We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, why did you pursue a creative career?
I continue pursuing a career as an artist-songwriter & novelist because art is what keeps color in the world!    I recently relocated to Chicago from Nashville, TN, where I spent seven years submerged in an artistic, musical atmosphere. I moved to TN in 2012, shortly after launching www.melissamillermusic.com and graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I give Nashville credit to opening my mind and my heart, transforming me from an eager girl into an empowered woman who creates opportunities for herself. Music City taught me that every person and every place is planted into our lives with a purpose worth uncovering.   Now in Chicago, I have a full-time position as a business writer, while I continue writing songs for film and television placements. I also have written two and a half novels. My first two are titled Sky High and Off the Grid, respectively, and my third novel (which I am currently working on) is titled Dear Whoever You Are. They are all romantic comedy fiction.   The view from my living room is the city loop. I cannot tell you what a wonder it is to wake up and see skyscrapers outside every single day. Planet earth wasn’t born with those buildings. Those buildings are indication that someone somewhere (well, many someones!) was brave enough to say their dream aloud and build it into reality. I want to be that kind of a person. Brave enough to build a skyscraper.   I carry my entrepreneurial dreams with me wherever I go, wanting to create trends rather than follow them. I’m an innovative person who gets bored when people say and do the same things over and over. Creativity is my purpose and my passion, while at the same time, I am passionate about inspiring others to use the gifts they were born with to build up the world. I believe a happy world is one where people are encouraged to be their unique selves.   I strive to forever be somebody who gives every single idea attention. I know that not every idea will come alive as a massive success story, but every creative thought is a gift worth acknowledging.    I stay true to my artistry through the peaks and valleys with A LOT of coffee and continually meditating on Romans 12:2 & Ecclesiastes 11:4.    Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I love this so much because I translate it to say, “Hey, you’re created uniquely. Find what works for you! If you’re working a 9-5 and feel miserable, that is teaching you something about yourself. Don’t abide by sticking with a job you loathe just because of the gravitational pull of society’s voice. You know better than that. Your inner voice is greater than society’s.”   Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” It’s a reminder that if we pay too much attention to our circumstances, we’ll never get anything accomplished. We’ll always come up with some excuse, telling ourselves we’re somehow not enough to do X,Y, or Z. But that is all in our heads. We need to stop getting in the way of ourselves, and just do it! Pursue it! This piece of scripture is actually why I so often go running outside even when it’s raining. It’s empowering to clock miles and show the rain that it won’t stop me.   Stay creative! And please check out my songs and blogs at www.melissamillermusic.com.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In the world of music, I write pop songs for film and television. I frequently collaborate with my producer/co-writer, Shay Watson (and a variety of other co-writers), and Beth Wernick of Imaginary Friends Music Partners pitches our music to various television shows and movies. Every placement is exciting! It’s so much fun to hear the songs we write aired on TV. I hope to one day be sitting in a movie theater and hear my songs playing on the trailer and/or the movie itself! Bring on the big screen! In the world of books, I write romantic comedy fiction. I am currently in the process of pitching both Sky High and Off the Grid to literary agents. Finding the right publisher is the goal. One of the toughest parts about pursuing a creative life is the unclear timeline on seeing the hard work pay off. While still in Nashville, there was a time I worked seven side hustles! It was exhausting, and I shouldn’t have done that to myself. In Chicago, I work one full-time position in addition to my songwriting and authorship. Shifting my lifestyle to be less chaotic created margin, allowing me to exhale and relax for a change. The word “relax” used to be foreign for me. Pursuing your own path also doesn’t come with an instruction manual. While you can read about somebody else’s journey, it’s never an apples-to-apples comparison. Your music might get film and television placements (which is the story for me), while somebody else goes on radio tour. There are many avenues to choose from—touring, radio, film & TV, recording artist, songwriter, and/or singer-songwriter to name a few. Finding the avenue that works best for your artistry is key. It’s all trial and error!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I don’t live in San Diego – but the few times I’ve traveled there, I spent the majority of my time in Seaport Village! I cannot get enough of how adorable that spot is, and I love the harbor. Spill the Beans and Seaport Coffee & Fudge Factory are two of my favorite casual dining locations!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
All of the friends and creative collaborators in my life make me feel like I am part of an inextinguishable constellation that is continually growing, shining brighter with each new addition. We all bounce brilliance off of one another, and the list of people who make me feel fully illuminated is tremendous. I have unwavering support from MANY (especially my family!) But I want to give a shoutout to the following individuals: -Neil Willenson who was my boss during the time I worked for Milwaukee’s Grand Slam Charity Jam. He encouraged me to move to Nashville. -Sarah Sheppard (stage name Sarah Spencer) who was my very first friend in Nashville. -Bill DiLuigi who was my very first co-writer. -Rachel Hutcheson who was my second co-writer.

Website: www.melissamillermusic.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissamillermusic/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-miller-46906915/
Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1ohUszngHZLhbv40BNV39k?si=ONxTUJSPR8O91-vxsqP7dA

Image Credits
©Barbara Potter Photography

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