Musician Andy Millard strikes a chord with local music lovers
Andy Millard // Photo courtesy of Joel Barger
By Alina Simone
Under the warm glowing lights of Makeworth Market, third-year Western student Andy Millard starts to sing. His rustic Americana sound stopped conversation as customers tuned into his melancholy song.
Sipping their coffees and beers, the audience laughed and chatted with Millard between sets. The open shop peppered with leafy green plants created a welcoming environment for people to interact with the artists and enjoy music together.
Millard partnered with several other musicians and another vocalist for his live show on Sept. 20.
“I think I will always be working with other artists,” said Millard, “I just want to make the project the best that it can be.”
Bass player Shiloe Petros and drummer Alexander Jon joined Millard at the show along with vocalist Alison Stevens. As an entry in Makeworth Market’s live music series, Millard and his band filled the coffee shop at 6 p.m. and kept the audience engaged well into the night.
This appearance was Millard’s second event at Makeworth Market but only his fifth live performance in Bellingham. Over the summer, Millard played at The Firefly Lounge, a microfestival called Burning Anne and a couple house shows. While he is new to the local music scene, Millard said he is happy the music scene in Bellingham is supportive.
Just over a year ago, Millard moved to Bellingham from Wenatchee in order to finish his bachelor’s in recreation at Western, he said.
When he is not in his recreation classes, Millard can be found brewing coffee at Camber, skiing, climbing, surfing and creating music. Bellingham was the perfect college town for Millard between the great coffee, the outdoor recreational activities and the brilliant music scene budding in downtown Bellingham, he said.
Millard has been singing since before he can remember and started playing guitar not long after, but he only started writing music as a senior in high school. Since then, it has turned into a full sprint into his passion for creating music. The 21-year-old artist has released one EP and four singles since 2018 and is almost ready to announce the release date of his next EP.
Millard said his music style is hard to describe. His sound evades description as he continuously tries out new styles and new ways to improve his music. Some describe his sound as indie alternative, while others would say it has more of an Americana vibe to it.
“I would say his music is a clash between rock, singer/songwriter and contemporary rock as well,” Riggs Mischke said, after hearing Millard play live at Makeworth Market. “His live performance definitely has an atmosphere.”
He often writes songs that seem so outside of himself, but as time passes, he is able to look back and see how the metaphors in his songs connected directly to what he was going through at the time. In every song about his own life, Millard said he hopes the audience can find a connection somewhere to latch onto.
“I like to connect people with stories and pungent lyrics,” Millard said in reference to his favorite song that is out at the moment, “Pick Up the Pieces.”
Millard’s lyrics are authentic and vulnerable as he invites people into his story. He prefers to not give resolution to his songs to reflect so many people’s lived experiences. Allowing songs to remain melancholy without adding in a positive ending allows him to preserve authenticity in his songs, said Millard.
“Andy is a brilliant lyricist,” said Petros, the band’s bassist. “He loves to write about moments from his past and explain what his songs mean to whoever asks, because he wants people to know the heart behind them.”
While Millard is a solo artist, he often has the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians.
“I have never thought of it as a competition,” Millard said. “It is really fun to connect with other artists and have a mutual understanding and respect for each other and the things that we’re passionate about.”
At his most recent live event and a few others in the past, Millard has teamed up with bassist Petros and drummer Jon to bring a new layer to his music. Partnering up with different writers, musicians and vocalists from time to time allows Millard to explore new avenues for his music, while still allowing himself to remain free to create and not be boxed into a strict style.
“I’ve thought about studying music, but music is in this spot for me where it’s almost a mystery,” Millard said, adjusting the sleeves on his knit blue sweater. “I don’t want to get to a point where it becomes a mathematical equation, because I think that the mystery is what makes writing music so intriguing and so fun.”
In the future, Millard said he would love to continue growing in his music by collaborating with other artists and experimenting with unique instruments. Strings, the saxophone or even the bagpipes may be just around the corner for Millard and his audience.
The next big step for Millard is the release of his next EP in a couple months. The EP will be called “Pick Up the Pieces” and will include six songs. Two of Millard’s singles currently available for streaming, “Invalidity” and “Pain,” from the new EP. Once Millard is done mixing and mastering the final pieces of a few songs, his new project will be ready to be received by the public.
Millard’s music can be found on Instagram and Spotify under “Andy Millard.”