CC Miles isn’t your average high schooler. She’s a passionate singer-songwriter who has been relentlessly pursuing her dreams since she was 5 years old.
Everly Mag interviewed CC at her home in New Jersey, where we talked about her career so far, what inspires her, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
Everly Mag: How did you start your singing career?
CC: I started [singing] so young that I can’t even pinpoint the exact memory. I just remember I was always taking singing lessons, from age 5 or 6. None of my family members are musicians, so it was really weird. I was just born with this dream and it’s been consistent ever since then. I’ve just always wanted to do it.
Everly Mag: Who inspires your music?
CC: I love Taylor Swift. I was around 7 years old when her Fearless album came out. I always wanted to be like her [back then], and like Hannah Montana. Taylor Swift still definitely inspires me now. I actually met her in 2015 at her 1989 concert. My cousin and my friend and I were all dressed up, and we splatter painted ourselves, and we got picked by her mom out of the whole audience because we were dressed so crazy. After the concert, at like 2 in the morning, we got to meet her.
Everly Mag: What instruments do you use to make your music?
CC: Singing, obviously. I started taking piano lessons around the same time I started taking singing lessons, [but] I gave up after a year or so and forgot how to play. I started piano again at age 12, and started guitar around that same time so I could accompany myself. I used to perform with tracks. I started singing in bars when I was about 12 with karaoke and a track behind me, and I [didn’t] want to perform with a track anymore. I took a whole year off of performing and decided to learn guitar.
Everly Mag: From idea to final product, how do you write a song?
CC: I’m inspired by a lot of things for my songwriting. I typically get ideas from my life, my friends, my family, relationships, books, TV shows. An idea will just pop into my head – either a melody or a lyric or just a general idea. It can come to me at any point in time, so I have a ton of notes in my phone with song ideas. Sometimes, even in school, I’ll have to go into the bathroom to sing a melody into my phone.
Then, I’ll sit down, take that idea, and see what I can do with it. I [often] write my best songs in a half hour. I don’t know why, it’s that sudden burst of creativity that just comes out of me. [Though], sometimes a song takes a bit longer and I strategically plan it out. I took a songwriting course online from the Berklee College of Music. That was really interesting because I could focus on song structure and experimenting with [various] genres.
Everly Mag: How do you combine music with school and life as an everyday teen?
CC: Everyone at school has always known me as the singer, because I’ve been doing it my whole life. In middle school I was always in musicals, and that was really fun and a huge part of my life. In high school, I did the musical once and didn’t love it. I kind of stopped doing music-related things in school and started focusing on doing music at home with guitar lessons, piano lessons, [and] vocal lessons.
I like to learn by myself. I find that I’m more creative when I’m alone and I like having “me time” to write. My friends have always been really supportive. I have a great group of friends, and they love my music and are always sharing it, so I’m really lucky to have them.
Everly Mag: What are your hopes for the future of your career?
CC: One of my main goals is to be able to tour with a band. Depending on how successful I am, it could even be a really small tour but I’d be happy with that. [I hope] to be able to create a loyal and kind fan base who will buy tickets to shows so I can tour. I just really love performing, so I know I want to be going to different states and be able to capture an audience.
Everly Mag: What’s it like to do a live performance? What’s your biggest challenge?
CC: Singing in front of people has always been fun for me. I did talent shows, recitals, and of course, singing at restaurants, bars, and events. The problem I’ve always struggled with is talking to the audience in between songs. People always tell me, “I don’t know how you get up there and sing in front of all these people.” And I’m like, that’s the easy part! That part is rehearsed. Engaging the audience has been hard for me, but it’s gotten better. I took a public speaking class in school, so maybe that helped a little bit.
Everly Mag: How has social media shaped your career and the music business in general?
CC: Social media is a double-edged sword in music. It’s given everyone a platform and a voice, so you [no longer] need to know somebody in the business or have those connections. Everyone can put their music out and create a fan base, so the competition is high. Before, you’d have to go through a record label.
I love making YouTube videos. I was afraid to start doing YouTube for a long time, because I cared what people would think. It feels weird just talking to yourself, alone, in front of the camera. But, eventually I just started doing it, because I wanted to show people who I am.
People want to know who you are before they’re interested in your music. So, that was one of the big reasons why I started making videos. A lot of my videos explain songs I’ve written, how I write, and [what’s] behind the scenes. People have given me feedback and that’s really helpful. It helps people get to know me better and want to listen to the songs.
Everly Mag: Finally, describe your personality.
CC: I’m a goal-oriented person. I really like to strive toward things, even if it creates a challenge for myself. I set goals each year and work really hard to achieve them. I’m definitely weird – I have another side of me that’s completely different when I’m with my friends. I have great friends, and with them, my guard is completely down. People say I’m awkward all the time and I’ve just learned to embrace it as a part of me. I’m [also] a summer person. I hate the winter, [though] I get more done in the winter because there aren’t as many fun things to do. I love the beach and traveling – I have a beach house in Long Beach Island and that’s my favorite place in the whole world.
I would say that I’m a storyteller. I love to listen to other people’s lives and stories, and I think that songwriting is my way of telling that story and sharing it with the world.
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Feature Image Credit: David Michael Howarth