From the army to an artist
Ask anyone who ever grew up in a military family and they will most likely tell you that they moved around a lot.
That was the case for singer-songwriter Camille Miller.
“Military life definitely had me moving a lot,” Miller told the News Bulletin.
Miller, who will be performing at the Queen’s on Friday (June 27), was born on a Canadian military base in Germany and lived there for three years before moving to Canada.
“We then proceeded to move back to the East Coast of Canada, Nova Scotia,” Miller said. “Then every two years we moved West until we got to Victoria.”
Although Miller has been involved with music since an early age, having sung with various choirs, it wasn’t until just after her 21st birthday that she decided to follow her musical aspirations.
“Being from a military family I wanted to be like G.I. Jane. So I spent from the time I was nine until I was 19 in military cadets and I was in full-time reserves until I was 21. I tried to get into the regular force and I wanted to be full-time in the Navy. I had a scholarship to Malaspina Jazz College and I opted not to do that and stay in reserves,” Miller explained. “Shortly after 21 I did a complete turn around and quit that and basically went on the road, quit my job, moved up to Nanaimo and slept in people’s basements and joined Doctor Tongue and was in that band for many years and that’s how it all started.”
Miller originally began writing music when she was a teenager in order to express her feelings toward the military lifestyle.
“Everybody has things they do to get rid of stress and to boycott their parents and that was my way of boycotting my parents. It was sitting in a bathroom writing protest songs,” Miller said. “The ironic thing is the life I live now is very similar and very parallel to the life of a military family, where we move a lot and we don’t know when we are going to move and we have to pack up quickly.”
In fact, Miller who recently relocated to Crofton, B.C. from Mexico, will be moving to Brazil later this year. She has also lived in Colombia, Mexico, Switzerland and Poland.
Since becoming a solo artist in 2002, Miller, has released four albums. Her most recent record, More Than This, was released last November.
“I like to write about things that we feel day-to-day, experiences of my life since having kids, things I see when traveling and so basically it would take through several emotions that you would generally have,” Miller said about her newest record.
Miller has performed in bands in many of the countries she has lived in. She explained that Mexico’s music scene is in many ways similar to Canada’s, but noted that there are major differences with income.
“It’s the same, there are cover bands, there are a original bands but bands get paid a lot less and have to work a lot more. It’s really normal for a band to play in three places in one night to make a 100 bucks.”
However, unlike in North America, in Brazil it is extremely common for musicians to start performing much later in the night.
“The one thing I noticed when I was there is that the gigs started at like 2 a.m. and bands are playing all night,” Miller said.
She still has aspirations of one day enrolling in the jazz program at Vancouver Island University.
“I think a little bit of hard knocks is a great way to learn something but now as I am getting older I have this excitement about refining it and doing it properly,” she said.
Miller performs live at the Queen’s with Murray Atkinson, Hope King and Hummer on Friday at 8 p.m.