Don Miller: “Always smile, stay fresh and clean”

Exclusive interview with London-based Ugandan born musician and model

There is something so unique about Don Miller. When I walked into the set of one of his music videos, I thought he was one of the models. Little did I know he was the star of the music video as the musician. With such distinct looks it’s no wander he was first scouted as a model by UK’s top High Street fashion label TopMan (Topshop).  

The London-based Ugandan born musician and model and his family left Uganda due to the civil war in the Northern part of the country, relocating to the UK and eventually settling in Greenwich London, where he attended the John Roan School.

Don completed his A-levels before going to University of East London and eventually graduating with a biochemistry degree. His love and passion for music started at the age of seven. While he was studying, he used some of his time to work on music with influences from  LL Cool J, Eminem, Jay Z, 50cent and Dr Dre.

Upon completing his studies, Don began to write and record tracks in his home and friends’ studios. He is currently a freelance model and none exclusive agency represented. He’s worked on many covers and just finished a very interesting EP album with his East African styled vocals mixed with urban beats.

Don’s debut solo single titled “Out Tonight” released on Island Def Jam Digital Distribution and available on iTunes and Amazon has so far sold over 6,000 copies. His second single titled “Through the Rain” is due to hit stores in mid February 2012.

I caught up with him for a one to one chat to find out how it all started and where he is currently heading with his double talent as a musician and a top model.

Don, is it true to say that most people know you as a model and not as a musician?

Yes, that is true.

How did you get into the modelling industry and your journey to stardom as a model?

Well, prior to starting modelling in January 2011, I had been asked at young age by two model scouts to get into fashion. However, my parents considered anything beside studies as a failure so I first concentrated on my studies and graduated in 2008.

One day I was helping a friend decorate his photo studio when a photographer told me to send my photo to UK’s major high street label TopMan marketing team for a freelance fit modelling job. When I got there for casting, the team told me that I should be doing modelling full-time so I gave it a go and never looked back since.

When and how did you start with the music career?

I actually started writing music in 2004, I’ve always been around people who were and are into music. A few are in the UK Charts, having number ones. I didn’t start recording till 2006/7.

If you had just one day to choose between music and modelling, which one would it be and why?

Wow! This is a tough one. I think I would choose modelling. This is because I get to meet a lot of creatively mad professionals i.e. from stylists, Make Up Artists, photographers to studio owners like you and I really enjoy  catwalks, fittings and trying out crazy concepts.

You certainly have an awesome voice, what genre are you?

I would consider my music as Hip-hop/Rap and R&B.

Do you write and produce your own music?

Yes I do write my own music but work with music engineers and producers.

Who are your biggest inspiration in music, modelling and in life?

My music inspirations are Big L, Jay Z, Marvin Gaye, 50cent. My modelling inspirations are Grace Jones and Alek Wek, a lot of photographers refer me as their male versions.

Any new material or concert planned for 2012?

Yes.. Yes! I will have lots of materials by mid February as I have a big meeting with a top international record label representative you introduced me to at the UK Music Video Awards. They would like to review my EP so fingers crossed.

Most musicians are performing artists who branch out into acting? Are you one of them?

Acting is definitely an area I’m very interested in, so I would consider it if and when the opportunity arises.

Music industry anywhere in the world whether in Europe, USA, Asia or Africa is full of challenges. What opportunities have you come across so far and what challenges have you gone through that you might like to share with someone who wants to take the same path?

It is a difficult but very enjoyable challenge, I have been asked to perform at a few night clubs and a lot of private parties mainly for businesses around Canary Wharf. I have also performed in front of an audience of 800 people for John Lewis. I would tell someone who wants to start music to go for it with everything and don’t expect every door that you knock to open at the first instance. But if you want it so badly then just keep pushing and knocking on the same door.

You are very stylish, are you a trendsetter or a trend follower?

I am both really, I set trends but also follow it with a twist.

Share with our male readers your grooming tip please…..

OK! Mine is simple – try to always smile, stay fresh and clean.


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By Pauline Long

Pauline Long’s Celebrity Corner
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