Q&A: Get To Know Country Newcomer Carolyn Miller
Nashville, Tennessee, is known for breeding country artists, but when you least expect it – a country-pop songstress might come…
Carolyn Miller; Photo by Katie Kauss
Nashville, Tennessee, is known for breeding country artists, but when you least expect it – a country-pop songstress might come from out of town to give Music City natives a run for their money. New York’s rising star Carolyn Miller proves that you don’t need to be raised in the South or Midwest to make waves within the country music scene.
Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill influenced the Long Island girl to pursue a career in country music back in the day. Now, the breakthrough star can be seen rubbing elbows with talented producers in the honky-tonk town and giving East Coasters a taste of country music.
“I’ve learned to embrace my New York roots. Embrace my acting and theatre background. Embrace the fact I don’t reside in Nashville full-time,” shares Miller. “After all, those are some of the things that make me different! I’ve definitely grown and learned to embrace and be proud of my differences rather than my similarities,” she adds.
Although Miller has been practicing her craft since she was eight-years-old and studied the art at The Boston Conservatory – it was only 2018 when the powerhouse vocalist showcased her unique sound to the world with her debut EP, Unbreakable.
Since that very day, the hitmaker has opened for notable names in the industry – Sam Hunt, Dan + Shay, Zac Brown Band, Ashley McBryde, Billy Ray Cyrus, and more. However, when live music came to a sudden halt due in 2020, the emerging artist did not stop striving to reach success, and her creative wheels continued to turn.
To go along with her passion for music, she also has entrepreneurial spirit running through her veins. Therefore, Miller adapted to the times and generated a loyal fan base by hosting and performing over 100 Livestream concerts to feature her original music. After gaining traction for her toe-tapping 2020 bangers “Ain’t About That” and “All In,” she decided to use the power of social media and bring her talents to TikTok to reach a new audience.
Rolling into 2021, Miller kept her head down to produce premium content that represents who she is as a singer and songwriter at her very core. Carolyn surprised fans with “Flatline,” a country-rock empowerment anthem, “Strangers in This Bar,” which highlights her remarkable wide vocal range, and a vulnerable wedding ballad titled “When I Say I Do Today.”
@carolynmillermusicThoughts? 🥺 ##bride ##wedding ##weddingsong ##firstdance ##originalmusic ##original_sound ##whenisayidotoday♬ original sound – Carolyn Miller
Overnight, the moving love story behind the lyrics of “When I Say I Do Today” went viral and touched the hearts of over two million TikTok users, scored high placement on the iTunes Country Charts, and received recognition from music enthusiasts worldwide.
“My social media following went from about 30K to almost 100K in a matter of weeks. I’ve connected with so many more people via TikTok and have seen a spike in not only my socials, but even streaming numbers, iTunes sales, ticket sales, etc.,” says Miller in an exclusive Country Now interview. “I’m super late to the TikTok party (I only made an account a few months ago!), but it’s an incredible discovery platform, and I’m super grateful for the reach it has given me.”
The emerging country star doesn’t keep her eager fans waiting long, as she is always one step ahead and ready to drop her next big project. So, Country Now recently caught up with Miller to chat about her latest single “Every Second of Us,” how she’s handling her rapid rise to fame and her plans to hit the road to perform live.
Read on to find out more about Carolyn Miller in this exclusive Q&A below.
For our readers to get to know you a little bit more, can you share your backstory?
I’m from Long Island, NY, and I started working professionally when I was eight years old in show business! I grew up doing theatre, commercials, voice-overs, film, TV, etc.
While listening to “Every Second of Us,” we get a fresh sound from you. What encouraged you to push the boundaries of country music and include other musical elements to make the track memorable?
This song was created around the same time as “Ain’t About That” and “All In.” My producers and I had worked together in the past on various releases, so I think this go-around, we were even more comfortable with one another and ready to push ourselves a bit further. I’m from New York and grew up on pop music, so I really wanted those elements to be present in my music in order to remain as truthful and authentic to my roots as possible.
You took to social media and shared that you penned “Every Second of Us” before the Coronavirus pandemic. Could you walk us through the songwriting process and share the inspiration behind the new summertime anthem?
