Introducing: Misty Miller, An Ex-Ukulele Sensation Who Found a New Sonic Identity

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By Caitlin White

If you type Misty Miller's name into Youtube, a video of her at age sixteen wearing a flower crown and sweetly playing a on a ukulele in her hometown of Wimbledon comes up. This is not, however, the Misty Miller that I spoke to by phone a few days ago. The video right below the acoustic, twee ukulele song is the one that really has people paying attention—it's the one that defines the sound that the now nineteen-year-old calls her own.

"Next to You" is the lead single off Misty's new EP of the same name, due out today through Relentless Records. There's no flower crowns in sight. It's grunge and powerful guitar solos mixed with a little blues and punk, and Misty herself looks like a real London girl, not a ukulele playing china doll come to life.

"The thing I really want to stress is that my current music, this work right now is me and this is what I’m about," Misty said when I asked her what she most wanted American audiences to know about her. "I think having all the old stuff out there does get in the way of that. I guess when more stuff comes out that’s when I’ll be happy. By the time I’d finished recording that album I had already got interested in different kind of music."

"I had these songs in my head and a ukulele was literally just the instrument at hand. I started writing them and then it stuck. Suddenly I was the “ukulele girl” and people would talk about it. But to me it was just a tool to sing my songs."

When her dad bought the teenager a ukulele on a whim, she finally found an instrument to write songs on, but when the sound began to feel like a gimmick, Misty felt a little cheated. "I had these songs in my head and a ukulele was literally just the instrument at hand," she said. "I started writing them and then it stuck. Suddenly I was the “ukulele girl” and people would talk about it. But to me it was just a tool to sing my songs."

Upon even a cursory listen of the two EPs that she released this year, it's immediately apparent that she's right. Her sound is rich and luminous, artfully bridging the gap between sadness and strength, exploring issues that plague the hearts of teenagers and grown-ups alike. She inked a deal with Sony a little over a year ago and the initial results indicate that the label may have struck at just the right moment. There's heartache, self-assurance, longing, and love all tied up within a powerful bluesy rock band, each song feels like a closer look at the multi-faceted songwriter and singer.

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