Welcome to AP&R, where we highlight rising artists who will soon become your new favorite.
St. Louis-born singer-songwriter MILES makes music that simply feels good. Incorporating everything from hip-hop, pop, R&B and pop punk, MILES has crafted an all-encompassing sound that radiates positivity and playfulness. With his debut EP, NEVER HAVE I EVER, MILES hand-selected his strongest songs, including the title track, which features blink-182 drummer and producer extraordinaire Travis Barker. He calls the song a “stadium anthem,” a description that couldn’t be more fitting due to its palpable energy and scope. MILES, who initially rose to prominence through TikTok and his now-viral single “WHAT IN TARNATION,” doesn’t take a second of his success for granted and is looking forward to pursuing a life of music, energetic performances and connection.
What was the process like putting your debut EP, NEVER HAVE I EVER, together?
I think this was an amalgamation of the songs I was making when I got out to LA from St. Louis, Missouri, where I’m originally from. It’s the feeling of navigating that new territory and working with all of these crazy talented musicians and producers. These songs came together a little bit retroactively because I signed a record deal and had songs that came before and after the deal. Some of them just fit together correctly, and I wanted to give it the legs that it needed to do what I think it can do. It was time to have a body of work to reflect on that period of time, signing a record deal and then moving on to the next.
Another milestone from the EP is the title track, which features Travis Barker. I can imagine that must have been a really inspiring moment.
We had the song and were listening to it with my A&R and managers in a room, and when we heard it, we knew it was missing some sort of feeling. My A&R Johnny was like, “Should we get Travis Barker?” and we were all like, “Yeah, of course!” A week later, we got Travis, and he totally reimagined the song and put his flair on it. It sounds like a stadium anthem, and I am so honored that he threw that on the track.
[Photo by Cameron Nisbet]
Was there a moment when you were growing up when you realized music might be your calling?
I always loved singing — it was my shit. When I first got my MacBook, I would record little Photo Booths of me singing random shit but never really thought too much of it. I started freestyling and was tragically bad at the beginning, so it was a rough start. I just kept doing it and working that muscle until I got really good at freestyling and started writing music and realized how cool it was. Funny enough, my high school track coach knew a dude with a studio in a not-so-great part of St. Louis, and he paid for my first session. I recorded my first song ever in the studio and was like, “Oh, my God, this is crazy.” That was a huge moment for me to really hear a product that polished. I kept going back there and released a remix of “Maria I’m Drunk” by Travis Scott, and it blew up on SoundCloud. It had like 300,000 streams, and as a senior in high school, I was like, “Holy shit.” Once the song started doing well, it was over, and I was like, “I’m doing this forever.”
That’s wild considering the fact that you decided to go to an Ivy League school and play college football shortly after. What was it like balancing school, athletics and music as you were starting to build online hype?
It was really tough because I didn’t want to go to college or play football anymore. I got recruited by Dartmouth, and I was just so fully devoted to music at that point that school didn’t matter, and football definitely didn’t matter as I messed up my ankle the summer going into Dartmouth, so I was the team manager. All my homies and managers were in LA, but I was in the cold in my dorm trying to make music in a sterile environment, so it was a little rough patch. I took a personal term and came out to LA for a month-and-a-half. That all ended with not being able to go back to Dartmouth for some discrepancy shit that my counselor didn’t tell me at the beginning, and I was just like, “Perfect, I’m done.” [Laughs.]
Your music touches on so many different genres. Were you always immersed in a wide range of music growing up?
Yeah, shouts out to my dad because he has the most eclectic music taste of any human being on this Earth. He played everything from jazz, rap and R&B. One time, I got in the car, and he had polka music playing and was like, “Before you say anything, try to catch this groove,” and low key, it was hard. [Laughs.] I loved pop music and played Guitar Hero, so I had a little bit of rock in there, but growing up and figuring out what I liked about all of these genres, I just tried to grab those favorite pieces and pull them into my sound.
Having experienced success early on with platforms like TikTok and Instagram, what advice would you give to other aspiring artists who are looking to grow their audience?
Post the video. [Laughs.] That’s the only advice other than doing it every day. TikTok is dope because it has allowed me to just let shit fly and not think too long. You can do whatever you want and post it. The worst thing that can happen is that nobody sees it, so there’s really no downside to it. The beauty of TikTok is that you don’t need to have a base at all, and anyone can do this thing.
What can fans expect from your live performances on the tour with Peach Tree Rascals?
They can expect the fucking energy. With my live shows, you get all of me, which you don’t get through a screen or social media. The energy that I bring to a show is unmatched, I’m just gonna say it. We turn the fuck up at my shows, and I can’t wait to give you guys these songs in person.
With your artistic journey just beginning, where do you hope to be in the next five-10 years?
My dream is to get this out to as many people as possible and show them that you can do this too. This life is only as fun as you make it, and you only get one, so I just want to be doing this in whatever capacity it looks like forever.
FOR FANS OF: iann dior, Lil Nas X, Post Malone
SONG RECOMMENDATION: “THE INTERNET” (feat. LØLØ)