Apr 30, 2014
12:16 PM
Arts & Entertainment

Rising Songwriter Likened to Sheryl Crow to Play Free Bridgeport Show

Rising Songwriter Likened to Sheryl Crow to Play Free Bridgeport Show

Sheri Miller, in a photo from her website.

You could call it kismet—the events that set singer-songwriter Sheri Miller on her musical path. She calls it the “gentle nudge” that got her to commit to music as a career.

She was attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, pursuing a degree in English, writing songs in her small apartment and moonlighting as a singer in blues bands. It was a random thought—that she could really use a keyboard to practice at home—that spawned a series of dreams about Casio keyboards.

It was after one such dream—a particularly vivid one—that she headed for the university library. Instead of taking her normal path, she veered off on a different winding way to her destination. And there at a church sale was the exact Casio keyboard she had dreamed of. She took $20 out of the bank and bought it. And from there, she’s never looked back.

Her next step will bring her to Connecticut in a performance at the Black Rock Branch Library in Bridgeport on May 8. (More on her performance below.)

"I just knew in my bones and my consciousness that I was a songwriter and a singer," she says. "It was the most poetic sign.”

(Photo of Sheri Miller from her website, right.)

But her musical journey actually began much earlier than her fortuitous Casio dream. Miller was born into a creative family on Long Island, N.Y. Her mother was an opera singer and classical pianist and her uncle was a recording engineer and musician.

She began taking classical piano lessons at age 7, and as a way of “rebelling” against that discipline she started writing songs. She has between 40 and 50 songs written during her childhood.

“The songs just poured out,” says Miller, and she has continued to be a prolific songwriter throughout her career.

Her music contains a little bit of every kind of music—rock, blues, pop, folk—but it is all uniquely hers.

“I love music. I’m influenced by so many diverse things,” she says. “My stuff is kind of Beatles inspired, soulful pop rock.”

The Beatles are one of her biggest influences, but she’s also inspired by Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Billie Holiday, among others. She has been compared to Sheryl Crow by listeners.

Miller has released two EPs, “Mantra” and “Winning Hand,” (left) and was briefly part of a four-piece vocal harmony group, The Delilahs, in Nashville that she says was “poised to become the next Dixie Chicks.” They were signed to Sony Music.

“It was my school,” Miller says of her time with The Delilahs from 2008 to 2009. “I learned how to sing harmonies.”

She has received some critical acclaim for her EPs, including being named one of Music Connections “Hot 100 Unsigned Artists” following the release of “Mantra.”

Watch her music video for "Waste My Breath" below. 

“Alluring…She makes a powerful first impression, and then even better, a series of more complex and lasting ones,” Rolling Stone Magazine writer Anthony DeCurtis said about her.

Two of the songs off of her first EP, “Right Here, Right Now,” and “All He Has To Do,” have become underground wedding hits. People have bought the sheet music for both songs and they are sung at weddings, something she says was “totally unexpected.”

Through the various phases of her still young career, Miller has had the opportunity to write with legendary songwriters and artists, including J.D. Souther of The Eagles, Al Anderson of NRBQ, Jill Sobule and Shawn Mullins.

(Photos from the artist's website, left and below.)

“Winning Hand” was produced, mixed and engineered by Kevin Killen, who has also worked with U2 and Peter Gabriel, and featured musicians Will Lee on bass, Charley Drayton on drums and Gerry Leonard on guitars.

She’s released a number of singles, including holiday singles and covers of Beatles songs. She also has an “arsenal” of unreleased songs.

“I’m a very lucky writer,” she says. “It’s my focus. I can’t stop writing.”

Now she’s in the process of acquiring funding for her third album—perhaps a full-length venture this time. She hopes to record later this year.

Fans can support Miller by visiting her PledgeMusic page and donating towards her next album.

“Every little bit helps,” she assures.

On May 8, she will perform a mixed set of her own music and cover songs at the Black Rock Branch Library in Bridgeport as part of its 2nd Thursday Concert Series. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. It is free for all ages.

The show will be a great opportunity for listeners to be introduced to this prolific singer and songwriter. 

"I love making music and writing songs. I feel so connected when I write songs, to myself and the universe," she says. "I feel that’s what I was born to do."

Miller’s music can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon. Links to purchase her EPs can be found on her website.

For more information on Miller, visit her website and support her next project at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/sherimiller

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, onFacebook and on Google +

 

Rising Songwriter Likened to Sheryl Crow to Play Free Bridgeport Show

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