Bea Miller’s perspective can be likened to a kaleidoscope. With each turn of the scope, new patterns and colors emerge, revealing to the observer the whimsical, ever-changing nature of the spectacle. Being a “spectacle” is something Bea Miller can attest to. Competing in the X Factor at only 13 years old and signing her first record deal at 14, Miller’s career is populated with a collection of personal and professional piques and valleys.
Everything from her liberal upbringing to her struggle in demanding she narrates her own story; though boasting a mere 21 years on the earth, Miller’s arsenal of life experiences rivals people 10 to 20 years her senior. In recent years, Miller’s fans have seen the young artist grow exponentially, as she sheds false skins and personas unsolicitedly assigned to her. Her sophomore album, ‘aurora,’ became a testament to the songwriter’s gripping perspective, insisting that each song be touched by her original pen, Miller entered an uncharted era of self expression.
Only to be continued by a physical change in appearance (hello flowing, pink mermaid locks) and a slew of highly acclaimed singles in 2019, many of which represent important themes of equality and social justice.
As the new decade settles in, Bea Miller has been busy plotting her next creative excursion. In the meantime we caught up with the prismatic wunderkind, chatting about everything from childhood dreams to her new, fully formed reality.
How did you first discover your voice?
One day I was sitting in my room singing the Adele version of “Make You Feel My Love” and when I stopped singing, I heard sniffling outside my door. So I opened the door and my mom was sitting on the floor crying and she was like “I didn’t know that you could do that” and I was like, “What the hell are you talking about?” I was like 9… I always liked singing but at that point I realized that maybe this wasn’t just a hobby, maybe I could actually do this. Then my family fell on hard times… and I saw that X Factor was guaranteeing a 5 million dollar prize to the winner of the show so I thought, “Maybe if I win the show, I could save my family” or whatever naive thoughts I had as a kid. Obviously I didn’t win but out of that started my music career so I did win in the long run.
But you didn’t always want to be a singer… is true that as a kid you wanted to be an astronaut?
(Laughs) Yes! I am not intelligent enough to be an astronaut but for some reason I thought it was still possible. Until I was like 13, I still had this dream dwindling and my friends were like “Bea, why not? Figure out how to become an astronaut!” So of course we googled “Requirements of being an astronaut” and one of the first things it said was that you have to be at least 5’2” and I’m 5’1” so I started sobbing (laughs). It was unrealistic for me anyway but I fully started sobbing because I was like “Now it’s definitely not possible.”
Many of your songs champion themes of equality in an unapologetic way. How did your upbringing shape your views on social justice and equal representation?
I grew up with two moms, one of my siblings is non-binary and I have a lot of friends in the LGBTQ+ community and always have… I grew up in a town that was very accepting and had all kinds of families, so I had a very deep involvement growing up with the community. It’s very important to me that people who were raised differently than I understood that we’re all people and our sexualities should not separate us. I know that I have a lot of LGBTQ+ fans as well, I think that’s amazing and I really want to make music that speaks to them.
Did you ever experience prejudice when sharing your story with the world?
I remember when I first started making music and telling my story, people were really upset that I had two moms. I had never really experienced that before. I had grown people telling me, when I was 13 years old, that I was a sin, I came from a family of sinners and I shouldn’t be alive because I had two moms.
How did you handle that emotionally?
I can’t even imagine what I would have done if I didn’t have such a supportive family. My parents were there for me and they explained to me that unfortunately, this is how a lot of the world views this community. So because of that, I have made it my mission to make everyone feel included in my music and try to spread the message that we are all human beings who deserve respect, equality, and love.
What does 2020 look like for you? Please tell me a full-length album is just around the corner…
(Laughs) Yes and no. I’m not necessarily sure what format I’ll be releasing the songs that I have but Bea Miller 3, whatever it ends up being, is coming… I’m still trying to figure out how to best communicate what I’ve been working on and exactly how I want it to be consumed, but we are definitely working on that and there will be new music this year!
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