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Interview: Miles Graham teases upcoming EP and opens up about single Don’t Change

The Irish singer-songwriter chats to us about his new music.

Miles Graham
Credit: Miles Graham

Irish singer-songwriter Miles Graham recently released new single Don’t Change.

The track is the follow-up to the BBC Radio 2 playlisted I Can’t Love You Again and Miles’ collaborations with Don Diablo and L’Tric. It’s the first taste of new music in a little while from the rising star.

With an EP on the way in July, I caught up with Miles to talk about the new music, find out what we can expect from the EP and to see how he’s coping in lockdown.

Hi Miles. How are you coping in lockdown? What have you been doing to keep busy?

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I’m missing my family in Dublin and I noticed i am starting to talk to myself more than usual 🙂

I’ve been very busy recording from home and doing gigs to fans on lockdown, and with promo for the single ‘Don’t Change’ and upcoming EP (Only first question and I’m plugging the record – Either I’m getting better or worse at this :-p )

You recently released your new single Don’t Change. What’s the story behind the track?

I’d been through a breakup a couple of years ago. It brought many challenges in my life. Don’t Change is a kind gesture to both people from that relationship to not let it change the good things about themselves. Everybody suffers these things in bereavement and loss in their lives at some stage, Don’t change is about keeping yourself intact in the process.

I’ve gone through a process and created some songs when experiencing different feelings, ups and down, this song is a feeling that expresses the good memories ref. ‘I kept the colours of the moments’ (the first line of the song). Some days I feel like this song, other days I feel like one of the other songs lol..

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The song is taken from your upcoming EP. What can you tell us about the EP?

I’m really excited and terrified about the EP. It’s probably the most personal record I’ve ever released. In previous records I’ve always made up stories or written hopeful idealisms from a dream world when creating music. On this record I still have hope, but it’s more realistic hope. It’s HOPE in the freedom.

It’s called All the Right Things from the title track. That song is about my journey so far in the music business and parts of my life in general. Having to de develop a thick skin and being prepared for doors to close, and ones to open. The lyric is actually ‘All the right things.. with the wrong results’ so it’s not as positive or over confident as the title may seem in the narrative.It has a reality to it.

Let’s go back to the start of your journey as an artist. At what point did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?

I knew I was creative by nature from a young age, I always had a keen interest in the arts. I started making music from 13 yrs old. I was in a couple of bands but didn’t truly pursue a career in music or release a record until I hit my 30’s. I was always writing but I didn’t have the confidence up on till then. One day it just hit me, I need to have a real go at this.

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What’s your process as a songwriter? Give us a little insight into how you work…

I write in different ways depending on if I’m collaborating or not. On my own I just wait for the melodies to come. They may come while walking up the stairs or taking a bus into town, or in some awkward places like the supermarket where I would take out my phone to record on the fruit and veg isle (I’ve done that, few weird looks but generally people just smile) I’d then go home and develop the melody and some lyrics would come. A concept for the song will then click and once I know what I’m writing about I can begin to tell the story, and structure it.

I work hard at my lyrics and sometimes the don’t come easy.I like things to make sense to me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist that way.

You’ve been picking up lots of support from the likes of Radio 6’s Cerys Matthews and Radio 5’s Laura Whitmore. What’s it like to get the backing of such influential people?

It’s a brave thing to do to champion someone when they are in the spotlight like they are so I appreciate this immensely. It does give a bit of validation for your work and helps get the music to a wider audience. I’ve met Cerys and Laura a few times now, they have both come out to my live gigs, I think they are just beautiful people and huge lovers of music in general. I’m so grateful to them.

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Which artists would you say have had the biggest impact on your music?

There is no one artist but a journey of music that’s influenced me starting from a young age listening to all the soul music classics from Motown,Stax records for example. Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson to modern singer /songwriters like Chris Martin, Tom York, Ben Drew who I have huge respect for their talents. I suppose there’s a separate admiration for amazing vocalists like Maxwell, Yebba , Sam Smith and songwriters that are genius in their own genres.

Engaging with fans is challenging at the moment thanks to the pandemic. What are you doing to keep that connection with fans open?

I’ve been doing gigs to fans in Germany, Holland, UK, US and Ireland and doing some live Instagram take overs. It’s been fun doing the private gig to peoples living rooms and seeing their reaction to the music. I really miss that connection from a normal gig. It’s great to offer something to fans though. Lots of people are very lonely out there right now.

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

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I’d like to think it holds great hope in melody, it’s unique, interesting, dynamic, emotional, uplifting and fun.(Really made use of those commas 😉 )

What else are you hoping to do before the end of the year (providing we get out of lockdown)?

Well I really look forward to playing a live gig and connecting with people. The EP IS OUT July 10th! I’ll be making more videos to support that too. If we get out of lockdown I look forward to joining my family in Dublin for a big family party.

Miles Graham’s single Don’t Change it out now and his EP All the Right Things is released on 10th July. Watch a live performance of Don’t Change below:

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