The Petoskey native who now lives in Grand Rapids was the featured guest for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by Desmond Jones, Seth Bernard, The B-Sides, The Soods and more.
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Singer-songwriter Sean Miller has done a fair amount of soul-searching about his music and his approach over the past couple of years, particularly as the COVID pandemic began to wane.
“The whole, ‘Who am I as an artist?’,” said Miller, who recently relocated from Petoskey to Grand Rapids, where he’s been recording new material with Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios.
What’s emerged thus far is a robust mix of folk, rock and country, reflected in the single, “Earthbound,” released last month and the upcoming track, “Huckleberry Finn,” set for its official release on July 29.
“It’s hard to describe my own music but I would say it greatly falls within the realm of Americana and folk. My music has drastically changed over the last two years,” said Miller noting that his 2020 debut album was “much more rock-forward” than his newer material.
“I spent a lot of 2020 thinking about who I am as an artist, what I want to say and what I want to share. I think, through that, my music has changed a lot and people are starting to see me for the artist I am.”
Beyond working with the duo The Real Ingredients – which also features saxophonist, singer and percussionist Traven Michaels – Miller said he’s been pushing hard with his solo work and performances since the pandemic’s onset.
“I’m also slowly working into the scene here in Grand Rapids,” he said, “and people can expect some gigs coming up here with me this fall.”
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Miller showcased “Earthbound” and premiered “Huckleberry Finn.” Scroll down to listen to these tracks and the full radio show podcast.
AIDING AND PLAYING BLISSFEST, WITH A BUSY SUMMER OF PERFORMANCES
Growing up in a music-oriented family and playing piano starting at a young age, Miller played in the jazz, steel drum and marching bands at Petoskey High School. He started as a music education major in college before turning to journalism and eventually landed a job as a reporter at the Petoskey News-Review.
He’s also volunteered and currently serves on the board for the Blissfest Music Organization, which stages the long-running Blissfest near Cross Village this weekend for the first time since 2019. Miller will perform on different stages during the festival – solo and with The Real Ingredients.
Influenced by the likes of Billy Joel, Elton John, Ray Charles, Tom Petty, Donovan Woods, Gregory Alan Isakov, Dave Matthews and John Mayer, Miller’s own material has earned kudos and garnered attention: He was a finalist in the 2021 Rocky Mountain Songwriting Competition.
Following Blissfest, Miller has several summer solo and duo performances lined up across northern Michigan, including playing Farmfest near Johannesburg Aug. 12-14 and the Forest Trail Music Festival in Freesoil Aug. 26-28. View a complete list of his tour dates online at seanmillermusic.com.
“I’ve got a full summer of shows, will be opening for the Michigan Rattlers and have a tour planned for September that I am working on booking,” he said.
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which spotlights local and regional music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org – also boasted new music from Desmond Jones, Seth Bernard, The Blueflowers, The B-Sides, Phabies, Brie Stoner, The Wild Honey Collective and The Soods, as well as northern Michigan’s The Third Degree – this week’s musician’s pick by Miller. Listen to the full radio show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (7/8/22)
Editor’s Note: Sean Miller is also a writer and photo contributor to Local Spins.
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