Good thing that Carolyn Miller has the never-stop Energizer Bunny work ethic. Otherwise, she’d never be able to pull off what is obviously the ultimate commute – dividing her artistic career between her native New York and Nashville. The model-tall, powerhouse vocalist, who released her breakthrough single “Summer Time” in 2019 makes her home in Long Island. But she also manages frequent hops to Music City to take care of her important business, including writing, recording and making the necessary industry contacts. Sounds terribly exhausting, but Miller makes it work with well-thought-out plans, an abundance of energy and a keen sense of humor.
On that latter note, she devised a name for her back-and-forth, city-hopping schedule. “I coined the term, ‘Nash Dash,’ for those of us who don’t live here,” Miller says, as she visits with Sports & Entertainment Nashville at the hip Dose Coffee, a popular Music City hang. “Whenever I would come to Nashville, it was like a tornado of meetings, writing appointments, performances, all in a short span of time. So I thought, it’s like the ‘Nash Dash.’ But I’ve learned to have a theme of what I want to accomplish each time. This time, it’s all about performing. There wasn’t so much writing but I’ll do that on another trip.”
Miller garners enough work in her home base to allow her to stay in New York. Amazingly enough, she’s hardly the only aspiring artist who jumps between a hometown and Nashville. Miller has figured out a strategy for managing the tricky two-step. As she alluded, she concentrates on one particular avenue each visit.
“Writing is an important part of your career, and it’s super important to work on your writing skills,” Miller points out. “I do a lot of writing in New York, but there are times when I come to Nashville that I focus only on doing writing sessions. Some of my friends are the great writers in town and they text me if they have something for me. If it’s the right fit and I connect with it, I’m all about it. I’ve just been super lucky to have gotten to know these writers.”
She made those connections through the time-honored art of networking, a “must” for anyone trying to navigate the music business. That’s especially important for those who reside outside of Nashville. Miller started attending writers’ nights at the various clubs around Music City and introducing herself to artists whose songs she related to.
“If there is one piece of advice I would give anyone new to Nashville is just to be visible,” Miller says with a smile. “That is the main thing. Go out as much as you can.” Not always easy, but Miller, an easygoing conversationalist with a gregarious personality, found that she enjoyed the challenge. “I love networking and I think it’s a strength of mine, actually,” she says. “I’m not afraid to walk up and start a conversation. A lot of times, I would go to shows by myself. I would watch the writers and who they were interacting with. And I would go up to someone after the show and introduce myself. You exchange numbers and before you know it, you’ve made a friend. You can get co-writing appointments that way.”
Miller also advises a visit to the NSAI office in Nashville. NSAI is a songwriters trade association and helps aspiring writers in all genres of music. “Going to NSAI is amazing,” Miller declares. “They can set you up with co-writes.” Miller relates her own positive experience during a co-write that the organization helped arrange. “[Songwriter] Lance Carpenter sat down with us and offered some feedback,” Miller recalls. “He was so nice and helpful. Now he’s one of my closest friends and we sometimes write together.”
Carpenter, whose biggest hit is Kelsea Ballerini’s No. 1 “Love Me Like You Mean It,” proved a most beneficial contact – he was one of the writers on Miller’s smash single “Summer Time.” The fun and flirty tune provided the breakthrough song that Miller needed to engage her fan base and give her career a nice boost. “Definitely, ‘Summer Time’ did well for me,” Miller says. “I filmed my first-ever music video for it and CMT aired it. They really got behind the video and that was such a huge help.”
Look for many more new singles as we flip the calendar to 2020. “I think 2020 is going to be the year of the single,” Miller smiles. “I plan to crank out about six or seven singles next year, so no one will be waiting eight weeks for a song. It’s such a great way to connect with your fans.” You can also catch Miller in Nashville at the Whiskey Jam show, January 16th.
That will no doubt be part of the year’s first “Nash Dash.” Miller apparently thrives on the frenetic schedule, though, so no worries for her. “I’m used to a go-go-go pace,” she says with enthusiasm. “I can get by on little sleep. My husband once said that if I was an animal, I’d be a puppy because I have all this energy. And when I crash, I crash.” Letting go a laugh, she adds, “I thought that was pretty good. I liked that.”
For more on Carolyn Miller, visit her website and follow her on social media.