By Sam Moore, Texas Music Reporter D.J. Miller is an unusual person. He has 20 years’ experience in country music stage performance. What makes him unusual is he is only 22 years old. Miller, a native of Indiana, will appear at Billy Bob’s Texa
s on Sunday, as part of the Wolf’s 12 Man Jam. That lineup includes Texas’ Eli Young Band, with whom Miller appears at times across the country. For the past year, Miller has been conducting an extensive radio station tour. He has visited 48 states and more than 250 stations, promoting his current single, “Between Sundays.” It currently sits at number 24 on the Music Row chart. The video of the song debuted at number six on the DMT Pure’s Top 12 Countdown last week. “It’s a song that pushes the philosophy and walking the walk and talking the talk,” said Miller. “So many people say ‘I went to church on Sunday, so I’m good to go,’ just to feel better about themselves. But what is really important is what you do between Sundays.” The song was originally going to another artist. But Miller said it grabbed him once he heard it. It promoted the morals and values that he grew up on. “It reminded me of my family, especially my grandpa. He worked the farm every day and helped everyone without wanting anything in return. And now, that song has the same impact on my audience. And I really want to record and perform for my audience.” He learned a lot about videos during the production phase for “Between Sundays.” “This was my first video,” Miller commented. “I didn’t know what to expect. But it turned out great. Now it has been nominated for a best new artist video award (Yallwire Video Music Awards).” Of course, D.J. Miller is not really a new artist. So how did Miller get so much experience so soon? He told TMJ, with a laugh, “I have been on the stage since I was 2. My dad had a country rock band – it was really a family band. So naturally, I grew up in the country atmosphere.” Miller was a huge fan of Garth Brooks. He has studied him and his performance techniques. As a result, members of a D.J. Miller audience will often see a wild,
hot-paced and energetic performance. Ironically, Miller has actually attended just one Garth concert, “one of the benefit shows after the Nashville flood.” And he has never met his boyhood idol. “I don’t know what I will do when I do finally meet him,” he said. One of the other major factors that has helped make D.J. Miller who he is today is the fact that he grew up on a farm. It was not just any old farm – it was a Christmas tree farm. That experience helped humble him. He said, “In any kind of musical profession, you want to stay humble. Working on the tree farm with my dad, we didn’t have any air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter. We were roughing it, and that helped keep me grounded and down to earth. It gives me that kind of push that I really AM country. I live in the sticks and I’m used to coming home with dirt under my nails. I am definitely NOT a New York City cowboy.” That is one of the things Miller loves about coming to Texas. At some places he performs around the country, he may be the only one wearing boots. But in Texas, he feels right at home. He loves the boots, the hats, the horses, the Wranglers, the cattle, and – of course – the fans. “It’s really a big honor to come to Texas and play at a place like Billy Bob’s,” he replied. “You don’t have to explain to anybody anywhere in the country when you are performing there. It’s fun to see people’s faces light up when you tell them. It’s kind of like one of those Grand Ole Opry scenes. It’s just one of those awesome places to make you proud to say you play there. “And there is one thing I learned right away when I played there last year. The fans are rowdy and they love their music. If they like you, they will make you feel welcome and take care of you. They told me last year that they had never heard of me before, but they loved my music. That really makes me feel good.” This year, those fans will get a taste of some new songs. In addition to the single, Miller has been working hard on a new CD. It will be released in early 2012. And Miller says that, despite the trend of pushing just single releases, he is excited about the CD. “Not everyone is plugged in to iTunes,” he said. I’m 22 years old. I have a bunch of friends who keep CD collections in their cars. If you really like an artist for his music, you will want to have everything he does.” At 22, Miller is living the dream that so many people have. So what is his advice to others? “You need to get writing. It is a huge thing in this career. Don’t give up and just keep pushing. I can tell you, the songwriting really helps get things started.” For now, Miller will continue hitting the road and gaining exposure. He has some concerts lined up for next year. He believes that if you are not on the road, you aren’t doing a very good job of getting your name out there. And as he finishes up his radio tour, he is planning to hit the colleges in 2012. Miller also has some ambitious long term goals. “I’m going to cross my fingers,” he said. “But I want to have a few Entertainer of the Year awards. That is something I really do want. I want my songs out there, and I want to be a headliner on the road.” To reach that goal, he strives to learn. “I always watch the other performers on stage,” he said, “especially the ones I open for. You can always learn something. You should never say you know it all.” His next chance to learn comes Sunday at Billy Bob’s. “I know we are going to have a great time. I love my Texas crowd!” For more information, visit http://www.djmillercountry.com/
Posted by: Sam Moore
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