Hiyafolks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to start out as a solo artist?Introduce us all to your musical history
Well, I’ve always been singing. I remember the first crowd I sang solo in front of, was at primary school, and then again at church, I must have been seven or eight. My dad taught both my brother and me to play guitar, although I wanted to learn the bass after that to be in my brother’s band. I was eleven or twelve when I stopped playing bass in the band. I was going out with the drummer, and then when we broke up of course I wrote a song. My first song. To be candid, my feelings made me decide to start out as a solo artist. Family and friends call me Millie, but I chose my full name as my pseudonym because I want to put my whole self into my art.
How positive are you feeling now we are in 2021?
Hopeful, nervous, but hopeful. There’s going to be a lot of celebration when we’re all free from covid and isolation. Also, once I finish this degree in June, I’ll be releasing more frequently, more time to put words into lyrics and not essays, and learning to drive so I can roadie myself! I won’t be letting distance be an issue. Yeah I have some goals this year.
How has 2020 affected your mental health?
Well it didn’t sugar-coat it that’s for sure. My mental health has been wavering more, ever since 2017 honestly. I appeared on The Voice UK in 2017, and the day after the second episode I was on aired, the Battles episode, my dad passed away. Then seven month later I started university. Threw myself into my EP, which was my first release, and then after that was out, my focus was on my university work and a number of different chord progression ideas I fumbled around with. I wrote the song that I’m only just releasing now mid-2019, 2020 from March, well we all know it was a bit of a right off when it came to performing. I did my share of virtual gigs here and there, but it made me anxious for the future of not only music, but also just socialising in general. Not to sound cliché, but it’s all very Black Mirrory.
What advise would you give other artists starting out?
Don’t picture the audience naked if you’re a nympho, because it’s also rude to point, or gives a new meaning to “poking fun at people” 😉
No in all seriousness, it’s great to have influences, but remember to be you. For example, Billie Eilish is great and has her own style, she’s definitely a strong modern music influence, but she’s great because her essence is at the heart of it. You can tell when an artist is taking influence as opposed to just becoming a carbon copy. Also, the taboo topic of showing emotion, whatever you write and however you feel about what you write, take all of that and put it in your delivery. In my opinion, there’s no better feeling than singing when you put true emotion into it, if you feel it, everyone listening will too.
Finally, just have fun with it, likewise to the emotion stuff; if you have fun, everyone will (or will want to) have fun with you too J
Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
I’m rarely interviewed! But I guess if I had to answer, I no good with ‘Would You Rather’ questions. I’m too indecisive, I struggle even with tea or coffee, I like both for different reasons.
What’s your favourite song right now from another band currently on the circuit?
Oooooo okay, this is a struggle. From the Manchester scene, I adore the songs Gorilla Man (Alternate Version)and That’s My Ego by the band Faux Pas.
What support is out there for new artists in Preston ?
The local support is undeniable. Since moving to Manchester, with the abundance of open mic nights to play and choose from, I’m always reminded of the years I spent playing The Ferret open mic, or the Ships ‘n’ Giggles, or the Flag Market. There seemed to be more support back then, from around 2015. The locals would be in the know of regular performers in town and there was a rotation of artists. There’s a showcase called Stream to the Streets at the moment, a virtual gig that’s filmed at The Ferret, and there are some great local artists and photographers, like Olivia Blackledge (Kitty Wild Art) or John Middleham. I guess it seems the best support for new artists, would be spending time with other artists.
I can touch/pick my nose with my tongue, I have double-jointed pinky fingers and I can make a sound very verysimilar to that of a tennis ball being served, and also the sound of water droplets.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
One place in general where I always have fun performing is the Ferret, and a lot of my favourite gigs have been there. Though is one moment that wasn’t only fun, but it definitely gave me a bit of a confidence boost. Over a year ago, I played at The Whiskey Jar Open Mic night run by Joe McAdams in Manchester, and there’s a part in one of my songs Mantelpiece where I got everyone singing, that was fun, saw an old friend from high school that night too!
What was the worst experience on stage?
