Armed with a bowl of brussels sprouts, burgeoning young pop star Bea Miller joins me at a corner table of the Sycamore Kitchen in West Hollywood. Miller is an 18-year-old wunderkind who has gone from a Top Ten finish in 2012’s The X Factor to opening for Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, and recording her first album in 2014. Upon meeting me, Miller immediately gushes about her new apartment in L.A. – her first home to herself – and laments the fact that the walls will be fully painted by the time she moves in. Miller is extremely sensitive to color.
Like many musicians throughout history, Bea Miller has synesthesia. Literally meaning “union of the senses,” synesthesia is a unique condition that allows some people to combine two or more senses, i.e. to see colors in their mind’s eye when they hear music. Miller’s gift of synesthesia informs the structure of her forthcoming second album, which will be released in three ‘chapters’: Blue, Red, and Yellow. Each chapter contains three songs that correlate with a mood and its color, and together the chapters tell a story of the emotional rollercoaster of heartbreak – from sadness, to anger, to gaining strength and moving on.
Perhaps the music is so raw because she wrote the album while riding the wave of feelings that surface from a relationship running its final course. A little over a year ago, Miller was developing a different body of music, but tumbling through the tunnels of the NYC subway she had an epiphany: she had to be honest about what she was going through and share her true experiences with her audience. “I feel like some artists just drop 12 songs a year and that’s it. It doesn’t always range from a lot of different emotions. When you’re not super happy, it’s hard to listen to music where everyone is telling you about how happy they are on the radio all the time.”
Her album will be released in three parts, three songs per chapter. The first, Blue, was released in February of 2017, Red is next up in June, and Yellow is due to hit the shelves in August. Fittingly, for those who like to unite their auditory and visual senses, there will be a video released every month for each song on the album.
The first chapter, Blue, describes the heart-wrenching stage when a relationship begins to turn sour: “You start to recognize that you’re not good for each other, and you’re almost toxic to each other, and it’s really hard to accept that because you are so close with that person. And I feel like that’s something we all experience, not just me.” Red, the second chapter, describes the period of moving on and taking action, and the third – Yellow – is the phase of rebirth after the storm has passed. “It’s like you’ve made it out of this situation, and you’ve gotten past one hurdle in your life, and it’s kind of like, ‘Okay, I’ve gotten through one thing, and now I’m ready to face the next.’ Her green Brussels sprouts finished, Miller steps out into the blue day with a smile. Seemingly ready to face whatever lies ahead, irrespective of the color.
Written by Bonnie Foster
Stylist: Dean Hau for Opus Beauty
model: Jason Dowd for ford models
Hair: Christian Marc for Forward Artists
Makeup: Melissa Murdick for Opus Beauty using Giorgio Armani Beauty
Location: FD photo Studio.