation CD, Volume 4.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Hi Sheri. It was great to meet you at the Durango songwriters Expo. So what are you currently up to as far as musical projects?
Sheri Miller Well, I've just finished recording a new EP (hallelujah!) after spending June to August this past summer recording in a beautiful wooden house on a lake in Connecticut. I recorded six songs, with real live genuine, honest true-blue strings on them. There's nothing like beautiful live cello and violins. So I've been working hard getting my EP finished, which I will release in February 2008.
Aside from that, I've been writing a number of new songs, which is quite surprising to me, as I assumed I would be spending the last couple of months this year rebuilding my "creative well." But I guess you can't ever plan creativity, the muse works on its own desire, in its own time frame.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Who are some of your influences?
Sheri Miller My influences are pretty crazily varied. I love Etta James, Otis Redding, The Beatles, Elliott Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Rodgers & Hart, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, Fiona Apple, Alicia Keys, India.Arie, Feist, Muddy Waters, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ricki Lee Jones, Paco DeLucia, Vicente Amigo.
And I also just discovered a new Portuguese/African Cape Verdean singer-songwriter who I absolutely love, named Sara Tavares. I can't understand a single word she sings, yet her passion, beauty, melodies and rhythms reaches me. She's an inspiration.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] What is your website info?
Sheri Miller www.musicdish.com www.sherimiller.com and www.musicdish.comwww.myspace.com/sherimiller
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Do you have any upcoming performances?
Sheri Miller Please keep an eye out for a big CD release party early in February 2008.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] What is some of the best advice you've received and from who?
Sheri Miller The best advice I've received is to be yourself. There is no magic formula for artistry, songwriting or financial success. Life works in mysterious ways. So be who you are, follow your spirit's gentle leading and chase your dreams. Meditate more. You'll receive whispered wisdom more clearly, when your cluttered chaotic thoughts are left behind, weighted down on earth. I should take my own advice more, now that I think about it.
For songwriters- I'd say write everyday, no matter what. Don't procrastinate. And always thank creativity for providing you with ideas to translate into song-form from the great collective unconscious - something I believe we can all tap into.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Sounds like great advice, thanks Sheri. What are some of your goals? Are you looking for a record deal?
Sheri Miller My goals are to keep writing songs that move me emotionally and passionately when I sing them. To be more honest, I'd like to be more true, and discover my voice more authentically. I would possibly like to sign a record deal, if it is the right group of people to work with, who have integrity and believe in my artistry and songwriting. As songwriters and artists, I believe we're a lucky bunch to have the gift and opportunity to express something that can move people to tears or laughter, while inspiring and reminding them of who they really are in their souls.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Is there anything else we didn't cover today that you'd like to add?
Sheri Miller If you've read this far, dear reader, please do try to keep an eye out for my new EP to be released in February 2008! Thanks, Cindy.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Thanks Sheri. Be sure to check out Sheri's soon to be released CD and her websites at www.sherimiller.com and www.myspace.com/sherimiller.
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