Singer-songwriter Sheri Miller releases her new single “Born To Love,” a tender, instant classic from her 6-song collection, Waking Up To This Miracle Life, out November 19. Recorded with GRAMMY-winning producer Jeff Bova, Miller’s timeless collection is at once ecstatic and incisive, brimming with joy even as it reckons with struggle and heartache.
The songs here are radical acts of self-love and empowerment fueled by raw emotion and explosive energy, and Miller’s mesmerizing performances are utterly transcendent to match, her voice shifting from hushed intimacy to soaring grandeur with the preternatural ease of Ann Wilson or Brandi Carlile. Add it all up and you’ve got a rich, cinematic masterpiece about embracing the beauty and magic of being alive, a celebratory ode to love itself from an artist who passionately lives to create. I got the opportunity to speak with Sheri Miller about her upcoming EP.
- What inspired this album?
When writing this record, ‘Waking Up To This Miracle Life,’ I felt inspired how it’s a miracle to be alive; especially at this time. To wake up every morning with a heart beating of its own independent accord, lungs breathing oxygen without us turning on a power switch, seeing beautiful blue skies with our open eyes, smelling delicious fragrances of trees, roses, jasmine, freshly-baked soft chocolate chip cookies, hearing glorious notes resounding from orchestras, brass bands or finely crafted pianos, guitars, drums, listening to golden-throated voices, touching luxurious silk fabrics, and feeling magnificent emotions of love, appreciation, happiness, fun, exhilaration!
How being alive in our physical bodies is such a gift; what an extraordinary miracle we have our genius cells working symbiotically in mysterious harmony. Though I don’t understand electricity or the miracle of being born, I’m glad to be here! This record celebrates life passionately. Especially after pandemic, it feels so good to focus on the magnificence of being alive. We did it! We made it. How blessed and lucky we are. No matter what struggles you’ve gone through (we all have), there’s always hope, fun, and even joy waiting closely; You’re never alone. If you believe in yourself, trusting there’s unseen help available to us- closed doors open, our timing gets good, and avalanches of beautiful opportunities flow like rivers into our experience. Your tiny extra bit of optimism cracks the door open to success, love, and more of your dreams realized. I choose to keep waking up to this miracle life.
- When did you start making music?
I started making music at eight, taking classical piano lessons with a strict teacher. My free, wild, creative spirit rebelled against the boring confines of practicing already written music, when I wanted to compose and paint new melodies, paired with new words and lyrics, creating new musical paintings. So, I spent much of my practice time composing dozens of new songs, pouring out complete melodies, lyrics, chords. Anthems about rocking the nation, songs about eternal, everlasting, pure love and world peace, love songs to my mother, and “The Lost Tribe,” a song about a wandering tribe in the desert, buffalo and surviving. I still have these handwritten 8-year-old songbooks, and I’ve written hundreds of songs since age 8. I consider myself a ‘music lifer,’ writing songs and performing for the sheer feeling of joy and pleasure; as I evolve as a human, so does my music, songs, and art. I am my best masterpiece.
- Who are your musical inspirations?
My musical inspirations started with my mom, who’s a magnificent opera singer, classical pianist, composer, and storyteller. I love the Beatles, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Paul Simon, Rodger & Hart, Duke Ellington, Beach Boys, Rickie Lee Jones, Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Mozart, Tchaichovsky, Piazolla, Alicia Keys, India.Arie, Prince, Queen, Freddy Mercury, Tom Petty, Bob Marley, James Brown, Gershwins, Rumi, and brilliant musicians I work with Jeff Bova, Kate Baker, Will Lee, Tim Pierce, Chris Lord-Alge, Frank Filipetti, Joe Zook, Dave Eggar, Paul Shaffer, Steve Cropper. There are endless musicians who inspire me, flowing through every time I create. I appreciate all who’ve come before, paving this golden trail of delights.
- Did any of these musical influences specifically inspire this album?
Writing “Gold Hearted Man” on my big acoustic-electric 1969 sunburst Guild hollow body guitar, I felt the presence of blues legend John Lee Hooker. It almost felt like he was guiding my hands and heart to new undiscovered places within me, creating a song ship sailing to unchartered territories in my musical landscape. There are traces of Joni Mitchell in “Empty Sky” and hints of the Beatles in “Everybody Feels This Way Sometimes.” Honestly, I believe every note, sound, visual, smell, every idea that’s ever touched us, is interwoven into the gorgeous colorful, rainbow fabric quilt of art, we create.
