Scott Miller is an MC and producer based in Iowa City. Today he’s marking the release of a new single, “Waters,” which follows last year’s 14-track Recovery full-length and speaks to where he’s looking to move creatively. With that album, he says he found himself gravitating toward building cohesiveness within style and themes. With that in his back pocket, he’s looking ahead with a new-found desire to remove himself from those types of structural restraints and create music which he feels is more dynamic and free-flowing. Enter “Waters”…
villin: Lyrically, “Waters” speaks to me with an ethos of going with the flow. What are you hoping the song communicates to listeners?
Scott Miller: Above all, I hope this song inspires people to roll with the punches. This year has already thrown some challenges my way, things completely out of my control, and I’m actively working to process and overcome them. That’s what “Waters” represents—taking things slow, moving with the tide, and not resisting when it feels like the universe is against you. Keep building, keep working towards your goals, and you’ll emerge stronger than before.
villin: Tell me a little about the production side of things—who produced the beat and what was the feeling it provoked for you when putting your lyrics up against it?
Scott Miller: I’m pleased to share that the production is another creation from my personal studio, not someone else’s. In the early days of my career, I spent years writing to type beats from YouTube and even recorded mixtapes with them—mixtapes that won’t see the light of day. Something always felt off with those tracks, like something was missing. Now, I take pride in building a soundscape around my words. This beat is designed to be euphoric and fast-paced, like waves bursting through floodgates, providing a rush of emotions. I find solace in chaos—it reminds me that there are many things I can’t control, so I better lock down and work hard on the things I can control.
villin: In your Spotify bio there’s a comment about a trip-hop influence on your work, which I hear here as well, and the genre’s connection to the meaning of your lyrics. What about that genre connects with you?
Scott Miller: It’s funny, I added that because of an AI-generated genre description for one of my older demos. At the time, I hadn’t really defined what trip-hop was and thought the name was corny. Ironically, trip-hop is now one of my favorite genres to listen to. It connects with me due to my love for jazz music. I’ve been on a Herbie kick recently, and Andre 3000’s New Blue Sun has also reminded me how much I love it. Trip-hop, like jazz, has no blueprint for making “good” music. It spans wide, from Deltron 3030 to DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing….., giving space for people to express anything on their minds or say nothing at all. Sometimes, all you need is a kick, snare, and some keys to tell a story.
villin: In thinking about “Waters” as a creative stepping stone, how does it compare to the music you put out on Recovery, and what is the next step that you’re hoping it leads to?
Scott Miller: “Waters,” just like “Gravitate,” is an effort to assert myself and gain acknowledgment. They differ in subject matter and instrumentation, but they both resonate. They’re catchy—when you hear me hit that hook or the first sub, you know what’s playing. That’s what I want moving forward. “Recovery” was a project where I sacrificed song structure and unique arrangements to tell a cohesive story, surrounded by similar synthesizers, drums, and strings. Moving forward, I aim to capture cohesiveness without relying on similar structures and sounds. I want to surprise people. I have big plans for this year—stick with me, and I promise you won’t regret it.