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    Tor Miller
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    Barely out of his teens, Brooklyn's Tor Miller released his debut EP Headlights in February 2014. His soulful voice and musical poise place him alongside fellow male crooners Sam Smith and Hozier, and for those of us with a slightly more mature frame of reference, he might also bring to mind another songwriter and pianist with a New York pedigree, Billy Joel. Miller's most well-known single, "Midnight," conjures a meditative portrait of a slightly seedy, but still romantic and iconic, New York landscape. Tor gave me a little glimpse into his background and musical influences in a recent interview. 

    Often, new artists are compared to others as a kind of shorthand to describe their style. Do you mind being compared to others in this way? 

    It's very common for people to use association as a means of understanding new artists and I am completely accustomed to it. I am a massive David Bowie fan and love the sounds of the 70's but my heart also lies with the classic crooners, i.e. Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, as well as soul icons such as Ray Charles. 

    How do you approach songwriting when you’re working on new material? 

    Well, I will pull from my own experiences, whether it be recent or distant, and I'll either be in a co-writing session or on my own and keep working til I have hit a wall. I combat writers block by trying to write as often as possible, knowing that most of what I write may be pretty dull; but for every 10 dull ones you write, you will end up with 1 brilliant piece. 

    What kinds of things inspire your songwriting the most — personal experience, art, books, movies? 

    I am inspired mostly by my own experience, but I try to read as much as I can and will pick lines, concepts and turns of phrase that strike me.

    Who would you list as some of your major influences in music?

    David Bowie, Ray Charles, Queen, Frank Sinatra, and Tom Waits.

    Right now, you perform mostly as a solo act. Do you see yourself as being more of a band leader in the future? 

    It's always been my intention to have a band in place and to create bigger arrangements for my recordings. And I would definitely be keen to work with other artists. 

    Miller will play at the Haymarket Whiskey Bar next Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. just ahead of embarking on a European tour. Sponsored by WFPK, this show features Louisville's Justin Paul Lewis to open. Tickets are available online for $6 in advance and $8 at the door. 

    Selena Frye's picture

    About Selena Frye

    I'm a writer and editor living in Louisville since 1996. I'm originally from the Blue Ridge of Virginia.

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