You know how Maroon 5 creates funky pop singles with a groove that’s danceable and enjoyable for days, almost timeless? Well LA singer/songwriter Gussie Miller might be the next hitmaker on the come up! With a Jazz influence, Gussie creates a mainstream hit sure to light up your mood and bring a smile to your face. His single “Wantin You” off his album “Forever Fun” is a smooth-sailing, fun, and charismatic tune, digestible for any season (Summer or Spring, Fall or Winter).
The song begins with the stylish instruments warming you up before you’re chilled by Gussie’s big ranged vocals and dynamic personality demonstrated in a 3 minute and 48 second hit record! He takes his voice through many registers from his comfortable chest voice into his striking and ear-piercing falsetto notes that leave you wanting more. Gussie shows off his skilled vocal training he has been equipped with. However, Gussie doesn’t allow this song to be a singular surface tune. Gussie spins it around a tad with a rap flow with different witty punchlines and charismatic hooks from left to right. If you don’t immediately begin to dance or even be prone to share a positive dance with a loved one or any companion, then you’re listening to the single all wrong!
Listen to "Wantin You" here and get to know Gussie Miller in our interview below!
Mind telling us a little bit about your upbringing? Did you grow up in a musically inclined household?
Both my parents were professionals (high school principal and DOD employee) and not involved in music, but my father's father, brother's and sisters all studied music, and two became music teachers as a profession, one being a college level professor, and my Aunt being a high school music teacher (who embarrassed me mercilessly by making me sing in front of her class because of my perfect conception of pitch) this left a lasting impression on my about perfection in performance.
My mother had played piano as a child and had a great love of music. I have several cousins also who played, but not professionally, and one notable 2nd cousin. I was blessed to have graduated from the Ohio equivalent to the famous Fiorello H. LaGuardia "Fame" school in NYC that was built in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio called Fort Hayes School Of Performing Arts. Although my father didn't allow me to enroll in the music or vocal music courses, I was a TV Production graduate, and snuck into vocal music and instrumental music classes to the point that I was able to perform as a vocalist with the instrumental music class on public dates. (thank you Dr,. Richard Early)
Do you have any specific musical influences who you think made a great impact on your artistry today? If so who and why?
I would have to say regarding musical influences, it would first be my father, who was a serious "old head" Jazzer and played us a constant stream of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday,and strangely threw in a lot of Marvin Gaye then, my and older and much taller brother Marquis D. Miller who has always had a great love of music, and allowed me to sit in his room and listen to his personal collection albums (that sounds so old, right?) that changed my life like EWF, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Boz Skaggs, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Level 42, Al Jarreau, ABC, and so many, many more. This is what I call my "ear study" that truly influenced my singing and songwriting to this day.
How was the creation of your album “Forever Plan” ? did everything go as expected!
No. Forever Plan, which is named on a internal family joke about finishing college later in life no matter how long it takes, actually took on a real meaning for me, when I was first married and touring for T.C. Electronic as a product specialist, and I came home after that gig and decide to start recording my solo CD. This was 2001, and my life took a serious turn by my then wife running off with my kids, hiding them from me, lied, accused me of abuse and served me with a divorce. This put the CD back a number of years as she fought me with every lie and every legal means available and actually told me, "I'd never finish the CD nor see my children". After re-aligning myself again, and fighting for custody I was able to gain sole physical custody of our son, and raise him here in LA and got flying visitation with our daughter who ended up having to fly back and forth during summers and holidays. After all of that, I begin working on the CD again around 2005 when BOTH of my hard drives crashed containing the whole CD, and I had to start all over again with the song files and rebuild them from scratch. Thanks to several companies that lended a hand like Lacie, MOTU, Blue Sky, Auralex Digidesign (Avid) McDSP, and because I shave my head HeadBlade, and primarily the musical help of my good friend and music partner Alessandro Alessandroni Jr., who has a music resume as long as my arm with (artists like Babyface, Pink, Nelly Furtado and Christina Aguilera) we started again building up the songs with me, some of whom had been written many years earlier. After dealing with single fatherhood, career changes and physical issues from a previous float accident in 1995, I had to stop working on it again around 2009. Miraculously I was given another chance again in late summer of 2011 to start tracking the CD again, once i had finished being the technical supervisor of an ABC TV show called "The Glass House" which allowed me the ability to get back into the studio, this time with some of my live band featuring my musical partner Ales Alessandroni on Keys, studio and smooth jazz ace Guitarist Jay Gore, my mainstay Drummer the legendary Herman Matthews, and because of a late drop out on Bass, Jay and Alex got me the incredible Bobby Watson from Rufus to play Bass on the basic tracks. We ended up tracking at Universal Music Publishing Group Studios because of a connection that Jay Gore had with the house engineer Mike Fennel, so we tracked the whole CD basic tracks there with tracking engineer Ralph Sutton (Stevie Wonder, Prince Lionel Richie), and then after having the basic record finished, I started overdubs mostly at my home studio, then of course my personal life hit the skids again, (I had remarried the wrong woman and was getting a divorce) and so I had to all start over again. Resilience is key to success in my book.
After being alone, I could actually focus on creating, writing the rest of the songs to finish the CD, and concentrate on singing the master vocals and tracking the star studded overdubs like mega producer Peter Wolf, singer Laura Dickinson, electronic composition legend Mocean Worker, Saxophonist Cleto Escobedo (Jimmy Kimmel LIVE) Jazz saxophonist Rick Keller, and the legendary Valerie Davis-Bailey on backing vocals. With the help and co-production of Mike Fennel we finally finished the CD in 2016 in time for it to make the 2016-2017 Grammy ballot for consideration.
What are some of your personal favorites off the album?
I would have to say my personal favorites are te two songs I wrote for my children "Life Lessons" for my son, and the title track "Forever Plan" for my daughter.
Has living in Los Angeles influenced your music and music career?
Yes. Greatly. Nowhere else on earth can you do some of the things you can do here in LA, or have the unique opportunities that one has but here. I have lived in NYC, and worked a lot in Nashville, but LA is on a whole nother level as far as the music business is concerned.
Do you have any big plans for the new years?
My New Years plans are just to celebrate making it through another year, spent as much time as possible being thankful, and move forward finding that one true lasting love which will be my last.
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