Nicole Millar on her creative refresh & being environmentally conscious
Having become a staple of the Australian music scene over the last few years, singer-songwriter Nicole Millar no longer felt that her persona on social media reflected her musicality and growing confidence in her ability as an artist.
So ahead of the release of her latest single ‘Favours’, Millar wiped her Instagram account of all content; sending fans into a frenzy.
“I feel like I’ve grown so much as a person and artist since I’ve started,” she tells TMN. “I feel more confident with myself and I needed a creative refresh.
“It actually worked so well in engaging with my fans, people started to notice there was a change and I think they were excited!”
After breaking out on Peking Duk’s 2014 single ‘High’, Millar has released a steady string of singles that have received decent support from alternative radio.
Her creative reinvention also comes with a change in musical direction, which coincides with a new-found trust in her ability as a songwriter.
“It’s very important to keep in the loop with your fans and reinvent yourself,” she says. “I’ve always been really inspired by hip hop it’s basically all I listen too. I love listening to freestyle and think it’s such an honest way of writing.
“I’ve basically gone back to the way I started writing to beats at home on the couch and then bringing them into the studio with a producer to finish. I guess I’m just experimenting and trusting myself as a writer rather than needed someone to tell me I’m good or not good enough.”
It’s not just Millar that’s changed, but the industry that she works and lives in. She’s learnt to speak her mind more often, but admits she deals with male bias on a regular basis.
“Things are easier because I think people listen to me more when I tell them how it is, and they trust my opinion,” Millar explains.
“But damn I still have moments it’s hard being a girl in the industry. There are people every day that I still have to deal with taking my money and not doing anything in return, but it’s all a learning process.”
‘Favours’ is already landing well with her fans, as well as starting to breach new ground with an unexpected new target market. Taking to Twitter last week, Millar revealed that she’d copped follows from a stack of people interested in leather fetishes.
“Omg yes I live for this, definitely wasn’t expecting it though,” she laughs.
“I think it’s such an interesting community and they are such passionate and lovely people. Of course, I always find it so cool seeing who my music touches.”
Far from closing herself off in a studio for a writing session, ‘Favours’ was written in a garage with fellow Aussie talent Muki and Kilter.
“We actually wrote this song In my mum’s garage, we had the garage open all day as well and some random people walking by thought it would be fun to pop in and talk to us so it was quite a funny day.”
When asked what she believes is the biggest challenge facing the music industry, Millar calls out musicians who don’t actively use their position of influence to highlight the impact of climate change.
“Climate change something that contributes high to my anxiety,” she says.
“I think being an artist we need to be at the top of our game with helping the earth as we travel more than the average human and venues always supply plastic bottles and allot of food waste.
“We just need to all do our part and be conscious in our decisions. I’ve recently started donating some profits of my merch to a company One Tree Planted who plants a whole tree for just $1 they are doing some amazing work.”
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Another core challenge is the instability of an industry dominated by streaming platforms.
In an age where streaming figures don’t necessarily lead to sustained financial stability, Millar says she tries not to look at the numbers.
“I feel like if you were in Spotify’s New Music Friday a couple years ago you could reach 1 million plays In a week and now it’s much less, as the industry is oversaturated with music.
“I’m trying not to look at the numbers as much and more the beautiful messages I get sent from fans and the connections I make.”