NY Singer Tor Miller Is Far From Home But He's Making A Splash This Side Of The Water
We interview the rising singer-songwriter...
Signed to Glassnote Records, the home of Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, Childish Gambino and more, rising singer-songwriter Tor Miller has been turning heads of late.
Some of those heads include Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens and Jo Whiley, so naturally his future is looking bright.
If you were lucky enough to see him live at one of his recent sold out London shows you'll have had a taste of this piano-playing, gospel-inspired New Yorker's music so we sat down with him in London, where he's been putting the finishing touches to his album (we had a sneaky listen and so far, so likey), to find out more about this exciting new talent...
MTV UK: How would you describe your music?
T: "It’s all from personal experience. I think it’s like 70s inspired, New York centric…something…rather I don’t know it’s tough, it’s always a tough question! Sort of a bit of Tom Waits, sort of gritty narrative...I’m a big Bowie fan and I love Ray Charles and all those gospel dudes, so sort of an amalgamation of all that stuff."
MTV UK: How would your parents describe it?
T: "Yeah they like it, I don’t know maybe the same - I guess I’ve said it to them, I instruct them on to go with it!"
MTV UK: Who's footsteps would you like to follow in?
T: "I would love to sort of [follow in] Bruce Springsteen’s a bit just in the sense that - I’m not the most massive Bruce Springsteen fan, like I love some of his albums - but I find just, sort of, his team, and how he kept everyone from the get go, and kept it really close to the chest, I’d love to have that, and just sort of [make sure] you never forget where you came from and why you were doing it from the first place."
MTV UK: How does it feel being released on the same label as Mumford & Sons and Phoenix? Does any pressure come with it?
T: "Not really, you can’t think about it. It’s just nice to say to your friends and stuff so they know that when you say ‘I dropped out of school to do music’ it’s not so embarrassing."
MTV UK: How did you celebrate when you signed?
T: "I did the signing in New York and they had a bunch of champagne and we popped it in the office. I guess, I can’t remember really, we had a big night all the friends after!"
MTV UK: What’s it like having the backing of people like Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens and Jo Whiley?
T: "It’s incredible and I think it sort of just justifies everything you do and makes you feel proud. It's just nice [having the] support to keep going, and moving, and it keeps the wheel turning so I appreciate it dearly."
MTV UK: What's the road up to here been like? Any tear your hair out moments?
T: "I did, last summer, four months of songwriting sessions and I was doing that like every single day. Different country, different place and moving around all the time and sort of having the same conversation with different people every single day, and I think there was a moment when I went to LA like last August and I was like 'if you sign me up for another session I’ll f**king kill the next person I see', like it’s so bad."
MTV UK: Tell us some things about you that you haven’t told anyone else.
T: "I used to ride horses as a kid. I was a baseball player - I thought I was gonna do that as a career and go to school and do that."
MTV UK: Who have you been working with lately?
T: "No, I mean recently I’ve just been focusing on myself. I’ve done some songwriting with other artists, some stuff in LA, so it’s really nice, but no I’ve just been 100% involved with making this record."
MTV UK: Who do you hear on the radio and think they're doing it right?
T: "Radio-wise I don’t know but certainly artists in the last couple of years that I really enjoy I think, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, I look up to quite a lot and I really enjoy their music, so that pretty much. But there’s just I don’t know, most music I hear recently has felt uninspired but maybe I’m not looking hard enough."
MTV UK: What's on your iPod that people wouldn't expect?
T: "Not a guilty pleasure I guess but I think you wouldn’t expect it… I used to be a big Hip-Hop guy so I’ve got Action Bronson and old school Gang Starr so I listen to a lot of rap music.
"Guilty pleasure-wise I guess maybe ABBA or something. My mum used to be obsessed so I’d listen to that once in a while."
MTV UK: We’ve heard about that gig with a man ‘pleasuring’ his girlfriend – what other bad gigs have you endured?
T: "Yeah that was up there…when I was younger in New Jersey I did a lot of three hour gigs, like restaurants and just playing for people as they eat and drink, and those are pretty soul-crushing because nobody’s listening and you just keep going.
"So I did a lot of those and that’s really tough."
Tor's Headlights EP is out now and you can catch him live at Latitude Festival.