Oh gosh, I think the most recent virtual gig I did at Gorilla. It was part of this showcase for university. It was a great experience, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t have a band or backing track with me, like a majority of the acts did. And currently I do just perform solo. But I got a few takes to film my performance, but I fluffed and had to have a breather. I guess I was just overwhelmed, comparing myself to the other artists, having one of those days I guess, but it turned out alright in the end.
Tell us something about yourself that you think people would be surprised about?
Isn’t everything I tell a stranger about myself a surprise in some sense? I don’t know what you’d consider surprising, but I guessssssss I’ve lived 15 different houses in my life. Nothing fancy like living abroad, but I’ve moved around a lot.
Best drink to have on stage?
I should say hot water with lemon, ginger, turmeric and honey. That is good stuff for the throat, and it’s refreshing for a hot drink. However if we’re talking about an alchy bev, Magners Dark Fruit, or Midori and lemonade if you’re fancy. It tastes like melonade, and it’s green so you might get some comments!
Who is the biggest named band/artist you have played with?
In 2017 I supported Billie Marten at the Ferret. I remember the first time I heard her play actually. A friend of mine showed me her song Paper Thin she did for an Ont Sofa Session. So to not only get to hear her play in the flesh but to support her was so humbling.
Tell us a funny story from backstage?
Before a set I played at Yes late 2019, I had one of the door staff paint pink neon dots on my face, I forgot about them and ended up on stage with paint on my face J
Who would you like to work with on the circuit right now?
Well, interesting question, I’ve been working with producers mainly, but I’d like to work with a band. I’ve was working with a band actually, still am but with 2020 everything came to a bit of a stand still, but once restrictions lift I want to get back to it. I know that wasn’t the direction of the answer you were going for.
So I had the moment the other day where I was singing along harmonising to Plink by the band SPQR, And That’s my Ego by Faux Pas. It’d be cool to feature in a grunge song at some point.
There’s all this stuff about consistency and I don’t think people would expect me to want to go punk.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
Ooo okay, I have to toot my own horn? Well, I guess I can seem a bit derpy and dorky at times, and I’m as equality conscious as I am content with that. When it comes to writing, I can either be very honest or abstract, or it could be my extravagant sense of style, quick wit and chubby cheeks.
Right now, whats pissing you of the most? (Cant say the virus 🙂
Homelessness, the amount of discarded empty building that you see not in use (even before the pandemic), they could be turned into a shelter or a homeless rehabilitation centre. And the amount of cranes in Manchester, throwing up more ridiculously priced flats, it’s frustrating. When’s this revolution?
Whats your favourite song to play live and why?
My brother inspired my song ‘Bright Sun’, and it’s great to play live. It’s sort of a ballad style song, the intro requires some gusto in the vocals and the sense of release singing it is almost empowering. As for the meaning of the song, it’s about how I look up to my older brother. I still need to get it recorded.
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
I do!! It’s my single ‘conversationconservation’. I wrote the song two years ago, in my second year of uni. It was a pretty tough time then. Well, not tough, just a bit stagnant. Nothing was happening, I’d moved into a new student house and I was feeling a little bit dissociated. I was overthinking and not going out very much, just bottling up a lot of things. My mental health wasn’t, and still isn’t, in the best state but ploughed through anyway. So I wrote this, and played it at open mic nights and my university even allowed us to transcribe it for a string quartet and choir! But now, to finally be releasing the fully finished version, and thank you so much to TayteNickols at Mad Fox Studios for producing and mixing, it’s like printing a finished chapter.
The release is also supporting four different mental health charities and organisations, not only to inform mental health sufferers of places that can help, but also to support the hard work that mental health workers continuously carry out. I’ll be donating 20% of royalty revenue generated by the song, to each charity, as well as initial donations of £25.
Each charity aims to support people differently, but all have the same common goal to provide care. As musicians have a passion to write, and scientists a passion for science, and accountants have a passion for numbers, doctors, nurses and mental health practitioners have the passion to care, hence why no person with mental health should suffer in silence or feel like a burden, when there are people out there that want to help and care.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?