The University of Miami campus is a place where aspiring academics, athletes and artists are gifted the opportunity to learn from top-of-the-line professors and experience undergrad in a diverse metropolis. It’s where all of us will, at some point, discover our passions and develop the skills we need to follow our dreams. For Tyler Miller, a UM Frost School of Music sophomore majoring in contemporary voice, college is where he can pursue his love for music and explore Miami’s vibrant soundscape.
Raised in Westchester, New York, Miller has chased his ambition to become a singer-songwriter since he first touched a keyboard at four years old. He shared an aptitude for studying musical instruments with his three siblings. Around the age of 12, Miller formally decided that creating music was his calling. He began teaching himself how to play guitar and writing his own songs, and his career took off when he was invited to share his talent with hospitalized children through the Ryan Seacrest Foundation in 2015. This was a catapult for Miller, when he realized he could influence and transform people’s lives through his craft.
“I made these young hospital patients so happy with just one song I played for them, and I was like, whoa, I can actually do something with this,” Miller said. He’s since performed for bustling crowds at Chelsea Market in New York City, and he planned to perform in Miami in 2020 right before the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. While he wasn’t able to make any public appearances this year, his presence on streaming platforms, on the other hand, has skyrocketed.
With a simple search for Miller’s name on Spotify or iTunes, you’ll find the verified artist’s latest releases. He has 3,105 monthly listeners on Spotify and 66,144 streams of his tune “Divine.” When asked about his creative process, he explained: “The inspiration can come from anywhere. Usually, it will be something [meaningful] that happened to me.” Although his music has often been labeled contemporary in the past, Miller is hoping that he’ll avoid getting locked into a single genre.
“They want it to be a pop or R&B album, but I want it to be both. I’m trying to make my own sound, and then we can call it whatever we want,” Miller remarked. He’s evolved as a lyricist, shifting from writing solely about love to now almost any subject. Miller has practiced the art of “talking about so many things at once with such simple lyrics,” which he claimed Frank Ocean and Daniel Caesar accomplish so well. He wants his listeners to feel the same emotion of “frisson” one feels when listening to “Blonde” by Ocean.
While most musicians have used outlets like TikTok to go viral, Miller doesn’t plan on building a massive social media following. “I’ve always felt that the music is more important than the image,” he emphasized. He believes his art — not some picturesque identity on the internet — should be his focal point and the driving force behind his success.
Miller and his manager, Jack Berk, are currently engineering the emerging artist’s next release, which may be an entire album or an EP. Miller explained that while quarantining with Berk, the duo composed an untitled track that Miller now considers his favorite. The pandemic situation was uninspiring at times, but “when I came up to the studio,” Miller reflected, “it definitely felt good to be away from everyone.”
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