With a positive mentality, an old soul, and a love for all things art, multi-instrumentalist Marie Miller believes in the power behind community, and this translates into the work she creates. Through her music, she aims to incorporate this idea of interpersonal connections while sharing the deepest parts of her life with her listeners.
Marie Miller grew up surrounded by family members who always encouraged her to do what she loves. With room to be both independent and social with nine other siblings, she soon found a passion for music at the age of seven. “[My family members] were the ones that showed me a lot of my favorite artists at the time,” Marie acknowledges.
Marie’s musical talents led her to a deal with Curb Records at sixteen, a performance for Pope Francis, a tour with Kris Allen, and an opening slot for the Backstreet Boys at Disney World. At the same time, being a teenager in a more professional setting also had its cons. After these experiences, she decided to move back in with her family in Virginia and go to college, which helped her clear her head and figure things out. “I loved being in Nashville; it just wasn’t the easiest time when I was there for various reasons—some personal, some musical,” Marie recalls. “I needed to go home and be home with the people that love me the most, like a little renewal,” she clarifies.
Thinking back on those late teenage years, Marie brings up a point that many people struggle with: self-confidence and standing up for what they believe in. “As a teenage girl, I wasn’t confident in my success and in myself,” Marie admits. “I want young women to know—you are far greater than you think you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We all have it in us to be Katniss or these other great characters who weren’t afraid to believe that,” she emphasizes.
Back in the present, Marie reflects on the most recent year she’s had, which was full of necessary sacrifices. “2016 was a series of goodbyes for relationships and friendships, and I had to let go of some dreams,” Marie shares. “It seems devastating, but you still wake up and you’re still here. I think I’m learning how to say goodbye and move forward,” she muses.
Moving on from past memories and experiences with no remorse led to her newest album, Letterbox. The stylistic concept behind the record was inspired by that ‘special drawer’ everyone had as a kid: full of ticket stubs, old pictures, birthday cards, letters. “A lot of it consists of radically relational and community-based, real-life stories, so Letterbox is a bunch of letters to different people,” Marie describes.
By presenting the record as a series of letters, Marie hopes to inspire people to change the way they communicate in the digital age. “I’d like to encourage people to have slow, organic relationships, rather than solely communicating through emails and texts. I’m really into loose leaf tea, and that’s something that takes time to make… It’s the same thing with deep conversations and getting to know someone. Growing up in the country in a counter-cultural way, I’m trying to encourage people to do that. Meet in person and talk face-to-face, and have a meal,” she enlightens.
Check out the rest of the feature in Issue 16 for free!
PHOTOS: LORI GUTMAN
WORDS: ELIZABETH LOO