Telling Stories: Jake Miller says songs like ‘Nikes’ are therapeutic

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Singer-songwriter Jake Miller’s music has evolved from rap and R&B to 1980s-influenced synth—and he’s never been happier.

His latest single, “Nikes,” from his six-song EP “Based on a True Story,” is backed by rich production, personal lyrics and a hummable guitar. This change was needed, he says, to keep his sanity and his fans’ trust.

“I’m realizing how important it is to be honest in your music,” says Miller, who plays The Rock on Saturday, April 13. “You’ll connect if you leave it all out there. It makes me feel good to write songs like this. It’s a good therapy session for me.”

The plan worked. “Nikes” debuted on Apple Music’s Best of the Week playlist, following the success of his top 45 hit “Wait for You.”

“I’ve really stepped it up as a songwriter,” Miller says. “I think the lyrics are stronger. I’m a little more vulnerable. I think it’s very easy to relate to some of the songs on the EP. They’re upbeat, and they’re fun to listen to.”

Adding punch to the songs are live saxophone and a background choir. Miller says it’s all part of his music’s experimental nature.

“But ‘Nikes’ is a really cool song,” Miller says. “It’s the longest song I’ve ever worked on. It was a few months going back and forth, trying to get the lyric right.”

He’s hoping the fruits of his labor pay off. He’ll spend 2019 touring the world, but Arizona is one of the few states with two gigs. Miller is also scheduled to play Club Red in Mesa on Friday, April 12.

“Arizona fans have always shown us a lot of love,” Miller says.

more info

What: Jake Miller w/Logan Henderson and Just Seconds Apart

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13

Where: The Rock, 136 N. Park Avenue

Cost: $20-$25


(Photo by Malcolm Joris)