Cape Rooting for Angela Miller to be Next "American Idol"

Angela Miller is one of the early favorites to win American Idol.
- Angela Miller is one of the early favorites to win American Idol.

Last May after Angela Miller graduated from Beverly High School, she had a choice to make—follow the traditional path of her peers and go to college or pursue her dreams and audition for “American Idol.”

Thankfully for fans of music, she chose the latter and in June traveled down to New York City where she impressed the judges with her rendition of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best,” leading all four to push her on to the next round.

From there her star has only risen, highlighted by her performance last week of “You Set Me Free,” an original song she penned that nearly brought judges Keith Urban and Mariah Carey to tears. This Wednesday she was rewarded by being selected for the top 20, the magical number when the viewing audience gets to decide who goes home and who should stay on the reality TV show.

And for a small contingent in Falmouth—where Angela, her older brother, Jonathan, and parents, Guy and Tana Miller, called home for roughly eight years—they could not be prouder.

“Even to have made it to this point, it brings tears to your eye,” said the Reverend Joseph Giampietro, the administrator for Heritage Christian Academy in East Falmouth, where Mr. Miller served as the pastor while his children attended school there.

Although the Millers eventually left the Cape, moving to Beverly where Angela attended high school, it was here that she first found her voice. “We moved to Cape Cod because my dad went to become the pastor at Heritage Christian Church, so I went to school, 1st to 8th grade, there,” the 18-year-old Angela said in a phone interview this week. “That is kind of the age where you really find out who you are and you become yourself. And so that was the first time I ever sang in church or on a stage in front of an audience.”

Growing up Angela benefited from the support of her family, all of whom are musically inclined. Her father sings and plays the guitar; her mother sings and plays the piano; and her brother sings, plays a variety of instruments and is in his own band, Exiting The Fall. Of those, Angela said, it was her mom who helped refine her talents, serving as her vocal coach, and encouraging her to take part in musicals and sing during Sunday worship.

Miller's Talents Nurtered in Falmouth

While at Heritage, Angela was allowed to blossom artistically, whether it be in Christmas or Easter pageants or leading church worship. “We’re not going to take credit for her talent, but she had plenty of opportunity to exercise it here,” Giampietro said. “She did some skits and acting here along with singing and helping to lead worship in our chapel.”

Even at a young age, he said, “we knew she had talent and we knew she was going to go places.”

School secretary Donna Lake remembered Angela playing the piano as part of an original song she wrote and sang during her 8th grade graduation. “She was always musically talented and participating in so many different things,” she said. “We always knew she would be a star someday.”

Once she left Falmouth, Angela continued to hone her skills at Beverly High School, where she was a member of the choir and was featured in several musicals, landing a lead role her senior year as Miss Dorothy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

All of this was preparation for Angela’s performance on the biggest stage yet—“American Idol,” where she has been seen by national audiences numbering in the millions.

Along with her musical capabilities, she has endeared herself to viewers with her humanity: during her audition she revealed that she suffers from 20 percent hearing loss in her right ear and 40 percent in her left ear, making it difficult for her to sing.

She has refused to let it weigh her down, in part because of her strong faith in God, whom she has credited for her success so far. “This is all in God’s hands and I’m going to let him do whatever he wants with it and follow him,” she said. “He gave me this gift and I’m excited to share it with people and I want to share it with the world.”

Lake said Angela’s spirituality has shone through so far, particularly in last week’s performance that left her own daughter, 18-year-old Sarah, in tears. “When we were watching, Sarah was crying because she was so proud of how far Angela has come,” Lake said. “Angela really loves the Lord and I think if you watch her and listen to her sing, you can see she has carried her faith over into this segment of her life.”

Short-Term; Long-Term Aspirations

As to where she goes from here, Angela is obviously hoping to be make it all the way to the top, something those in Falmouth are predicting. “Personally, I think she is going to win, though I may be a little prejudiced,” Lake said.

But even if she does not, Angela said, “I feel completely blessed to have made it this far already. I just want to take it each week at a time and focus on that, and stay focused on what I’m doing right now.”

Performance-wise this season’s audiences should expect her to sing “music that is very edgy. I wouldn’t call it R&B, but maybe soulful pop. I love Jessie J and Beyoncé,” she said.

Her long-term aspirations, she said, are to use “American Idol” as a launch pad for a career in the music industry. “My dream is to record an album and go on a sold-out world tour,” she said.

Before that happens, Angela will hopefully have several more nights in which America gets a chance to know more about a singer who many in Falmouth consider one of their own. “This is just the neatest thing to experience. It brings a smile to your face,” Giampietro said. “We watched that child grow up from 7 to 15, and you would literally see her every day, with the exception of Saturday... Myself, I’m in awe. I can’t believe I’m watching this. I’m just excited for her.” 

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  • stacey_kazar@hotmail.com

    Great story about one of our own... Let all keep rooting for her ongoing success!