A lot has changed since Nova Miller kick-started 2020 with the release of her music video, “Do It To Myself.” Besides the pandemic rocking the world, the 19-year-old Sweden native has skyrocketed to fame on TikTok and won over 1.7 million followers and 17.7 million likes with her five-octave vocal range. It’s a range that legends like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera also have, which has led Nova to amaze TikTok fans with her vocal impersonations of the whistle tone queens.
While Nova’s gift for hitting sky-high notes is reminiscent of these late ’90s/early 2000’s superstars, Nova actually took a lot of inspiration from an even further back era — the disco-loving, free-spirited years of the ’60s and ’70s — to create her new EP, The Passion, which dropped today on Oct. 16! In fact, despite being famous on a platform beloved by Gen Z, Nova considers herself as an “old soul” and describes herself as “the next 1960’s pop star” in her Instagram bio. In an EXCLUSIVELY interview with HollywoodLife, Nova reveals the retro nods on her EP (like how she took James Brown’s 1966 classic “Man’s World” to tell her “own story”), and chatted about a wide range of topics from a TikTok duet with Jason Derulo to her experience of moving to the U.S. at just 17 years old as she celebrates her new EP.
HL: We last caught up with you after you dropped your music video, “Do It To Myself,” this past January. How has life changed for you in the wake of the pandemic?
Nova: It’s so fun, my Nova Nation has really grown so fast this year. I think my goals have always been big, it just makes me more motivated to work hard and give back the love to them that I receive everyday. They are truly the best. So funny, cool, supportive and I just wanna release as much music as I possibly can.
HL: What is your favorite TikTok you’ve ever made — and what was your favorite reaction to one of your viral TikToks?
Nova: I’ve gotta say my “Bad Romance” cover – Whistle Tone Edition. That one was a complete surprise and it is my biggest one to this day. When I posted it, it just blew up and it has 15.3 million views now, how crazy!! My favorite reaction to a TikTok was probably when Jason Derulo duetted an arrangement of his song “Whatcha Say.”
HL: You’re also known for your spot-on vocal impersonations. Are there more singers whom you’re planning to imitate for future TikToks?
Nova: Well, I have been incorporating a lot more of my original music on TikTok lately to get everyone excited for the EP, but I am actually making one where I am singing both Mariah and Whitney’s part in their version of ”When You Believe” hahhahaa. That might end up just living in my drafts but let me just say, I am constantly making videos so stay tuned for that on my TikTok page.
HL: Your vocal range is incredible! Can you share more about your background in singing, and how you got to the point of having a five-octave vocal range?
Nova: Thank you so much! I have always been inspired by the big singers like Whitney, Mariah, Christina etc. So that was always what I was working and practicing towards. My voice is everything to me so I really just put the work in, do my scales and drink my tea. I was really able to tap into those higher notes in my register when I started taking singing lessons from my singing teacher Angel Lea. It’s really just about staying disciplined and always warming up.
HL: In the “Mi Amor” music video, you were also playing a saxophone! What are all the instruments you can play?
Nova: Yesss! I love that video so much, It makes me really happy. My main instrument is guitar, but I play piano, violin, some bass, some recorder and ukulele. Sorry to break it to you but I wasn’t actually playing the sax in the video.. but I’m so happy it was believable. The person who actually played the saxophone on the record, Wojtek Goral, sent me a video where he taught me how to play it before the music video. Maybe it’s the next instrument I’ll pick up tho. Fake it till you make it, right?
HL: You’re a die-hard fan of the ‘60s and ‘70s. How did you incorporate the style of music from that era into your new EP, The Passion?
Nova: That’s where my heart is, I am such an old soul. I just really connect with that era especially with the fashion and in my aesthetics. For the artwork of the EP I am rocking a Cher-inspired hair look, I’ve sampled “California Dreamin,” “Mi Amor” is a nod to ABBA, and I have this one song on it that is called “Man’s World” on there. The title is originally from James Brown in 1966 but I’ve switched it up completely to tell my own story.
HL: There’s such a strong sense of confidence throughout the EP, especially in “Man’s World” where you sing, “I give myself validation, don’t need it from you anymore.” What inspired that particular song?
Nova: Yes, it’s really a message I want to spread to the listener. A quick story about this song is I wrote it right before I had a big conversation with my fitness trainer, Daryl Rudd, about the music industry. He looked me in the eyes and said ”Nova, you have to work harder. This is a mans world.” It really shook up my whole world for days. It added so much soul, passion and purpose to this song. It’s really about not settling anymore, cus you’re in control. It’s so common to be underestimated, judged, looked down upon as an ambitious woman in this industry, but I don’t think theres anything wrong with having big dreams and working towards them. I won’t let a man get in the way, especially not a relationship. If it doesn’t make me better or if we aren’t on the same level, I don’t want it.
HL: Given your love for retro music, who are some of your favorite icons of the past?
Nova: Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Cher, Frank and Nancy Sinatra are some. I also think The Beatles are amazing.
HL: It has been more than a year since you’ve moved from Sweden to pursue music in the U.S., right? What was it like making such a big move, and what have been the most important things you’ve learned since then?
Nova: Yes exactly! It has been so so life changing and so amazing to be able to really focus and give this a real shot. I’ve always wanted to be here, so it was a dream come true. I am grateful to have such a supportive family that want me to pursue my dreams. It has definitely been challenging to not be able to see my family and friends for so long cus of corona but I try to talk to them everyday. I also live with my day to day manager, Vendela, so I always have someone I can talk to when I need. I think having support from my family and my team keeps me sane.
HL: Finally, with the EP now out, what are you working on next? (Christmas?)
Nova: I’m gonna stay in The Passion world for a minute. I have some more music videos and performance videos to release and I’m gonna be doing a Passion livestream concert soon that I’m excited about!! But I’ve definitely already started writing the next body of work and who knows, you might even spend Christmas with me. < 333