When pop songstress Angie Miller took third place on Season 12 of “American Idol,” it seemed like the next steps of her career had already unrolled before her. But as she soon found out, nothing in the music industry comes quite so easily. With this new understanding, the young talent rolled up her sleeves, said no to label deals and got to work building a fully independent career and inviting fans into the entire process.
The result of her labors is a forthcoming debut EP, “Weathered,” which Miller says allows her to truly present herself to the world, without having to conform to anyone else’s plans for her. In our interview, she tells us more about this journey, what fans can expect from the album and the messages she hopes her new release will convey.
You’ve grown up with music in your blood and then you auditioned for Season 12 of “American Idol” and made it. What was that feeling like for you?
Since I was about five, I’ve always been singing and always have wanted to be a singer. I fell in love with “American Idol” years ago when I first started watching it. I always knew that one day I would audition and be on “American Idol,” so when I finally did, it was a dream come true. It was a lot harder that I thought, more stressful, and more emotional, but it was one of the best things I have ever experienced. It made me who I am today.
After placing third on the show, did you think you’d release new music right away or did you want to settle into your sound first?
On “Idol,” if you make it far enough, success is pretty much handed to you. Don’t get me wrong, I had to work my butt off, but there is no “started from the bottom now we’re here.” So post-“Idol,” I thought it would work the same – get signed right away, release an album a few months later and be successful.
But I realized quickly that the music industry doesn’t work that way and most major labels actually don’t like “American Idol” at all. After a lot of heartache, I decided to go independent and run my business with just myself and a few people I trust. I also took a lot of time developing my music and rebranding myself.
How would you say you’ve come into your own as an artist even since that time?
The first six months of 2014, I learned a lot about the music business. I wanted to make sure I learned as much as I could so I could be smart doing this independently. I also found a production team I love and trust called Red Decibel. I have spent many hours in the studio with them working on my sound. I am very proud of the way my music has developed.
On your campaign page, you mention that you wanted to write or co-write each song for this record. Have you done that? Who are some of your co-writers?
I have co-written every song on this EP. It is very important to me that the songs I sing are my voice and life experiences. I would never want to sing about something I haven’t lived. There aren’t many co-writers. Just the three guys that make up Red Decibel – Adam Watts, Gannin Arnold and Andy Dodd – my friend Kevin William, and my boyfriend David James Williams.
What made you decide to come straight to fans through PledgeMusic for this album, even turning down a label?
I turned down a label and didn’t want to be with any other labels because I couldn’t be 100 percent myself with any of them. A lot of people in the industry were really confused by me. They knew me as the “American Idol Rock Girl,” but then they would hear my new music and it would confuse them.
The point of this EP is for people to see exactly who I am now, how I have rebranded myself and how much I have grown since “Idol.” This EP is for the fans. I want them to know this is for them and 100 percent because of them! Pledge was a perfect way of showing that.
Your PledgeMusic campaign also goes to help girls who are victims of sex trafficking in India by donating to Project Rescue. Tell us a bit about that cause and why it’s personal to you.
When I was younger, my family took a trip to India, and my mom and I worked with the women of Project Rescue. As a young girl, it broke my heart and has always been heavy on my heart. Project Rescue truly is helping so many hurting women and children who were born and raised in the red-light districts. In the future, I most definitely want to help women and children going through the same thing here in the US. I know it’s going on everywhere and those women deserve to live a better life.
If you had one hope for this album or for the message it will send, what would it be?
Two messages I really hope to send are first, how important it is to be honest with yourself, such as admitting to your faults while working on them and the importance of not masking your struggles through conforming. And second, God is present, even in mainstream music. Christians don’t have to sing “Christian Music” – if there even is such a thing.