Billboard Exclusive Premiere: Tor Miller's Stirring Ballad 'Midnight'

Tor Miller
Courtesy of Glassnote Records

Tor Miller

Some artists develop a better grasp of song dynamics as they grow older and gain more experience; others seem to be born with an understanding of the build-and-release that makes pop so satisfying. Twenty-year-old Tor Miller belongs to the second camp. Billboard is exclusively premiering "Midnight," a powerful piano ballad from the young singer. Listen below.

"Midnight" is elegantly crafted, starting with nothing more than Miller's voice and sparse, gospel-sounding piano. Gradually the song picks up new elements: touching group harmonies, a distant guitar, then percussion and a string section. Miller pushes his voice in unexpected directions, adding color and texture with bursts of swooning falsetto.

Miller makes a strong impression with the song's first line: "Jeff Buckley's Grace was playing loud as hell, in the back of an old dive bar/so I step outside and light a cigarette, take in the fumes of the passing cars." "When I wrote 'Midnight,'" he tells Billboard, "I had just flown to London for a long period of recording. During that time I was getting very into all these biographies and autobiographies about the '70s punk scene… 'Midnight' was almost like a love note for the city and in a strange way an homage to a bygone era."

Look for Miller's debut EP, Headlights, out Feb. 2 on Glassnote Records.