Some of singer-songwriter Anna Miller’s highest praise gushes from none other than former Columbus rocker Jim Ryser.
You’ve got to figure that the one-time Arista Records artist who hit No. 27 on the singles pop charts in 1990 and the fellow who once played Farm Aid before 70,000-plus fans knows a thing or two about a performer’s potential.
For starters, he calls Miller’s voice “velvet.” And a listen to her new independent disc — one that Ryser suggested and made possible — perhaps will prove to many that he’s on target. Because the 20-year-old Columbus native and Belmont University music minor mixes ethereal jazz vocal turns with tinges of pop and folk to create a sound both artsy and soothing.
“I have morphed all of my favorite elements of each genre into my own sound,” said Miller, daughter of Ed and Angie Miller of Columbus.
Her vocal influences include Corinne Bailey Rae, Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson and Norah Jones. She credits George Winston with influencing her keyboard style.
Her album includes starkly fluid vocals with Miller’s wiser-than-her-years lyrics about lost love (“For the First Time”), spellbinding romance (“Easily Moved”) and dysfunctional betrayal (“All the While”). Her tunes can be found on annamillermusic.com.
How did you get your start in music?
I was always involved in my school and church choirs. I played violin from the time
I was 8 and began teaching myself guitar and piano shortly after that.
What kind of music and songs are you most drawn to?
I really like singer-songwriters who write their songs from experience because it is easy for me to relate to them. I love when you can tell that an artist is truly singing from the heart.
Your reaction to Jim Ryser’s encouragement?
I was very humbled that Jim took an interest in my music. He has not only been a fabulous mentor in music but an extremely encouraging and supportive friend.
What do you most like to write and sing about and why?
I write from personal experiences. I think it makes the music sound more genuine. I write about yesterday, today and what I hope the future will be like. Whatever comes my way, you can be pretty sure that I will be writing a song about it.
What are the restaurant crowds like around here when you’re playing?
I play outside on the patio at a lot of restaurants, and it creates a very feel good atmosphere. I enjoy seeing people having a good time listening to music as they sip cold drinks on a hot summer day.
Your hopes for the future?
My hope is that people will be able to be blessed by my music and will share it with their friends and family. I hope that it brings a smile to their faces.