Welcome back to BuzzMusic Gussie Miller! We are loving your old school Soul tune “The Last Page”! From your perspective, what is the underlying story of the record? How do you relate to the lyrics being sung?
Thanks, but "The Last Page" is more of an old school Pop tune music more than Soul. It's coming from a Motown vibe which of course started the whole melody driven Pop here in the U.S. The song actually came about because of a songwriter show called "Top Tune" where I heard the idea and then approached the other writers about finishing the song idea. Anthony Starble, Alan Roy Scott had Trevan McClure add some stuff, then Alessandro Alessandroni Jr. and I finished the tune for release. The song is basically about when you find that you’ve put everything you have into a relationship, and the other person didn’t and you find, that you are over it. You are just done. It’s the pain, the sadness and finally the relief of being set free from something that wasn’t good for you in the first place. I’ve been there before, a few times… LOL.
The tones of this release are exquisite; they have that vintage vibe but that fantastic modern shine. What was the recording process like for this? Who were the incredible musicians that played on this record?
Thanks for your kind words. I am blessed to have many incredible musicians to work with, and on this new single I'm honored to have my main collaborator Alessandro Alessandroni Jr. on Keys, well known session guitarist Tony Pulizzi, whom I met via Alessandro because they both played with Natalie Cole together, my main pocket, the great legend that is Herman Matthews on Drums, a killer new guy on the scene from DC area named Steve Jenkins on Bass and a friend who is an up and coming powerhouse on the Jazz scene from my hometown of Columbus, Ohio on Tenor Sax, Shawn "Thunder" Wallace.
You’ve definitely had quite the exciting background, from being a technician and engineer for some iconic producers and composers to you now releasing your own music, how did you transition from doing that to where you are now? Were you always creating your music when you were working as a technician and engineer?
In a word, yes (LOL) I was always working as a songwriter and producer, but things really took off after working with the legendary Marcus Miller, since he helped me by lifting me up and having me sing in the Chris Rock movie "I Think I Love My Wife" and also on his 2007 Grammy nominated CD "Marcus". It is a fact that when I was working with my then client multi Grammy winner Keb Mo at his studio, Kevin had asked me "what I was into" and then asked me to sing, while he played Piano and he then talked Marcus into putting me on the song "Milky Way" with him (I sang all the backgrounds) and I also must credit Grammy winning Engineer/Producer David Isaac for pushing to get "more of me" onto Marcus's 2007 CD.
When you had initially begun writing “The Last Page”, did you ever envision it to be the song it is today? What was the writing process like for both the instruments and lyrics? Was there an instrument that you found sitting behind instantly inspired you to create?
As I said, this song had a strange path since it was actually a song conceived during Jonathan Menchin & Tom Tully's songwriter competition TV show concept called "Top Tune - The Songwriters Game" it's a TV show concept performed LIVE here in Los Angeles every few months that would really be an amazing TV show if someone smart picked it up and ran with it. It was just a title at that time picked out of a hat (no, really) and then Anthony Starble & Alan Roy Scott came up with the hook in about 20 minutes, and then had to perform it. I was just there helping out singing background for the show when I heard the idea and said to myself... "this is great, but it's not finished" so I asked them to let me and Alex (Alessandro) finish the tune, and here we are. It's based in an old school Fender Rhodes Piano vibe with that "snap your fingers" type of pop/soul that made Motown famous. It also helps that Alan was an actual writer signed to Motown and by my very own music attorney too I might add (LOL) small world.
From all your work working as an engineer, what do you think the most exciting and difficult sessions have been? Were there ever crazy setups that you had to do the night before for a session? Are there any particularly interesting stories that emerged from all of those sessions?
Funny you should ask... "The Last Page" song was put together actually as a demo to showcase a microphone that I was endorsing and also, I was the company rep in America, but the company didn’t honor my contract. While I was working with them I was trying to help them out by allowing them to use one of my songs as a product demo, and I was approached by the owners of Pro Audio LA, a high end professional audio dealership in Glendale that also has a killer studio, and they offered that we cut the song up in their second floor studio. For free, who does that right? https://www.studiotime.io/l/pro-audio-la-studios/5da6308f-fbf3-4914-aa6a-697cc70276e0 The studio had recently sold all of its high-end acoustic treatments to a major artist the night before, so they graciously worked through the night to rebuild the studio to be ready for our session. It was a very long day for my tracking engineer Grammy winner Erik Zobler, the assistant engineer Latin Grammy winner Richard Ramos, our MOTU tech support person Matt LaPoint who came in to support our using two of their 24bit/96k audio interface the 8PreES for the recording. I would also like to thank Capital University in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio and their student engineer Jack Ellis who helped track some of my vocals and recorded Shawn “Thunder” Wallace’s Tenor Sax in their state-of-the-art music technology recording studios. The song was edited by Barry Rudolph at Tones 4 $ Studio and was finally mixed by Grammy winner David Isaac of Titan Music & Filmworks and mastered by Grammy nominated Peter Doell at Aftermaster Studios. The result turned out stellar and will be submitted for Grammy consideration next year. I'm excited!
Listen to Gussie Miller's latest release "The Last Page", here.