Though only 16, Nova Miller is already burning up the music scene. Discovered as a tween, she’s struggled at times with being taken seriously as an artist – but it’s clear those days are behind her. With her debut EP Yellow, Nova sets herself apart from other young artists by displaying a personal and artistic introspective far beyond her years. Rather than dabbling in tired teen angst, Yellow instead embraces confidence and self-love, even through the hard times. Nova hopes to provide a musical essence to the emotions and experiences that her listeners may not be able to articulate. With tracks like these, we think that Nova’s flame will be burning long into the future.
Cliché: Your parents are both musicians. How did they nurture your passion for music growing up? Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
Nova Miller: YES! I feel like music was always in my life. I always had access to it because literally, every single person in my family works with music. I guess I just told my parents one day that I wanted to play the violin, and they were like, “Okay, cool!” And then I wanted to play guitar and be like Taylor Swift and Christina Aguilera. I think they were always supportive because they saw how dedicated I was and how much I loved it, even at a young age.
You were discovered at age 12. Was it difficult trying to break into the music industry being so young? What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
Definitely, being a young artist is really challenging because it’s so easy to get underestimated, especially as a young girl and especially in Sweden. It was like it didn’t matter how hard I worked, or how talented I was, or how much I loved it. It felt like it was never enough which is really strange. It is not until now that I’m 16 that people are starting to take me seriously like a “real person” and respect me more as an artist. The most important lesson is to not care what people think and to not let people bring you down. If you feel like you’re ready when you’re 12, you’re ready. Always listen to yourself and your dreams.
In 2015, your breakout hit was “Supernova,” a song about bullying that was deeply personal to you because you yourself were bullied when you were younger. What advice you have for kids dealing with bullying?
I mean, it is really hard to talk about for me still even today. I think a lot of people including myself don’t realize that they´re being bullied or treated poorly because bullying is not always physical. It’s not always a punch in the face. For me a lot of it was insane things people wrote to me on the internet and a lot of it was from my friends. There’s not really any advice other than GET HELP and never be ashamed. You’re not alone!
Talk about your single, “Turn Up the Fire.”
“Turn up the Fire” is one of those songs with an intense beat that makes you wanna dance. To me the song is about passion, my passion for music or passion for a person. The music video was shot in Iceland and directed by the amazing Nikeisha Andersson. I am blown away by the response on the song. Like, it hit over two million views on YouTube!?
In the lyrics, you boast about being “a wild one.” Do you consider yourself rebellious, or is that a reference to living free and uninhibited in the moment?
That line is actually really special to me, because every time I sing it I think of a quote in my head that I pretty much live for. If I translate it from Swedish to English, it’s like “being uncomfortable is the only way to grow.” Like how are you gonna know your full potential in life if you never try new things? And by being uncomfortable and challenging yourself, you’re eventually going to realize what you like and what you don’t like, but just being comfortable and never taking risks is a mistake, in my opinion!
Your new EP, Yellow, was just released. What was that creative process like?
It was a super emotional and long process. At times I felt like it was never gonna come together, and that the music wasn’t good enough. What changed my way of thinking was when I completely took the pressure off of everything and just said, “Screw it, this is what I wanna do! These are my experiences and feelings, and I’m just going to do what feels good to me.” And now it’s finally out, and I feel like I just had a baby. It’s SO CRAZY!!!
What was the inspiration behind the title?
So I wanted to call it Yellow because, first of all, it’s my faaaaavorite color. And, second of all, because of the way it makes me feel both when I look at it and when I hear it. A lot of people my age choose to talk about sex and drugs and being sad, and I definitely respect that. I think people should be able to talk about exactly what they want. But for me, I am a really positive person and I really hope that people listen to Yellow and feel GOOD. I want them to feel like they understand themselves and accept whatever they’re feeling.
“Talkin’ Talkin'” is about liking a guy so much you want him to be with you all the time. Does that reflect the experiences you’ve had in your own life?
With “Talkin Talkin,” I just wanted to make a song that is so easy to listen to and that just makes you happy. If you listen to the lyrics it’s about when you’re in that stage with a person. You´re not really dating but you´re more than friends, and just the thought of that makes you so happy and like all you want to do is talk about/to that person ALL the time.
In contrast, “Patterns” focuses on the angst and frustration of a knowing a relationship is falling apart, but seemingly not being able to stop it. How do you know when to walk away while still holding on to your self-esteem?
This is probably one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written. The truth is, I have no idea, and that’s why I wrote the song. I think it’s just about realizing that you deserve someone that truly appreciates you. Do what’s best for you.
“Plastic” is a reference to people in your life having big egos and being fake. How do you spot people who don’t have good intentions? How do you deal with them?
You know when you meet someone and they’re just a bit too good to be true? They´re funny, good looking, give you attention, and you just can’t help but think: are you actually real? From my own experiences, if you have to ask yourself that, it’s usually not real. It’s almost a bit funny, it’s like, I can see exactly what you’re trying to do here. The way I deal with people that are fake is that I just walk away and wish them the best.
Which track are you proudest of and why?
Definitely “Patterns”. I love that song and I always get emotional when I sing it. But I love all of them and I’m proud of every single track.
What’s one feeling or message that you want your fans to take away from listening to your EP?
Whatever it is that you’re going through in your life, I hope that Yellow can just be a little break from everything. When I was making this EP, I was going through a lot of things in my personal life, a lot of big changes, and I had to really face my own feelings and really become friends with myself. So if you can’t put your feelings into words, I hope you can listen to Yellow and go, “That’s exactly how I feel.”
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Nova Miller Shines Bright with Her New EP, Yellow. Photo Credit: Vendela Hyde.