Carmen Miller travels rough road to successWritten by Martini Rox | | email@example.com
She hails from a family that is ingrained in Toledo Hip-Hop legacy. She is the sister of Mr. International, one of the first Toledo rap artists to gain national attention and radio airplay from the area; she is also related to producer/rapper Rugby. The road to success spiritually, personally and career-wise has been long and rough for singer/songwriter Carmen Miller.
Miller was born in Detroit, the third of six children. Her mother was a gospel singer and her father was a cop. The family moved back and forth between Detroit and Toledo, where Miller would be introduced to the studio at 14 years old by Mr. International, as a female MC on one of his tracks. It was this experience that would take her career from singing in the choir to girl groups, and finally to a solo career. Coming from a big family, Miller was no stranger to discipline and responsibility. These qualities were put to the test when her mother passed away; she would become more of a mother than a sister to her younger siblings while starting a family of her own.
Using music to overcome tragedy kept her family close and after recording with various artists in groups and as a solo artist, she has found her niche and calling. She recently shared her experience and the importance of performance as a recording artist.
Martini Rox: After being in girl groups through the ’90s and early 2000s, what led to your decision to go solo?
Carmen Miller: I had this drive to continue. I love music I’m always going to love music. One day as that group situation was ending I was really discouraged, my husband actually looked in the paper and there was a band auditioning singers. I went to the audition, met these guys, older cats, the most unlikely source of soul that you’d ever find. It was like, five older white guys in a band that has been in existence for almost 30 years called East River Drive. I auditioned, they picked me up as their singer and for five years I hit the stage all over the city and the tri-state area and I developed a fan base. People really liked what I did as a performer. That’s when I really understood that it was something a little more than a passing fancy, a little bit more than a hobby, a little bit more than something just to do for other people. I could really do it for me.
Rox: What has performing rigorously taught you in terms of grinding in the music industry?
Miller: Being in East River Drive taught me a diligent work ethic. Out of a 52-week year we would play 32 weeks and 26 weeks of it would be straight. You get your grind on. There was never a month I wouldn’t play at least three weekends a month. They taught me that you have to be a well-oiled machine when it comes to getting on stage and that whatever’s going on in your personal life, whatever, goes on outside of that stage show. For three hours a night you’re giving somebody else a release of their week.
For three sets a night you have to be their mental vacation. You can’t bring any issues or anything like that to the stage. It’s really taught me to be very open about how I perform and loose and really connected to the energy of the music itself. I absolutely adore that feeling.
For me, it’s a three-hour vacation.
Miller has come full circle, from recording to performing all genres and back to her gospel roots. These days you may recognize her as the frontwoman for the band Tantric Soul. Taking a leap of faith, Miller completed her solo inspirational gospel album “All Good,” available through iTunes, Amazon.com and Allied Records. You can also see Carmen perform live with Tantric Soul.
Live Performance dates:
- June 15, 7:30 p.m. at the Toledo Zoo
- OJune 21, 8 p.m. at the Pinnacle
- June 22-23 at Fat Fish Blue
Contact Carmen Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org
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