Grant Milliren Summer Tour & Interview
With brand new music on the horizon, Grant Milliren has announced his summer tour in preparation of the next release! These shows will be taking the indie songwriter through the Midwest.
We’ve taken the time to speak with Grant during an interview. Check it out below!
Hey Grant! It’s great to talk with you. So where are you from and where are you calling home these days?
It’s awesome to talk with you! I am from a suburb of Chicago, IL called Naperville. But, I live in Bloomington-Normal, IL and I am a junior at Illinois State University.
It seems you’ve been on a constant ride with musical projects. How did you get involved with music?
My father bought me my first guitar in the sixth grade. I loved messing around with it, but I didn’t fully immerse myself into being a musician until I was a freshman in high school. I started back up on drums and played drums in a few bands throughout high school, but I was always writing songs on the side. One day when I was a junior in high school, I realized that I wanted to be a singer-songwriter and began to pursue that more than anything.
How was the experience transitioning from gigging with bands all the time to becoming a solo artist? Any substantial changes?
The transition was definitely a change of pace, but I love it. I just have a vision of what I want to accomplish and being the controller of that vision is really cool. But, having awesome band members like mine is what makes me happy, because they support that vision and they’re always open to new things. They are great friends and I am able to bounce ideas off of them. I love being solo now because I thoroughly enjoy putting in all the work. I am incredibly hungry and having band members that back you up, is hard to come by. What can I say? I’m very appreciative and lucky to have them.
Being a musician in college definitely has to be advantageous for you. What type of reception do your peers give you knowing that you are an artist?
It’s usually a warm reception. People, especially college students, are very into people who have an art form to share. At least, that’s the vibe I get. But, I’ve had someone walk up to me on campus and ask “Hey, you’re Grant Milliren, right? The musician?” and that had to be the coolest feeling in the world. Getting noticed for my craft is a big thing to me and I am glad people listen and follow along.
A lot of colleges have bands come through for live shows on campus. Have you ever had the opportunity to open for a major artist at your college?
I have not, but I am hoping to at some point. Illinois State doesn’t really book many rock acts or many acts at all. I’m hoping within these next two school years that I will be able to have the opportunity. It would be a dream come true!
I see that you are signed by Illinois State University’s record label. That’s quite the accomplishment! How does one go about making something like that happen?
I am signed and it definitely was an accomplishment! Luckily, I had a friend who knew the student running STU Records and my friend told me that I should fill out an application for the label. I did and then the rest was history.
What’s the easiest type of song for you to write?
That’s tough. I would say an imaginary song would be the easier song to write just because it allows me to not be completely honest. That’s why I love writing songs because I can channel thoughts I have that I wish were true or weren’t true and make something out of it. It also allows my mind to wander into different areas and channel different emotions. If that makes sense…
When you first started gigging solo, how comfortable were you with being on stage and knowing that the crowd is there for only you now?
Very comfortable. It’s like nothing else matters in that situation. It’s just the crowd and I. I’m really lucky to be able to say that because stagefright was a thing for me during my first two or three gigs ever. But, once I got into the groove, it was natural. That’s the best way to describe it.
I hear that we can expect an album from you late Summer. Tell me how it’s been putting a new body of work together. Have there been any challenges?
Yes, you can! My debut solo LP, “The Little Things”, will be out in August on all platforms and I couldn’t be more stoked about it! This project has been one hell of a ride. It’s been fun with a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. One challenge was that I ended up switching producers midway through the recording of the album because the previous producer and I weren’t gelling well. It was nothing against him or his work, I just felt the need to take this project on with someone else who understood my vision. Lastly, I had about 10 songs written for this album and I ended up cutting two because I fell out of love with those songs. They didn’t fit the mold of the album and sometimes you have to make cuts.
Even though you are a solo artist now, do you still take the opportunity to collaborate with your fellow musicians?
Definitely. I think connecting and collaborating with other musicians is a big thing in songwriting. It lets you take a look outside of the box and hear other opinions. I think it’s helped develop who I am as a musician a lot, too.
How would you describe the music scene in your area?
Naperville: We had a lowkey punk/funk scene when I was in high school, which is really cool. But, mostly we had an indie/emo rock scene and I think I gravitated towards that a lot more as I got older, especially with my music taste. There were also some great alternative bands that I really enjoyed watching and my early work dabbled into that a lot as compared to now.
Bloomington-Normal: Emo scene to the absolute max. It’s super cool. But within that, there are obviously a big amount of different genres. Alternative, jam band, jazz, funk, jazz-fusion, you name it. College towns are sweet.
Do you enjoy gigging locally or do you prefer to travel to different states?
I love local gigs a lot, but moving around to different states was a HUGE move on my bucket list as a musician. I’m touring the Midwest this summer and I’m excited to get my music out to different people. Being around different scenes will be super fun too and I’m looking forward to connecting with the locals in those areas.
Putting music to the side for a moment, how is college going? Are you getting close to finishing and do you have any special plans after you graduate?
College is going great! I have two years left. I will be a junior in August and I am looking forward to the rest of my years as a college student. I will be moving out of Illinois after I graduate, but I am not sure where just yet. I have a few cities in mind that are great music cities and I will keep pursuing music as the years go by. I’m a fine art major with a focus in music so I am hoping that helps get my foot in the door and make connections with people in the music biz.
We ask everyone we interview, what’s the best piece of advice that someone has ever given to you about the music game?
Keep. Going. There’s going to be times where you’re spent and you don’t know if you can endure the journey anymore, but you can. Keep a level head, take risks, soul-search, be strong, and most importantly stay confident. I’ve had my ups and downs, but there is no such thing as a free ride. You have to work, you have to remain driven, and you have to believe in yourself. If this shit was easy, everyone would be doing it right?
Grant Milliren Midwest Tour Dates:
07/06/2018 – Plainfield, IL @ Nevin’s Brewing Company
07/07/2018 – Fort Wayne, IN @ The Glory Hub
07/11/2018 – Bloomington, IL @ Nightshop
07/13/2018 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s
07/14/2018 – Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN @ Caydence Records & Coffee
07/15/2018 – DeKalb, IL @ The House Cafe
07/28/2018 – Elmhurst, IL @ YesFest
Be sure to check out a gig if you’re in one of these cities!