Christchurch songwriter Drew Miller performs as Mini, a name so humble you’ll find it hard to locate her on social or streaming media to listen to. Don’t worry, we’ve used all links provided in this article! Utilising the ukulele and a backing band made up of some of Christchurch’s finest she released her debut EP ‘Tangerine Days’ in late November this year. Its dainty title song made it onto NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation this December.
My name is Drew Miller but my stage name is Mini. I came up with this name through a cat name generator and because I’m little. I was born in Dunedin and grew up in Christchurch. I play the ukulele, sing and dabble a bit on other instruments.
I took music in high school for two years but I feel my most important training was my voice lessons with Sarena Close (aka Mousey). I’ve been taking them for 3 or 4 years and feel most of my skills developed through these lessons.
This is my first project, so the only way you should know me is from my debut EP ‘Tangerine Days’. This consists of four songs Talk, Love is Terrible, Fallen and Tangerine Days.
My songwriting for a while was non-existent. I tried a bit in Year 9 of high school but stopped because I found it quite difficult. I put this down to my dyslexia at the time, and decided to leave it alone until Covid-19 lockdown when I was left with so much time and I was told it was a perfect opportunity to start writing – so I did. My style didn’t really change from Year 9 till now, although I can say the content did get a little bit better… After lockdown I finished writing the whole EP and had a lot more confidence in my writing.
I loved learning about the process of recording and spending time with the other artists featured on my EP. But so far the biggest highlight since releasing the EP has been doing the radio interview with RDU. As someone who loves talking, especially about myself, it was perfect for me! I really enjoyed talking about not only my music but the music that I enjoy listening to.
I got the name for the EP when I was writing this song. I got the line “take me back to tangerine days” and it was so catchy and it just was seared into my brain and I knew that was what I wanted to name my EP as soon as I wrote the line. For me, Tangerine Days is the most important song of the EP, so it made sense that that would be my main song. The story behind the song is that I wrote it in the middle of lockdown when I was just really wanting to go back to a time when I could see my friends and go out, so I poured all that energy into Tangerine Days. When I say “… take me back to tangerine days” I was talking about a time before the lockdown, although I kind of disguised it as a love song.
My favourite musical moment in Tangerine Days would be the harmonies, without them I don’t think the song would have come together as well as it did, and it would have been lacking the layers that it needs. I also think the percussion was the cherry on top when it came to this song.
I wrote the songs on my own with critique and advice from Sarena Close. We recorded the EP at The Hut which is Ryan Fisherman’s studio. Ryan engineered and Sarena helped me produce. Chris Wethey played bass, Chris Close did the drumming and percussion and Terence O’Connor played guitar on Talk.
The Hut was a bit of a fridge and despite all my layers I still couldn’t feel my feet by the end of the day. Next time I’m going to record in summer!
I would like my listeners to be able to connect with Tangerine Days. Everyone has felt a longing to go back in time, to a better moment or place – whether that be before Covid or something completely different – but I would like to think they can connect with the vibe of Tangerine Days.
I’m managed by Chris and Sarena Close and I’m under the label Winegum Records. Big shout out to the team for this massive opportunity.
The songs Tangerine Days and Talk both became singles because they are the most influential songs on my EP. Talk was released as a single in hopes it would get some people excited for the EP as it’s a super upbeat and fun song, but Tangerine Days was released as a single with the EP because its influences on the album are very important.
In the future, I hope to make another EP or even a full album. I continue to write music in the hopes that one day I have a cohesive collection of songs that reflect where I’m at when the time comes to record them.
Dandelions by There’s a Tuesday
Bicycle Weather by Pickle Darling
Future Me Hates Me by The Beths
I would like to thank Serena and Chris Close for making all of this happen without their encouragement. There would be no Tangerine Days or Mini, so thank you!
New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that NZ On Air promotes Kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.