Bubbles in the air. Blankets on the grass. More than 3,000 people ready to watch the show. Melissa Miller stood backstage at a Wisconsin music festival, tightly clutching her acoustic guitar, waiting for her cue. Once onstage, her fear evaporated. It was a pivotal experience for the Pop Singer-Songwriter. One that jolted her into an I-am-alive moment and reassured her decision to move to Nashville that same year.
Melissa credits 14 as the age she became obsessed with songwriting. It was the age she found out about a close friend’s drug addiction and sought comfort in scribbling religiously into a journal. Pair the writing with the birthday present her parents gave her that year – a turquoise Fender Stratocaster – and voila – the musical magic began. Melissa recalls rewriting lyrics to Mandy Moore songs, finding writing and singing to play a cathartic role throughout her teenage years.
She grew up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Her creatively supportive mom and dad allowed her to scribble song lyrics all over her bookshelves and dressers. Some lyrics were her own, while some were words of the artists she gravitated towards. From Blink 182 to Something Corporate to Jack Johnson to Taylor Swift to Katy Perry, Melissa’s eclectic musical collection consistently revolved around one commonality: relatable lyrics.
It wasn’t until her college years that she would finally perform her original music, while interning at multiple radio stations. After college graduation, she went against her nagging intuition and got a full-time marketing job. She quickly found herself bored and unfulfilled. And the dramatic daily phone calls to her mom saying, “Can I please quit .. ” drove Melissa into taking a major pay cut to accept a position at an independent record label in Wisconsin. It was one of the best decisions she ever made.
Encouragement from her new job pushed her to perform her own songs all over Wisconsin and planted the idea of moving to Nashville into her head. One year later, Melissa took her decade of musical daydreams and made the 500-mile-away move.
In the beginning, Melissa followed suit with the majority in Nashville, writing songs to fit the country music market. She released her debut album – Just Push Play – as a Pop-Country album. Striving to bring those big-stage, glitter-in-the-air visions to reality, Melissa self-booked a Just Push Play tour. From the kitchen counter of her Music City apartment, Melissa disguised her voice and pretended to be Rachel, Melissa Miller’s Manager, as she called venues all over Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
In the years to follow, Melissa fell in love, got broken, wrote songs about it, performed those songs live on television via FOX and CBS, got flown back to Wisconsin to perform red-carpet charity event Grand Slam Charity Jam, and performed Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival held in Milwaukee. When she experienced paying her rent solely from musical income for the first time in her life, she felt like she was finally doing it.
The confetti settled, and she found herself working a second job again, referring to her life as a series of Cinderella-like moments. She recalls one extremely weird 24-hour time period where she found herself flying first class for the first time but then sleeping on the floor of the airport during the layover. Another tasting-her-dream-but-still-waiting-for-the-whole-cake moment.
In 2016, an intense second wind swept in, transforming Melissa in countless ways. From her hairstyle to her musical artistry, she felt brand new. Teaching herself to play the keyboard redirected her songwriting and brought an organic, youthful excitement back into her life. She regained a positive mentality and rediscovered what initially brought her to Nashville – that uniquely beautiful human connection through musical creation.
Melissa is a tenacious go-getter. She thrives on being vulnerably honest. She is a straight shooter, who unapologetically draws on real-life experiences in her songwriting. And the Disney in her forever keeps the faith in the divine-like magic through the broken parts of life.
Melissa loves flirting with the edge, trying new and different to see what works. She lives cinematically, pushing herself to be brave in order to help others be brave.
In 2018, she is releasing five new songs: Glow In The Dark, Shadow Boxing, What You Do To Me, Empire, and Like A Boss. This EP is Melissa’s first entirely pop album.