[caption id="attachment_866" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Beverly's Angie Miller has a new EP to celebrate Friday at Brighton Music Hall[/caption]Not so long ago, Angie Miller was the cute high school kid working at the Chick-Fil-A at the North Shore Mall in Peabody, and indulging her love of music in her free time by singing pop covers which she'd post to YouTube for her friends' amusement.Today, with a lengthy stint on American Idol's 12th season (2012) where she became a national name while finishing third under her belt, Miller only wants to sing her own songs.Tonight (Friday) she'll be celebrating the release of her EP "Weathered" with a show at Brighton Music Hall, which will also double as a holiday homecoming for the Beverly native. The new record was released on November 12, and by Nov. 20 it had hit the top spot on Billboard's Heatseeker chart, while also climbing to #13 on the Billboard U.S. Indie chart."Yes, working at Chick-Fil-A, the highlight of my life was once a month doing a cover song for YouTube," Miller laughed from her Beverly home. "Now I never want to do another cover."Given her remarkable run on 'Idol,' it will surprise fans to know that Miller had virtually no public performance experience, aside from singing in some church events, before her tv turn. Her father Guy is a pastor who also plays keyboards, and her mother Tana plays guitar so she grew up in a musical family. Her older brother Jonathan plays in the hard rock group Exiting the Fall."The only real training I ever had musically was in singing, from my mom," said Miller, who will turn 21 on February 17. "I also took about a year of piano lessons around seventh grade. But my family is very musical, and I always had to try and keep up with my brother, who's a real musical genius. My family always gave me that extra push to be musical.""It's funny, but when I was 18, about a year before 'Idol,' I got the passion for writing," Miller explained. "I just started realizing the joy of making up lyrics and melody. 'You Set me Free,' which I sang on the tv show, was literally the first good song I ever wrote."If doing popular covers might lead to more immediate, if limited success on the club scene, Miller was certain she wanted to follow her own muse."It is much harder doing original songs instead of songs other people have written," she said. "You really have to put yourself out there a lot, show your lowest ebb, and be very vulnerable. But I felt like I had something I wanted to say with my music. It is more work, but so much more rewarding doing it when it is your own words, your own story, you're singing."There is an admirable range of styles on the EP, from the low-key ballad "Simople" to the vibrant "This Is The Life," to the edgy "Lost In the Sound." Miller can't wait to start performing the new music for live audiences."It is funny but the first actual show I ever did was just a few months before 'Idol," said Miller. "I had sung in church and in school, but I never did shows or a concert before that. This will still be my first real show in Boston. Last October I did a show on Salem Common for Halloween, and there were probably four or five thousand people there. But this week will be my first show in a venue like this. I knew Brighton Music Hall had a lot of history (as Harper's Ferry), and was thinking it was really old, but I went and saw the club and it's been completely re-done, so I'm very excited. This will be an all-ages show, and I'm hoping my fans of all ages cane come out."If Miller was a relatively inexperienced performer by the time she graduated Beverly High in 2012, she had been so impressive in various church musical competitions that three different Christian colleges were offering her scholarships. But when she got the chance to audition for American Idol, she put college on hold and went all in for the chance to be on one of her alltime favorite shows."It was a hard decision to forego college," said Miller. "I could've been out by now. But I am so blessed to have parents who have always seen my passion for music and singing. When I mentioned to them that I wanted to go for 'Idol,' they were one hundred percent with me, and just said 'Let's do it!' They have been wonderfully supportive from the start of that to now, and they never once asked me 'Are you sure about this?'"Miller took some time to assess her goals and where she wanted her career to go, and ultimately decided a record label deal was not essential at the moment. She funded her new EP through PledgeMusic, and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly her fans responded and put her over the top of the fundraising goal. Best of all she was able to have complete creative control."Was it easier to do it this way? No, not at all, I did everything myself," Miller chuckled. "With the PledgeMsuic format, there were 1500 things that needed to be planned and shipped out, and that was all just me and my boyfriend. There was also album art to do, posters to make, and all kinds of side things to take care of, and it was all me and my boyfriend.""But I do feel much more confident, now that all the weight is off my shoulders," Miller added. "I am so aware of all that is going on in my career now. I had never thought of myself as a businesswoman before, but now I know that's a large part of a music career. I would hate to have to go through someone else now. When I have something in my heart I want to turn into a song and some music, I love being able to do it then and there. If a label came along now, I might be willing to partner with them, but I love the control of my own music."Miller's Idol stint saw her singing while playing piano, and without the instrument. Tonight's show will have her backed by a quartet of friends and family."I played piano for a tune or two on 'Idol', but I don't know how I got pegged as 'the girl on piano.'" Miller noted. "In my whole life I never sang and played piano at the same time until 'Idol.' My band right now is simply drawn from the fact that I have a lot of musical friends. My boyfriend and my brother are in this week's band, along with two friends I've known since I was 13. It's like 'Hey guys, I have a show this week-- who wants to play?' It's not like I have an official band yet, but these are all people I have known forever and have real musical chemistry with. They know what I want to do, and when I want the music to be softer, or louder or whatever."Miller's new music has a new sound, at least fans who only know her from 'Idol' will think so."My sound is different," said Miller. "I am noticing the reaction of my fans, who notice the difference but still seem to like it. I think that musically and lyrically I have matured, and this new music fits me better. Fans will be able to see what kind of music and songs I like. And, people haven't really seen me perform since the tv show, and I've grown a lot there too.""For someone who had never really performed much at all, I think I did pretty well on 'Idol,'" said Miller. "But I was always very uncomfortable on stage. I had a tendency to wear these five-inch heels, which in retrospect was just crazy, and very uncomfortable. I'm a lot more at ease on stage now, and having more fun overall with my music."Miller is no longer deluged with requests for 'Idol' related shows or tours, and she said that once a season is over, the public profile of performers takes a dip."Honestly, when the show ends (for the season), you no longer are a part of any of that," Miller noted. "They very quickly start focusing on the next season's singers. But another reason I'm so looking forward to this Brighton show is that we are going to be filming it, so I'll have some new YouTube videos--all that is up there now for me is the 'Idol' stuff, and that's a couple years old.""I can see my fan base and where they come from on facebook," Miller added. "I'm big in the United States--and huge in the Philippines! I'm blown away by how much support I get from the Philippines. But we have some work to do on my videos and stuff like that, but after the holidays we will start putting together a national tour, realistically starting around late-February. But, oh my goodness, hearing my EP went to number one on Heatseekers was just so gratifying. I can't wait to get out there singing these songs."
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