In the wake of her tantalizing single ‘Storm Before’, Birmingham’s rising indie monarch Genevieve Miles sheds some of her regal wisdom in this refreshing interview covering everything from being an emerging artist during the pandemic to the themes of nature and spirituality in her music to the Birmingham music scene. And what’s next for Genevieve Miles? Well you’ll have to read the interview to find out.
Hey Genevieve! How has 2021 been for you so far?
Hey, thanks for having me! My 2021 has been a roller coaster already haha. I’m grateful that spring is here – I think the start of this year was definitely a kind of hibernation, time for hiding, reflecting, planning and gathering everything together ready to make the most of the freedom we’re now getting as restrictions start to lift.
While you haven’t been able to perform live, how have you adapted to these times to connect with your fans and share your music?
I’ve definitely been trying to figure out how I can use social media in a way that works for me. I spent a lot of time resenting the fact that social media is such a key part of being a musician in the 21st century, because I like to think if I didn’t do music I would just have a brick phone and be completely detached from that world. But I had a little break from instagram at the start of this year and I kind of realised that I can’t just hide from that part of life. These platforms are amazing tools and you can have a lot of fun using them creatively. I’m still definitely on that journey of figuring out how to use socials in a way that makes me feel happy and comfortable – it’s quite a strange thing feeling, sometimes I feel like I’m just shouting about myself all the time when I’m promoting my music and it makes me feel quite uncomfortable. I’m still tryna figure it out (I do realise the irony that I’m saying all this in an interview where I’m talking about myself haha).
How would you describe your sound to someone who has never listened to it before?
Sunny, synthy, stormy, indie, jazzy.
You’ve just released ‘Storm Before’, what does this song mean to you?
This song was a big turning point in understanding the music I want to be releasing. I think often you don’t have control over what you create, it just happens before I can even stop and think a lot of the time, and I’m learning to accept that. But I think now I allow myself to write a load of songs, let out whatever wants to come out, and then I can pick out the stuff that really sounds like my soul, which songs I want to represent me out in the world. I’m being a lot more picky with that. When I first played Storm Before with a load of my friends, the way it sounded when we were jamming with it, it felt like I’d finally cracked the code or something haha, I’d been feeling so unsatisfied, trying to figure out how to get make the sounds I wanted to and this song was the first time I finally felt I was doing that.
We’ve noticed some spiritual themes from the songs you’ve released so far, such as ‘Magic Man’ and ‘Libra Rising’, does this relate to your personal life at all?
Haha, definitely, but that isn’t something I’ve been consciously doing – you know I genuinely didn’t really clock that til now haha. But definitely. That’s a massive part of myself accidently dripping into the music I’m making I guess. I read The Alchemist recently – I think that book sums up my beliefs pretty well; finding faith in coincidences, feeling the magic in sunsets, connecting with the earth.
Nature is also a prominent theme, including the power of weather in ‘Storm Before’, do you find inspiration from the natural world?
Definitely. I always find myself accidentally writing about nature in my music. I grew up in proper countryside so maybe that has something to do with it? But also I find so much comfort in the natural world so drawing on that in my music is also like a protective thing if that makes sense? The natural world has always been and will always be there for me – its kind of a constant in the craziness and business of our fast paced lives. No matter what I can always go for a walk and be with the trees, even in a city like Birmingham.
You’re based in Birmingham, what’s the music scene like there?
The scene is pretty wonderful here. It was amazing moving here and suddenly being surrounded by all these musicians. It’s a big place but it’s a supportive community. I’m excited to get out to gigs again, I miss bumping into familiar faces like that.
Can you name a couple of local bands/artists we should go check out?
Graywave and Bryony Williams are both smashing it currently. Leon C’s recent EP is so beautifully honest. Echo Gecco are very cool guys. Supine makes beautiful music. Sorry that’s more than a couple haha.
What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
Lots more releases, some music I’m proud of. And I’m planning some special gigs. I’m gonna be moving cities too so all in all I’m hoping for lots of adventures.
Do you have a message or piece of advice for any artists or bands who are looking to release their first single?
Don’t rush – it’s so worth it if you wait until you are releasing something that feels like your soul and you are 100% proud to show to anyone you meet. And be honest with the people you’re working with – speak your gut truths even if it feels like you’re being inconvenient. And don’t be so hard on yourself. These are all things I’m only just understanding.
Stay up to date with Genevieve Miles on Instagram.