We had the good fortune of connecting with Dustin Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dustin, how do you think about risk?
When I was around the age of thirteen, word had gotten around my school that I was a guitar player. I hadn’t been for very long at the time. I had maybe two years experience. Nevertheless, I received an invitation to the middle school talent show. There were a couple of other boys who played guitar, and we all had this idea that we’d participate together. An “I’ll do it if you do it” sort of thing. Well, the week of the show finally came around and I discovered they had backed out on me! I elected not to join them. I had been practicing diligently for a long time, and I wasn’t going to let my nerves get the best of me. Being the angsty little metal head that I was, I lugged my Marshall half-stack onto the stage, plugged in my Fender, and gave my best rendition of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train that I could give. Lo and behold it didn’t suck all that bad. In fact, I received a raging applause and was celebrated as a hero throughout the school for the rest of my time there. Now, while it may seem a little corny to reminisce about middle school, I learned a lesson that day that I have carried with me ever since: You must be bold enough to take the first step. Know yourself. See all your talents, and see how hard you’ve worked, and for how long. Some people have everything it takes to succeed, but they can’t bear the thought of vulnerability or failure. They may run 90% of a race only to quit because the remaining 10% of the path is unclear to them. Learn to welcome failure and there is nothing else to fear. Keep putting in the work and be a proud risk-taker. The best experiences I’ve had as a creative were a direct result of this mentality.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For over a decade, I’ve been a practicing guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. I’ve recorded and released two original albums and a number of songs for independent film and tv advertisements. I have an eclectic style and draw inspiration from many genres of music. I tend to pride myself on being a chameleon, and I enjoy the challenge of stepping outside my musical norms. One month I may be working on a pop-rock album, the next I may be scoring a horror movie. The rate of change from project to project really serves to keep things fresh, and I’m always learning new things about myself and my craft. There have been no shortage of challenges during my creative journey. I would caution any aspiring songwriters/musicians against expecting it to come easy. I can remember many nights coming home from a twelve hour shift at the day job, then sitting up till 4am to finish ironing out that bridge section I wasn’t happy with, or that guitar hook that wasn’t quite right. Work would come early the next day, and I’d always be wondering if I’d be able to earn enough to cover every expense for the next project. I just kept on working and saving. Press fast forward and I’m driving along a Nashville freeway, listening back to the rough mix of my first single. I can’t overstate the joy instilled in you by a moment like that. It’s truly something worth fighting for.
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.
We have a ton of wonderful spots to visit here in Johnson City (TN). Downtown is full of excellent restaurants like Southern Craft BBQ and Scratch Brick Oven pizza. A wealth of local breweries as well. If you’re a musician, like me, you’d definitely want to stop by Campbell’s Music (also downtown). They’ve been a pillar in the music community here for over 30 years and have a vast inventory of gear for any situation. Their team is the finest in the area, hands down. if you’re looking for some adventure, there’s some wonderful hiking nearby like Roan Mountain/Carver’s Gap, as well as Grandfather Mountain just across the border in North Carolina. We take it for granted, but people travel from all over the world to experience those views. Don’t miss it! 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?
In every creative endeavor, both my parents have been a continuous source of encouragement, as has my amazing fiancé, Megan. Without their love and support, I would not have reached many of the milestones I have as an aspiring artist. I’m also eternally grateful to God for allowing me to explore and hone in on the gifts he has given me.
Facebook: Dustin Miller
Youtube: Coming this summer!
Other: Will soon be launching a new YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook dedicated exclusively to my music/creative endeavors.
Jeff Payne Photography