Photo by Edgar Estevez
It’s been a busy month for rising hip-hop star Jake Miller. But he has plenty to be thankful for this year.
His debut album, Us Against Them, released earlier this month, and landed in the top five of Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums and Independent Albums charts—although he’s no longer indie, having subsequently signed to Warner Bros.
Following his radio hit with “A Million Lives,” the 20-year-old multihyphenate has come a long way from posting YouTube videos of covers. But after garnering acclaim as a “rapper,” his new material sees him touting his singing abilities, easily drawing comparisons to fellow singer-rapper Drake. And that’s completely fine by Miller.
“He is one of my favorites, so the comparison is awesome,” he said of Drake. “But I don’t try to corner myself as an artist, like a hip-hop artist or a singer. I just make the music I like to make. One day it may be urban-based, one day it might be a little more pop-singing and mainstream so, whatever it's I’m feeling that day or whatever inspires me that day.”
As far as a source of inspiration, that’s something Miller has actually become for his fans, as many of his lyrics are notably positive and uplifting. But despite criticism from those who question his authenticity, the young vocalist is quick to explain that this is just who he is.
"Back in the day when I started rapping, I was just making music about stuff other people wanted to hear,” he recalled. “I was copying a lot of hip-hop type songs, talking about stuff that I didn’t really know about, that I hadn’t experienced. That wasn’t really me. So I decided that I wanted to make music about things I’ve experienced, and what I’ve actually lived.”
He doesn’t take his quick rise lightly either, noting that "if you’re lucky enough to be in a famous position and have half a million or millions of followers, and you don’t use it to make some kind of positive difference or help people through hard times, then it’s kind of a waste.”
While he understands that every artist is different, Miller believes there’s definitely a need for more positive messages in the music industry, pointing to Macklemore’s rise to mainstream this past year.
“I’m not saying you have to try to change the world or anything, but Macklemore is proving that there’s a need for more positive songs. 'Same Love’ and some of his other songs are proof of that. I want to be on that style, I want to be like that,” Miller admitted, before cautioning jokingly: “If everyone did that, though, I would be in debt and I wouldn’t have a career. So it’s good to be different.”
For information on Jake Miller's current 43-stop tour, go here. Listen to his latest single "Collide" below.