Rising star Nicole Millar on nerves, hit songs and top 10 tracks
On the up
She might be shy and softly spoken in real life, but give Nicole Millar a microphone and she'll belt out a hit. After lending her sultry vocals to some of Australia's biggest EDM names (Cosmo's Midnight, Rüfüs, Golden Features) not to mention the ARIA-award winning Peking Duk single 'High', the Sydney-based singer is carving out her own sound with a couple of EPs released this year.
With her new single, 'Signals' and dancing skills also featuring in the new Sportsgirl campaign out today, we chat to Nicole about her plans for to electro-pop domination.
So tell us about your role in the Sportsgirl 'Get Dressed' campaign.
I got chosen to be the face, which is really cool. They're using my new single, 'Signals' and I'm just modelling a bunch of new dresses... and dancing.
Does that make you nervous?
Yeah, I wouldn't lie! I'm a little bit nervous but that's always good... I get nervous about everything.
Do you get stage fright?
Yeah I do. Just before the show I get really nervous. I don't really like it when people are talking to me... and then once you get up on stage it's kind of all released.
You toured with Troye Sivan recently - was that the biggest tour you've been on?
Yeah, for sure. I've done some feature vocalist stuff with Peking Duk and performed with Rüfüs at the One Night Stand, but that was a few years ago. Now I get to perform my own show with my band.
Is that kind of daunting?
Yeah, because I kind of just got thrown into it. Peking Duk launched my career really. I didn't even have a manager or anything before that song, so [after that] I had to figure out what kind of artist I wanted to be. I took a year off just to write and record, then I came out with my EP [Tremble] in February. Now I'm putting out a second EP.
Do you have any plans for an album?
I'm always writing, so probably all those songs will come together as an album but it's kind of a thing I want to get right. I can't say when, but I'm working on it now so maybe next year sometime. I'm still figuring out my sound.
You also played at Splendour this year, how was that?
It was awesome. My set time was really good because it was on a Friday at like 3pm so everyone was just in good spirits. I played to a packed out tent, which was really cool.
What's the backstage vibe like? Did you get to hang out with a lot of artists?
Most of my friends were there which was cool. It's really relaxed, actually. Everyone's got their own room. I was opposite Jack Garrett, which I was really excited about! He's so talented.
Is electronic the avenue you'd like to stick with? Or do you feel like you want to explore out other ones?
I don't want to be cornered into electronic. I like dance music, but I want to eventually branch out into just pop. But it's finding that mid-ground because at the moment, you want to be on Triple J because that's where you get all the fans who come to your gigs.
That's what's really interesting about the Peking Duk song 'High' - it was that sweet spot between Triple J and commercial, which is actually probably quite hard to do, right?
Yeah it's really hard. And that was my first ever writing session. I didn't really expect anything from it and then they were like, 'It's going to be on Triple J' and then it was played everywhere which was really exciting.
Do you remember hearing the song on the radio for the first time?
I was driving like over the [Harbour] bridge to my house and it was playing and I'm like, 'This song sounds familiar.' And then I heard my voice. I turned it up and drove over the bridge with the windows down.
You've worked with Peking Duk and Rüfüs, is there anyone else you'd like to work with?
I used to say The Weeknd because that's kind of where I was heading but I think now I'd probably want to work with someone like Major Lazer. Their shows are really energetic and I think it would be really cool to get up on stage with them and perform.
How did you get into music?
I was a super shy child growing up and my mum put me in a performing arts school. I went there for dancing, then I got put into the acting stream and then eventually they had a singing stream. And that really stuck with me. When I got into singing it was grade 10 and part of our assessments were to like write and record songs. I put them online. They weren't the best songs!
My friend who's a photographer is friends with Cosmo's Midnight and so he introduced me. They got me to feature on one of their songs. And from there, electronic artists like Peking Duk and Golden Features contacted me and that launched [my career] as a solo artist.
Who are your music heroes?
It's always different because I'm more of a song person, but I love Rihanna. And MØ - even though she's awkward she just rolls with it. I love The Weeknd. And I was obsessed with No Doubt when I was growing up.
Shop Nicole's Sportsgirl looks at sportsgirl.com.au and check out her top 10 fave tracks on Spotify below:
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