“The perfect spot to live in life to live is right in between absolute evil and absolute good.”
Art has allowed one UD student to live in his perfect moment. His musical hobby has not only been an entertaining pastime it has allowed him to become a more reflecting, understanding and appreciative individual.
Chris Miller, the journalism focused communication major, has developed a hobby for writing and performing rap music which ties in nicely with his music technology minor. Over the years Miller has gained confidence and new gadgets that have allowed him to pursue his musical passions.
Similar to most students that have learned to play an instrument, Miller’s musical career started in the fifth grade. He played the trumpet and eventually developed his skills through jazz band. Creating sounds with technology instead of instruments did not come to him until after high school.
Miller admits that while jazz music and the trumpet got him thinking about involving himself in music, his love of words was more impactful.
“I’ve always been into reading books,” Miller said. “Reading really made me want to explore my artistry more.”
His passion for written words has meshed well with the emphasis that rap music places on lyrics.
What he says is just as important as how he says it, Miller believes.
“The words are what makes rap special; it’s not long verse. You have to put as much as you can into one word or sentence to make it worthwhile.”
He understands the importance of words but looks to other things to help him decide which words to choose.
UD’s environment has allowed Miller’s musical interests and talents to grow. He reflected on the universities influence on his music.
“It opened me up to accepting a lot of different opinions and perspectives,” Miller said. “But I realized we’re all the same in some way and with that, there comes individuality and relatability. I try to put these themes in my music.”
Other emotional undercurrents have recurred in Miller’s raps. He says that he tries to mix his beats up as much as possible and makes his raps interesting by pairing subject matter with beats that don’t seem to go together. His rapping has allowed him to get in touch with his own emotions as well as understand others’ feelings.
One thing that has been central to his music is a sense of balance. He raps about the good and the bad and relates it back to human beings.
“I talk a lot about how who you are may interfere with who you want to be.” These are things that Miller enjoys reflecting on, but he also embraces emotions that he hasn’t necessarily felt himself.
In his three-part rap love story, “It Is What It Is,” Miller explores the different phases of a relationship. He wanted to reflect the happiness and pain that comes along with the ups and downs of a relationship. Taking on the persona of someone that had been in love and been through a bad breakup allowed him to step into someone else’s shoes, much like professional rappers do.
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Many different artists have influenced Miller in various aspects of his personal and musical development. Tyler the Creator, a self-made California rapper made Miller believe that rap could take him places. Artists like Mac DeMarco and Childish Gambino have helped him develop an individual style and think outside the box. He looks to Eminem and mimics his masterful lyrical abilities. Overall, one individual made the biggest impact on him.
“Kid Cudi has inspired me in terms of my life because he raps about being in your own way and that is something everyone has to deal with.”
Whereas his message can be reached by a wide audience, his process is very unique. Miller first records in his car. Leading up to the moment when he gets to his car to record, he makes his beat, writes his lyrics and contemplates his delivery.
Miller’s creative process has changed as his personal musical tastes have changed. He starts a beat with lush piano and string sounds and then overlays a drum beat. He only writes his lyrics after the beat is firmly in his head so that the words and sounds match up with each other.
To listen to Miller’s music, you can check out his YouTube channel, “The Moment.” If you would prefer to listen to him perform live, stop by 514 Lowes on the third Friday of each month for Campus Canvas.