Bellmore native Debbie Miller has traveled coast to coast on her musical journey, finding herself back in New York this month for the debut of her newest album, “Measures and Waits.” Currently living in Seattle, Miller will return home for the release of her second album at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan on March 31.
Miller, who is studying to earn a doctoral degree in natural medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, was drawn to music at an early age, studying piano from age 7, but she says she didn’t associate music with performing until later in life. Having attended Newbridge Road School and Saw Mill Road School in the North Bellmore Elementary District, Miller decided to attend Calhoun for its On Tour theater program. “I always knew that I love performing, which is why I chose to go to Calhoun,” she said.
While at Calhoun, Miller landed the female lead in many of the program’s productions; one role that stood out for the 2000 graduate was her part in “Playing for Time,” an Arthur Miller play set in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Miller played one of the lead singers in the camp’s orchestra. Musicians, she said, lived longer than many other prisoners. During that performance, Miller said she realized how important music was to her life.
Following her time at Calhoun, Miller attended Brandeis University in Boston, where she earned a degree in sociology. After graduating in 2004, Miller wasn’t sure whether a 9-to-5 job was for her, so she took jobs in restaurants and at an after-school program. In 2005, she started singing backup for a few friends and decided to dabble in song writing. For someone who had spent her life around music, the idea of writing was still daunting, Miller said. To keep herself on track, Miller knew that taking it one day at a time would be important. “Every step of the way, I set small goals for myself,” she said.
While writing music, Miller also performed at open-mic nights throughout the New York area. She then set out to have a big enough song portfolio to be able to book a show. That day came in February 2008 when she was offered a spot at the Sidewalk Café in Manhattan.