Actually, “Every Second of Us” was penned by Lance Carpenter (“Love Me Like You Mean It”), Jesse Lee (“Peter Pan,” “Like I Loved You”), and Justin Adams (“You’re In It”)! Lance is a close friend of mine and showed me this song about two years ago. It was originally meant to be for a male singer, but I heard the work tape (which Lance was singing on) and immediately connected to it. I had the vision early on of what I wanted to do with this song and how I wanted to bring it to life. I feel very lucky that the writers trusted me with it and let me run with my ideas…as well as having the opportunity to work with a killer production team in the studio (shout out to Frank Legeay and Michael Mechling!).
How would you like your fans to feel when they listen to “Every Second of Us” for the very first time?
Energized, free-spirited, empowered.
As a New York native, how did you get into country music and find your sound?
I was watching Carrie on American Idol as a kid was life-changing and really introduced me to the genre for the first time — especially since we had no country radio stations up here while I was growing up! She’s been a huge influence in my music, and Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill, Adele, the list goes on and on. I listened to pop growing up mostly. So, a lot of those elements naturally find their way into my writing and sound.
Your heartwarming wedding song “When I Say I Do Today” went viral on TikTok worldwide. Do you believe the positive reaction has changed or elevated your music career?
Absolutely – my social media following went from about 30K to almost 100K in a matter of weeks. I’ve connected with so many more people via TikTok and have seen a spike in not only my socials, but even streaming numbers, iTunes sales, ticket sales, etc. I’m super late to the TikTok party (I only made an account a few months ago!), but it’s an incredible discovery platform, and I’m super grateful for the reach it has given me.
What was going through your head when your single “When I Say I Do Today” hit No. 4 on the country charts and No. 37 on the all-genre chart?
Oh my gosh, it was wild watching it climb the charts to not only #4 in the USA but #3 is also the UK and Australia! Seeing the worldwide impact was incredibly unexpected and equally exciting. I had a bride walk down the aisle to that song on a beach in South Africa and got tagged in the most beautiful video. Absolutely surreal.
You recently took a trip to Nashville to record an acoustic version of “When I Say I Do Today,” what sparked this creative decision?
I wrote this song in my bedroom, the week of my wedding, just me at my piano. I wanted to give everyone a real, intimate, raw version of the song that is most similar to what came out of me the day I wrote it. I actually prefer performing this song live just like that! It brings back all the feels 🙂
You recently shared on Instagram that “Strangers In This Bar” is your most personal song to date. Could you elaborate on this moving statement?
The song is based on a real-life story of running into an ex at my hometown bar; 99.9% of the lyrics are non-fiction – I’ve gotten a lot of texts from high school friends who have picked up on the story, haha! It can be super scary to put such a personal story out there, but it’s really rewarding when you hear about how many people can relate to the experience and connect with the song on a deep level.
You are set to perform at Barefoot Country in Wildwood, New Jersey, alongside leading names in the industry. How does it feel to be on that bill?
MAN, I cannot wait for that; I recently played Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach, SC. Someone dropped out last minute, and the festival called me – it was such an honor to join a lineup with Luke Combs, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, and so many other incredible artists I admire greatly. I just got the festival poster framed with all of our names on it… I have to find a good spot to hang it now!
What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Having John Foxx of NY’s Country 94.7 introduce me as “hometown girl and country star, Carolyn Miller” at the Barclay’s Center (one of my hometown/NYC arenas) before a performance that included Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, and so many others. That was a moment I’ll never forget.
Have you faced any challenges while making it as a female vocalist in the country music scene?
I think it’s challenging no matter who or what you are, but hard work and kindness will always win out in the end.
How would you say you’ve grown as an artist since beginning your music career?
I think in the beginning, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to be who you *think* people want you to be rather than just being yourself. I’ve learned to embrace my New York roots. Embrace my acting and theatre background. Embrace the fact I don’t reside in Nashville full-time. After all, those are some of the things that make me different! I’ve definitely grown and learned to embrace and be proud of my differences rather than my similarities.
If you could collaborate with any country artist, who would it be and why?
Dan + Shay, I love them so much and Shay’s vocals….COME ON! How fun would that be to belt a song or two out with him?!
What are some of your goals for the rest of 2021?
Tour, tour, and tour! I have a few exciting festival appearances on the calendar this year that are bringing me to brand new territories/states. I can’t wait to branch out from the Northeast and meet my followers in other parts of the country. Social media has been so good to me this year, and I’m so excited to meet all my new “friends” in person finally 🙂
Fans can keep up with Carolyn Miller on Instagram.