A TRIBUTE TO GARY MILLER by the heart of Ashley Miers

1. How you met Gary Miller and tell us about your journey knowing him?

I had sort of a “meet cute” experience with Gary Miller. I originally met Gary in 2016 through one of my songwriting partners, Shelly Riff. Gary was playing weekly in a band at a local Malibu venue at the time, and he invited me to come out. I started attending, and they started giving me stage time so I could perform a few of my songs acoustically before the band got going for the night.

Around the same time, I told another songwriter friend, Nitanee Paris, that I was looking for a producer to collaborate with on a recording project. Nitanee said, “I know this really great producer, I’ll introduce you.” So I came out to Malibu to meet up with her, and when she took me to meet the producer… It was Gary. We both said, “Oh, it’s you!” and had a good laugh.

That encounter did indeed set me down the road to collaborating with Gary, and over that summer, we recorded three tracks: two of my original songs “Lunar Eyes” and “Dark Side” as well as a cover of “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones.

2. What’s your greatest memory working with Gary Miller?

Gary and I both used Logic as our recording/producing software of choice. I would build demos of my songs in Logic and then hand them over to Gary, and he would add to and improve them, polishing them up to professional, release-ready quality.

I really enjoyed watching Gary’s process and learning from him as he worked within Logic. It inspired me to see what he was doing, gave me new ideas, and helped me develop new skills and understanding as I would explore and experiment with what I learned from him back at home working in my own studio.

One great memory with Gary was when he was feeling stuck on a part one day, and after awhile, he said he was going to take a break, go get a snack. Sometimes a change of scenery helps when you’re feeling stuck in a rut on a part. I asked him if I could fiddle around with the part while he was away, and he said, “Have at it!” So over the next 20–30 minutes, I worked on the part and had built something I was digging by the time he came back. He listened to it and was visibly impressed. He said, “That’s pretty good! I’m not going to use it (said with a cheeky wink) — but it’s pretty good!”. It was a huge compliment that a producer of Gary’s prowess was impressed with my work, and his response was incredibly validating and encouraging.

Working with Gary was just fun. He always set me at ease and made me feel comfortable, safe and supported expressing my creativity — and vulnerability — in the studio. Which I think is the hallmark of a great producer: someone who supports his artists, offers them a non-judgmental space where they can express themselves freely, brings out the best in them, and puts them in front of opportunities whenever he can. This described Gary exactly.

When I was feeling discouraged at one point along the way, another great memory is of a call with Gary I will never forget. He told me, “Never give up. You are talented and you’ve got what it takes. Never, never give up.”

Gary worked with the best of the best — David Bowie, Lionel Richie, Donna Summer, Journey, Heart, Fergie, Katy Perry, En Vogue, and countless others — so his good opinion really meant something. If he said you were talented, if he saw something in you, he knew what he was talking about. He always made me feel welcome, important and included. There was never any “I’m too good or too busy” attitude with him, which is something that unfortunately one can come across in Hollywood from time to time. It wasn’t about ego with Gary. It was about genuine love of people and music.

3. How do you want the world to know about Gary Miller and his legacy?

While Gary’s musical achievements are amazing, I think what mattered most about Gary was that he truly cared about people. He was selfless in a way that is rare. Gary was extremely passionate about his non-profit project Rock Against Trafficking. He put countless hours, energy and his own resources into the organization. He cared about making a difference for people who weren’t in a position to fight for themselves, and he believed in directing the full force of the music industry — which receives so much attention — toward the less visible and very important cause of supporting human trafficking survivors.

Knowing Gary, and seeing how he prioritized humanity over self-interest, helping people over self-serving, has been an incredible blessing and example in my life. And I think, especially in the times we are living in, it’s an example we could all benefit from emulating. Gary contributed to my life in such a meaningful way, and it is certainly my commitment to pay his positive impact forward. I will forever remember him with fondness and gratitude in my heart.

Ashley Miers’ Bio:

Ashley Miers’ mission is simple and heart-centered: to make the world a better place by being in it. She cultivates this practice through a personal commitment to integrity as well as through her many gifts and interests. Ashley dances between different spheres of influence (coaching, speaking, teaching, performing) and media platforms (tv/film, music, web) to share hope, skills, tools, information and inspiration. Ashley’s primary focus is on mental and emotional health, but she advocates a holistic approach that values and integrates physical health, spirituality and social connection as well.

