A New Day for Hope

 

“Music kinda saved my life,” Katie Miller said, during an interview Thursday morning. Her new album, A New Day, releases on 25 March 2016. Esterhazy described Katie Miller as a unique addition to the Saskatchewan Music scene: “…Katie Miller combines her passion for songwriting, family and her home with an unmistakable harmonica infused contemporary folk-rock sound that portrays stories of life’s battles and conquests, being true to yourself and finding light amongst the darkness” (CBC.ca). When asked about inspiring factors to her musical abilities, Miller accredited self-observation gleaned from her own personal life experiences. Personal meaning holds much value in her art, and she admitted to creating her music for herself, as her own reflections on life. The amazing authority of music, however, is that it invokes universal meaning with the audience. Katie said, “Its great when you can make an impact on someone with a song.”

 

Speaking of impacting – or transforming – someone’s life, Katie Miller gives much credit, also, to her supportive and nurturing husband. She said, “I may not have pursued my music without my husband.” He encouraged her to embrace freedom and follow her creativity. In “What You See,” Katie identifies her husband as the artist because he – in a sense – created her through his belief and hope. The accompanying video for “What You See” is projected to be ready by next month. Katie said she envisions a natural, bare setting: her playing the guitar and the harmonica. A pure, honest picture of music.

 

There is something distinct and mesmerizing about the harmonica. Katie picked up the horn about three years ago, and she incorporates the harmonica whenever she feels like it might fit in well with different tracks. The addition of the mandolin, played by Thomas Roussin, resulted from a Friday night Tavern jam session. Katie described the mandolin as able to provide a certain “sprinkling of sparkle.” Music is not set in stone for Katie, and she said, “Music does grow” – if one explores. In “The Butterflies,” Miller added the cello and piano – played by Jared Robinson. She wanted an organic percussion, so they used the Cajon box and the Djembe drum – played by Shaun Bleich. Miller achieves the softer, mellow tones from the acoustic bass – played by Kathy Travis. Diverse instruments offer explosive possibilities, but Katie is not restricted by brand names. She plays a Gibson, but her Martin backpacker is lighter and works perfect for hikes or middle of the night impromptu playing. Katie loves change and sees music as flexible.

 

The mandolin was technically added to the ensemble after the songs were already done, Miller went back in to lay additional work to the album. Quite the undertaking for an independent artist, she writes, records, directs, and produces her art. Katie loves the music, and her ability to express herself is a significant key to her character. Working from a local platform, Katie Miller’s music is played on an online radio station, and was released on a track-per-week basis in the past. Katie will also be part of the Regina Women’s Network Annual Speaker Series, featuring the talented Chantal Kreviazuk, entitled “Courage, Wisdom, Success 2016!” on Thursday, May 26th (RWN.ca). Chantal focuses on the power of creativity, and Katie Miller is prime example of creative action. Over the holidays, Katie sang at a local event but wasn’t feeling the Christmas song so she wrote a song of her own, inspired by John Lennon’s “Imagine.” She wanted the community to connect and get along with another. She feels that relating to one another reduces the scariness of life. The relationship Katie has with music leaves one feeling that the music can indeed recreate the self.

 

The positive momentum created for Katie does not end with music alone. Miller is also a humanitarian at heart. She is close with her family and her community. Currently, Katie Miller donates fifty-percent of A New Day album sales to the Canadian Mental Health Association – Saskatchewan Division, through BandCamp. {Click HERE to order/donate} This effort was motivated by two significant factors: the rising suicide rate in teens and the compassionate nature of her twelve-year-old daughter. Katie Miller was moved by the escalating rate of teen suicide, especially when it hit close to home. “Darkside” touches on suicidal issues and depression, and she noted other songs from A New Day are rooted in mental wellness. Suicide can be linked to misunderstanding. Katie said, “You got to talk about it.” Discussion and learning allows society to develop a sense of understanding in differences of experience. However, the idea to donate came from her daughter. Raising them with humanitarian concerns, Katie encouraged her children to commit an act of charity on their birthdays. For her twelfth birthday, Katie’s daughter requested donations instead of presents; this year to the Canadian Mental Health Association in their Saskatchewan area.

JPEG image-F511C12ECFEB-1

Efforts to help humanity often start in one’s community. For Katie Miller, she first looks to family. Her son inspired “Flowers on the Sun” from a poem he wrote her when he was four years old. Katie holds the original letter in the photo above. She noted that musical abilities flourish in her family. Even the band name itself is branded by family – her real name is Katherine, but her grandmother’s name was Katie. She said that her grandmother also harkened to music and singing. ‘Katie Miller’ is her musical self, layered with memory, inspiration, and experience.

Another connection she holds dear is environment. Katie likes to hike and take in the great flatness of the prairie. The #1 Highway separates the rolling valleys and lush trees up north. Katie is in love with the beautiful place she lives in, and she writes songs about what she sees and feels, expounding on the wonder of nature. “Sunset” was inspired by a picture she took that invoked feelings of hope and resilience. Katie grew up in Saskatchewan, but she has lived other places. Her connection with the prairie always draws her back home.

 

Shout to Sources: BandCamp, Canadian Beats, Regina Women’s Network, SoundCloud

Welcome to Punchland!

We know, totally annoying, but we need to do it!