Nicole Millar on her debut album, making connections and finding new inspiration

NICOLE MILLAR is a born star. From her early days when she snapped up an ARIA for her vocals on Peking Duk‘s enormous smash hit, ‘High’, to her own singles going gold like ‘Tremble’, she’s worked hard to refine her craft. It’s not always easy to wait and work hard instead of rushing into things, but it’s this restraint and careful decisions that Millar has made that has lead her to today, the release date of her debut album.

Titled Excuse Me, this album is 11 tracks (plus four bonus songs) and serves as a snapshot into a star who has grown up a lot over the past few years. Openly speaking about how she wanted to cover more in her subject matter than boys and love, Excuse Me weaponises Millar‘s pop sensibilities to make her a fully-realised artist, completely self-assured and defiant in the faces of those who tell her what she can (or most importantly, can’t) do.

Of course, love and boys do get mentioned, but it’s a testament to Millar‘s incredibly evolved songwriting that these songs are not just surface level musings but relatable stories where Millar attempts and succeeds in making genuine connections through her music. From the already released singles like ‘Blindfolded’ and ‘Gimme A Break’, to previously unheard gems like the standout ‘All My Issues’ or ‘Pink Sundae’ featuring MUKI, the range of sounds and styles on display show just how much of Millar has been poured into this record. From BANKS-influenced dark electro to 80s nostalgia, RnB stylings or just a classic pop banger, she’s at her most accessible, her most diverse and her most impressive on Excuse Me, and it’s proof that the wait has absolutely been worth it.

We caught up with Nicole on the eve of her album dropping to talk becoming more honest, inspirations and what she’s still looking forward to. Take a read below!

Your album is finally released tomorrow! How are you feeling about it all? 

It’s feels surreal, I’ve had some of these songs for over 2 years so I can’t wait for them to be out.

You’ve got some of your biggest singles mixed in with some brand new, never heard before songs but altogether it really feels like a whole picture of you that you’re letting people see. What made you decide to want to let people in more than you ever have before?

I’m just trying to be more honest as a person and as a writer, I want people to connect with me as a person and through my music. The best thing about music is when you can help someone go through what you went through yourself.

I read briefly that your management told you a few years ago to wait and not rush into releasing songs. Now, on the eve of your debut album being released, what did you learn about yourself or your career over the years based on taking this advice? 

I think I’m still learning (always learning). As an artist, I’ll write a song and want to put it out the next day, but it’s true that the more you write the better you get and the more clever and confident you get.

You’ve spoken about how inspiration comes to you really randomly and you’re inspired by images. I am curious to know, given that some of your album was written in Sydney and some in Sweden and also LA, whether being in those different locations and obviously having new scenery around you contributed to any different inspiration for you? 

It definitely helps in order to get inspired. I feed off being alone so I can really write what’s true to me. So being in a different space alone from your friends and family and meeting new people pushes me out of my comfort zone.

There’s obviously a really clear change in what you are writing about on this album and you’ve spoken previously about how you didn’t want to keep writing about boys or about love. It sounds like you really pushed yourself to try on new things with your songwriting and that’s not an easy thing to do! Do you feel like learning to push yourself and try different things to cover liberated you in a way and freed your mind to create these different kind of songs? 

Yes for sure, writing is almost like therapy. I think even if you aren’t a songwriter, you should write down your feelings to help make you feel better. I normally write my best songs when I’m frustrated, mad or sad. I’m still pushing myself to let people in on what my life was like growing up but it’s hard sometimes to write about the past.

I think its so cool that you’ve done that, because in a way, you’ve invited people to make a genuine connection which can be so powerful. Have you felt this on your end that fans or new fans are creating these special connections to your songs?

Definitely, I speak to them everyday online. I like to think of my fans as a little community where anyone can talk to me about what they are going through and it’s so cute, a lot of them become friends over my music.

You worked with a few producers on this record and the vast range of different styles and influences is so impressive. You say that you make “pop, but not” and I think that’s really true considering just how many different styles of pop are on this record. Do you feel that pop is really having a moment right now where people are embracing it more and more, which then allows you do to so much more with it? 

Yes, I think finally the word around pop isn’t so daunting to people now. People have this stigma about pop music being uncool but really pop music can be anything it just means popular music. With my music, I’m just trying to create pop music with cool production and interesting lyrics to make it feel not so clean and same/same.

I’m actually so bummed I’m going to miss your Brisbane show, but I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing tour. You’ve got Sophiegrophy and Oh Boy joining you, which is absolutely awesome. Such a great line up! It kind of goes into what we were just saying about how you can do so much with pop now and you’re not just stuck in one sound. What is it about these artists that made you want to take them on the road with you? 

Aw a shame, hope to see you soon! I wanted some new fresh artists to join me on tour, they are both creating such great music at the moment and I can’t wait.

Lastly, I’m sure your year is absolutely stacked for the rest of 2018 but I wanted to know, what’s something that you’re personally looking forward to or that you really wanted to do, on a personal level? 

Just keep travelling the world and see new places and learn more from people.

Excuse Me is out now via EMI. Buy/Stream here.

Nicole Millar’s ‘Excuse Me’ National Tour

FRI 8 JUNE – KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

SAT 9 JUNE – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE

Tickets available from www.eventbrite.com.au | All Eventbrite Outlets

SUN 10 JUNE – WRANGLER STUDIOS, MELBOURNE [U18’S MATINEE]

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

SAT 16 JUNE – THE FOUNDRY, BRISBANE [U18 MATINEE]

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

SAT 16 JUNE – THE FOUNDRY, BRISBANE

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

FRI 22 JUNE – THE BEERY, TERRIGAL

Tickets available from www.eventbrite.com.au | All Eventbrite Outlets

SAT 23 JUNE – OXFORD ART FACTORY, SYDNEY [U18’S MATINEE]

Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

SAT 23 JUNE – OXFORD ART FACTORY, SYDNEY

Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

FRI 29 JUNE – ADELAIDE UNI, ADELAIDE [LIC/AA]

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

SAT 30 JUNE – JACK RABBIT SLIMS, PERTH

Tickets available from www.ticketbooth.com.au | All Ticketbooth Outlets  

For tickets and touring information head to www.nicolemillar.com.au

 

Interview by Emma Jones

READ MORE INTERVIEWS HERE 

SEE ALSO

NICOLE MILLAR RETURNS WITH 80S INSPIRED ‘GIMME A BREAK’
NICOLE MILLAR DELIVERS HER MOST PERSONAL SONG YET WITH ‘BLINDFOLDED’

About:

Three-time uni dropout who just can’t stop telling people about this great new song she’s found.