Catching Up with Tor Miller

In Commentary, HOME, Interview, MUSIC by Elizabeth Clarke

The Times have listed him as a ‘Breaking Act’, the Guardian have featured him in the legendary NBOTW and BBC’s Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley are big fans. He is a charming, handsome and talented New Yorker signed to Glassnote records. I caught up with the new kid on the scene – Tor Miller.

The role of a record label in the music industry is pretty fascinating. How they can shape an artist’s sound over the course of a contract and develop a whole new image for an artist is a strange balance; does the authority of the music industry lie with the management or the artist themselves? The independent label Glassnote Records are a particularly intriguing one. The acts they have signed range from Mumford and Sons with a staple 4AD sound to Childish Gambino with a more urban, Roc Nation vibe and the gritty glaswegian Chvrches. All of these sounds are lined up against this new 21st century crooner, Tor Miller.

EC: You have been signed to the amazing Glassnote Records, are there any other artists on this label who inspire or influence your style in any way? 

TM: I respect a lot of what the bands on the label have done and I’m quite a big Phoenix fan but I can’t really say they had an influence on my music. Their career path, as well as Mumford and Sons’, is the most inspiring to me. 

EC: If not inspired by other acts on the label, who is your biggest musical inspiration?

TM: I would have to say it is David Bowie. Recently though I’ve been into a lot of Tom Waits. 

Zane Lowe unexpectedly played an iPhone recording of one of Tor Miller’s songs on his flagship Radio 1 show, he also later made ‘Hold The Phone’ his Next Hype. He loves Tor Miller’s sound so I wanted to know whether Tor Miller expected to get such a good response from the UK to his music.

EC: People in the UK, including Zane Lowe, are loving your sound for 2015, did you think the UK would be so into your music? 

TM: The UK has more of an openness to new and different types of music. So they seem to be on the pulse of the action. I just don’t think my iPhone recording of a song would have had a chance to air on a large US radio station.

So, having established that the UK is much more current and on point with the latest music trends, I wanted to see if Miller could settle the transatlantic debate on the quality of crowds.

EC: You have visited London a few times now, how do you feel the crowd compares to the New York scene and is it any better? 

TM: I think that in my experience the UK crowd has been more active and interested as to what’s going on in the live scene. So I think that translates into larger and more invested [fans] coming out to gigs.

Miller was studying recorded music at NYU whilst breaking into the New York music scene and getting signed by a major label. It must be hard for a young singer (Miller is just 20 years old) to balance his dreams for musical success whilst also studying what he loves, so I wanted to know what the priority was for Miller.

EC: Are you expecting to return to NYU after your 2 year break? Or is going into music professionally where your heart really lies? 

TM: Music is for sure where I wanna take this train. I don’t see myself going back to school, it would feel like taking two steps back, but I always keep my options open and never burn any bridge. 

Even in this short interview, one gets a real sense of Miller’s dreamy lyricism (‘pulse of the action’, ‘where I wanna take this train’); sometimes verging on corny. However, this cheesiness is easily forgotten when accompanied with his talent on the piano and passionate voice.

One would be hard-pushed to not be moved at all by Tor Miller.

Tor Miller’s debut EP Headlights is out now.

Elizabeth Clarke

Liz is the Deputy Editor of Music at PTL. She listens to radio podcasts every night to get to sleep and Hip-Hop or Shoegaze are the soundtrack to her everyday life. She endeavours to be as classy and cool as Marion Cotillard but rarely ever manages this. Liz does not enjoy writing a brief summary about herself in the third person but does love using slang she can’t quite pull off.

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(Image sourced from: here)