Propelled by blistering guitars, epic drums, and an impassioned vocal chorus, Sierra Miles appears as an enchanting diva of darkness. Her collection, The Architect, marks the debut of an empowered alt-rock provocateur whose spine-tingling voice conjures shadowy tableaux of testimony, truth, and transcendence.
Revealed with a knowing wink, there is an ironic subtext to the haunting themes in Sierra’s songs. The ominous “Voodoo Woman” imparts this incantation: “I’m the result of a chain email you didn’t forward/I’m a ghost you invited when you played an Ouija board.” In the foreboding video for “Funeral For My Morals” the lead single from The Architect, she is laid out in a coffin, as a dark liquid surrounds her. “It was late October, after midnight, and I was freezing,” she laughs. “But it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
For such a young artist, Sierra possesses a substantial back-story. At age 12, as CC Miles, she was playing bars in her hometown of Medford Lakes, New Jersey. Releasing an EP at 13, she experimented with genres and styles, primarily radio-friendly pop music. When she began writing original songs she gravitated to open mics and coffeehouses.
With the pandemic lockdown, everything changed. “I realized this music wasn’t me,” she says. “I wanted to create something much edgier, with real musicians. When I started working with my producer to create this sound, it was like a door opened in my mind, so much inspiration poured out. I wasn’t trying to be another artist.” To complete the transformation, she reclaimed her given name, Sierra Miles.
For lyrical themes, Sierra channels her past scenarios into the present. She also taps stories told to her by friends. “I’m like an actress putting myself in another person’s shoes and seeing from their perspective,” she observes. “One of my favorite things is to assume the antagonist’s point of view. My song ‘Danger in a Dress’ characterizes a girl who is crazy, fun, almost too much for others to handle. As the lyrics say, ‘I live a shameful life and yet I’m pretty shameless.’”
In the studio for tracking, overdubs, and mixing, Sierra provides freedom for the musicians to interject imaginative musical ideas. While she is exacting in the fulfillment of her sonic vision, her title track, “Architect,” reflects how perfectionism can inhibit creativity in these lyrics: “Well you can’t become the architect of your heaven/Til you realize you’re the architect of your hell.” A related song, “Demons Don’t Live Under Your Bed,” addresses the demoralizing power of the inner critic, Sierra says. “When your thoughts begin tearing down what you’ve built.”
Frightening, enlightening, and authentically entertaining: Sierra Miles silences her inner critic with hard-hitting music. Engaging an expanding social media fan base and grateful for the continued support of devoted hometown fans, she owns her bravura artistry. “I didn’t want to look back 10 years from now and think that I listened to everyone except myself,” she avows. “Now I’m the artist. My stories are darker, but my audience is enjoying them. These songs came straight from my soul.”