“Haven’t made a million, but I’ve touched a million lives.”
When you think of certain artists, you think of that one song that defines them. The one that, even amongst a growing catalog, stands out above the rest. Songs like “Angels” by Robbie Williams, “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, and “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. For Jake Miller, a singer-songwriter from Weston, FL with well over a decade in the music industry under his belt, that song is “A Million Lives.”
Following a similar format of the Ludacris and Mary J. Blige classic “Runaway Love,” Miller rap-sings his way through stories of his fans that are both inspirational and heartbreaking: “The fight was tough and the battle was long/But I felt strong when I listened to your songs/You were always there for me/You were my heartbeat/You were my only friend/Kept you on repeat.” A decade after its release, Miller still proudly performs the tune for his fans, many of whom have been there from the beginning, and who boldly display their tattoos celebrating the song. Celebrating Miller. Celebrating themselves.
Miller, now an independent artist, is releasing his most ambitious and emphatic music to date. New songs “Green” and “Note To Self” are out now.
Us Against Them
At just 31 years old, Miller has been around the world and has shared stages with artists like Hoodie Allen, Fifth Harmony, and Mac Miller. Through all his success, Miller keeps a wise piece of advice close to him. “My dad always told me to pretend I’m ‘in a bubble’,” he said. “This goes all the way back to when I was a baseball player, standing on the pitching mound. He would tell me to put myself in a bubble and tune out the outside noise.”
Tuning out the outside noise has allowed him to maintain his “us against them” mentality: Putting his fans first no matter how big he had gotten, who he was onstage with, or who he was signed to. That mantra has created a lasting impression, and, for Miller, is the most important piece of the puzzle. “I think the key to long-term success as a musician is creating a REAL fan base,” he said. “Even though I’ve been making music for 10 years, I still have people coming to my shows that were in the crowd back in 2011. If you have a real connection with your audience, you will always win.”
Like Brit star Conor Maynard, Miller could have, potentially, had a hit with almost any hit song by a male artist in pop and R&B of the last decade. He would have fit into “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber like a glove. Could have easily worked his way into “Ayo” by Chris Brown and Tyga or “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo. The diversity in his catalog reflects this… his slick pop sensibilities and effortless charm made radio-friendly pop songs like “Dazed and Confused,” featuring Travie McCoy, and “NIKES,” work just as well as the slower, more introspective tunes like “Click” and “Ross and Rachel.”
While he has always been a natural talent, Miller soaked up lessons from his influences… two artists known for their craftsmanship, and who could adapt to any sound or genre. Jon Bellion, the super producer who has revitalized the pop sounds of Tori Kelly and The Jonas Brothers in recent months, is a major inspiration for Miller, as is the late great Mac Miller.
Mac Miller, who had been on the most prolific artistic run of his career before his unfortunate and untimely death in 2018, was, and is, Miller’s muse. “Mac Miller was the sole reason I decided to start making music,” he said. “I loved his laid-back, positive outlook on life. We were both young, white, Jewish kids from the suburbs, so it was easy to relate to him. He gave me the confidence to start rapping and recording/releasing my own music.”
“Green” and “Note To Self”
The sounds of both Mac Miller and Jon Bellion are present on Miller’s new tunes “Green” and “Note To Self.” “Green,” which Miller describes as a blend of elements of Mac Miller and John Mayer, is the more lighthearted of the two, transitioning from a plush, glittery piano piece to a bouncy pop-trap-inspired tune: “Green like the light when I’m speedin’ to you every night/Green like your eyes when the sun is hitting them just right/I love it/Yeah, I f***in love it.” Miller is perfectly in the pocket, singing affirmations of love and dedication to his fiancée: “I swear you just impress me/You’re super sexy/Blocked all my exes/Don’t f***in text me/It’ll just go green.”
“Note To Self,” reminiscent of Bellion’s other-worldly production on The Jonas Brothers’ “Walls,” is one of Miller’s most poignant and anthemic yet. Swiftly shifting between acoustic guitar and full-on orchestral onslaughts, the tune is Miller’s reminder to himself and his fans that bad times never last: “A thousand bad nights when you thought you might drown/And I ain’t gonna lie/There’s no easy way out/But note to self/It’s just a wave.”
“I wrote ‘Note To Self’ on a day where I was feeling super down,” he said. “I definitely have bad days just like everyone else. But when those days come, I just take a step back and remember how lucky I am to be who I am and have the things I have. I have the greatest fiancée, family, friends, fans, and job in the world.”
Back when he made “A Million Lives,” Miller had no perception of what his life would become. Now, he knows just how far music can go. “I was just a high school kid making positive music,” he said. “I didn’t understand the true impact that music could have on other people’s lives.” He’ll feel that impact on a global scale later this year when he and his band head out on a tour of Asia. “This is going to be a celebration for us,” he said. “I think one of the greatest things in life is being able to see different places and cultures around the world.”
Fully independent once again, “Green” and “Note To Self” are just the start of Miller’s next artistic chapter. “I want to get back to basics,” he said. “I want to have fun with it and put out my best music yet.”