Photo courtesy of Angie Miller
You know the story: Talented young singer auditions on “American Idol,” takes country by storm, wins competition, sells out arena tour, gets a movie vehicle and cruises through a career laced with platinum plaques.
Or at least that’s how it was supposed to go for Angie Miller. The Beverly-born singer, 20, was tipped as the next Kelly-Clarkson-to-be in 2012 during Idol’s 12th season, and for obvious reasons: Her breakout performance of her original tune, “You Set Me Free,” showcased a combination of musicianship (she accompanied herself on piano) and star appeal (long locks of golden brown hair and a Disney smile) that sent her soaring into the Final as the odds-on favorite.
But that’s not how things worked out. Candice Glover took the crown, with Miller placing third, and she found herself in a music industry that moved at a considerably different pace.
“Everything that I went through on American Idol was very fast,” says Miller, on the phone from LA, where she’s been living and working since January. “I was expecting things to keep happening fast, so I wanted to move out here and have music happen really fast.”
But it didn’t, and Miller is happy for that. Over the past months, she’s changed management, spent time learning the industry, and worked with a team of writers and producers to create her EP Weathered, released independently via crowdsourcing site PledgeMusic on November 12.
“It’s a very different image from what people saw on Idol, and that was the point,” says Miller, whose first public performance was in Salem just a few months before her TV audition. “As a person I’ve grown and matured, my style has changed. I think [Weathered] really captures how in the last year a lot of stuff has happened and I’ve stayed strong whether they were good or bad.”
Indeed, Weathered finds Miller a more composed and complex artist than her Idol fans may remember. “This Is The Life” shows flashes of Miller’s natural command of pop material, while “Lost in the Sound” is an empowering arena anthem in the vein of “You Set Me Free,” but colored lyrically with greater vulnerability and emotional edge (“I feel confused, so defeated, am I useless?” she asks, appealing to a higher power) that reveals glimpses of her Christian music background in subtle ways.
“I always grew up with very passionate, free worship and I loved it,” says Miller, who’s developed her skills singing with small worship bands while her parents serve as co-pastors at Remix Church in Salem. “I spent eight or 10 years of my life doing that, so I think that will always remain a part of my music. And of course I have a relationship with God, so that will always be reflected lyrically, even if I don’t directly say ‘Jesus.’”
On that note, you might say that everything happens for a reason.
“With this I wanted to make sure the music represents me 100 percent and is my heart and my words,” says Miller. “It’s been a big transition in the past year but I’m so glad it happened the way it did.”