- What made you decide to become a singer songwriter?
I never made a conscious decision to ‘become’ a singer-songwriter. Thank God, for me it was a natural, easy, gradual, ‘gentle push’ of spirit; my soul led me to this choice. It chose me, I chose it, I decided to answer the calling. I believe we are all called to something, and it’s never too late, no matter what age, circumstances, to answer this calling, following your bliss. My story is magical, powerful synchronicity at work. While in college, I was secretly writing lyrics in my bedroom and taking jazz piano lessons 20 minutes away. I started receiving the thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a little keyboard in my bedroom, so I could write songs easily? I can’t fit a piano, I don’t have lots of money, wouldn’t a little keyboard be nice?’
I started dreaming up this idea for months, until it exploded vividly one Sunday morning. I woke up in a surreal, groggy state, having passionately dreamt of owning a little Casio keyboard the night before. Instead of walking to the library, taking the faster, straight-shot city street path, I felt magnetically drawn, with a strong impulse, to take the longer, beautiful, winding path across campus. While on this scenic route, I passed a one-day church sale, selling the exact Casio keyboard I dreamt the night before! It was $20, and ecstatic by this little miracle, I began joyfully composing songs in my bedroom on this Casio keyboard. It felt like my soul gave me the gentlest, loving push and wink, to trust myself; sometimes the longer, winding path has magic. Faster isn’t always more rewarding or satisfying. From that day forward, I’ve been composing and performing. The Casio keyboard manifesting was a tiny miracle of magic. Miracles exist everywhere, if you choose to open your eyes, and allow yourself to dream.
- Are there any special moments you’d like to share while making this EP?
For “Gold Hearted Man” basking in the afterglow of a soulful kiss, inspiration poured through me, and I composed this song in a hurricane flood of emotion. Initially I felt uncomfortable channeling this sensuality in the studio, but when the recording light blinked, BOOM, we cut vocals lightning speed. I’m proud of how we captured the passionate feeling in this recording.
For “Born To Love,” Day 1, I thought we had the “perfect” vocal after comping. The next day, after singing for 5 hours, the producer asked me to sing one last take. I said “sure” to humor him, though thinking “there’s no way we can use it, I’m too tired.” So I let go, singing effortlessly, easily, naturally, without trying. I got out of my own way, allowing the song to speak, my soul to speak. When I opened my eyes, thinking everyone would say it’s a throwaway vocal, instead they said “that was a Grammy-Award winning performance!” Stunned, I listened back, and realized MAGIC HAD FLOWED, when I surrendered, letting go of getting an “amazing vocal.” This live vocal became our “final vocal.” I learned sometimes “magic” is better than “perfect.” I trust the magic now.
- Is there a specific flow/genre to this EP that you’d like the audience to follow?
However your heart and soul calls you to listen. Follow your instincts.
- If you had to describe the “story of this release” in one paragraph, what would you say?
“Luminous, passionate, triumphant, love-filled collection of artistic songs inspires the hearts, connects with the souls of many, to remember and awaken to the brilliant, magnificent miracles in their own lives.”
- What’s next for you?
I’m thrilled with the new, inspired songs I’ve been composing and writing. I have endless new records in me, and I am happily, eagerly anticipating recording the new songs, and performing them. What’s next? More fun. More joy. More treasure chests of glittering new songs. More inspired new records. More exhilarating live performances. More artistic discoveries of wonder. More magnificent miracles revealing themselves, as we keep waking up to this miracle life.
Presave Waking Up To This Miracle Life here.
1. Gold Hearted Man
2. Waking Up To This Miracle Life
3. Born To Love
4. Joyful Love
5. Everybody Feels This Way Sometimes
6. Empty Sky
7. Gold Hearted Man (Chris Lord-Alge Radio Edit)
8. Gold Hearted Man (Joe Zook Radio Edit)
9. Waking Up To This Miracle Life (Chris Lord-Alge Radio Edit)
10. Empty Sky (Radio Edit)