While Ashley studied neuroscience, philosophy, biology, communication and nutrition at the University of Denver, and has a comprehensive intellectual understanding of these subjects, she also understands what it’s like to struggle with mental health challenges on a deeply personal level. These challenges manifested as severe depression and anxiety, self-harm, multiple suicide attempts, an eating disorder, and drug and alcohol abuse in Ashley’s life prior to her commitment to recovery.

Ashley used (uses) Kundalini yoga, DBT, trauma therapy, EMDR, 12-Step programs and principles, hypnosis, and self-care practices (exercise, meditation, nutrition) to access relief from mental and emotional suffering. Ashley went from being in and out of psych units and being on 4 different medications to being completely sober, medication free, happily married, and a mom of two beautiful boys.

Ashley contributes positivity, encourages possibility, and aspires to lead by example and be of service to others. Ashley’s intention is to be an active part of the process of transcending toxic paradigms both personally internalized and culturally perpetuated, alchemizing breakdown into breakthrough for humanity and our planet, and ultimately contributing to widespread hope and healing. She is grateful to be immersed in a community of like-minded lightworkers ushering in this exciting era through their combined efforts and support of one another.

Ashley’s musical and mental health advocacy credits are extensive. She has released two full-length albums, 4 EPs and her 2018 single “Priestess”. Her music has been featured on ABC Family’s “Make It or Break It”, in Abercrombie and Fitch Stores, and in Gamma Phi Beta Sorority’s “Building Strong Girls” and “One Heart” philanthropic video campaigns. Ashley is a contributor to the NAMI blog, and has partnered with Mental Health America to create a PSA video on meditation and mental health as well as speaking and performing at MHA’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. twice. Ashley is also a Hollywood Music in Media Award nominee.

In 2019, Ashley launched her online group coaching program “Transcend the Turbulence”, and in 2020, she added her “Support and Skills Calls Library” to her menu of offerings. Ashley now works with women in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., helping them access and own their truth and power to transform and improve their lives in a way that is both nurturing and effective. She helps these women claim — or reclaim — their ability to believe in themselves and live a life they love.

Lastly, Ashley values contributing to her local community, and she serves as President of her Los Angeles neighborhood Family Collective. She is responsible for managing all aspects of leadership and organization to provide enriching programming that supports member families as well as benefits local charities. For more information, visit http://www.violetvista.com

BIOGRAPHY OF GARY MILLER:

Gary Miller (born 29 February 1960 in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire) was an English music producer, songwriter, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. In his early years, Miller worked for the London production house Stock Aitken Waterman as staff producer, mixer, and songwriter, and was later part of the Metrophonic team.[1] While at Stock Aitken Waterman and Metrophonic, he worked on songs for Donna Summer,[2]Lionel Richie, Kylie Minogue,[3]Bananarama,[4] and Simply Red,[5][6] and was one of the producers of the David Bowie song Everyone Says ‘Hi’, which was released in 2002 on the album Heathen.[7]

Miller started his music career during the 1980s as a guitarist, touring with Nik Kershaw’s backing band The Krew.[8] In 1988, Miller was Musical Director for Deon Estus, who was the opening act for several shows on George Michael’s The Faith Tour. The Musical Director for George Michael was Chris Cameron.[9]

Miller moved to Malibu, California, in 2006,[10]where he started working as an independent producer on songs for various artists, including three unreleased remixes of Katy Perry[11] songs. In Malibu, Miller started the Rock Against Trafficking foundation to raise money and awareness to fight human trafficking. The mostly unreleased Rock Against Trafficking (RAT) album project, which was produced by Miller in 2014, is called “Set Them Free”, and features The Police and Sting covers performed by various well-known artists, such as members of the rock band Journey, Heart, Carlos Santana, Slash, Julian Lennon, Ellis Hall, and En Vogue.[12] The RAT flagship song “Stand Up” is an original, co-written by Miller with new artist AV!VA, and performed by AV!VA. “Roxanne”, the first single from the “Set Them Free” album, which was performed by Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, has been released on 11 January 2018.

Miller passed away on May 10th, 2022 at age 62[13] in his home in Southern California.

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