Student musicians take the stage at SA concert

Student musicians Nicole Miller and Naoto Barrett filled the night of March 6 with heartfelt melodies as the duo performed a Student Activities-hosted concert.


The concert opened up with Matthew Mellusi, who performed a soulful mix of covers and original songs, including a duet with Julia Rothenberger. He closed his performance with a personal original about the importance of self-worth.


“Just because you don’t feel like you mean anything to yourself, to someone you mean everything,” Mellusi said.


Miller and Barrett, the main act, opened with Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” The audience became visibly delighted with the energetic cover of Johnnyswim’s “Diamonds” that followed.


Before performing the classic Fleetwood Mac tune, Miller described “Landslide” as one of the first songs that made her fall in love with music.


Miller and Barrett closed the concert with the familiar hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” giving all glory to God for their talent while challenging the audience to use any gifts or talents they possessed for the glory of God.


The duo only recently started writing songs together, and their style is still developing. Miller describes their style as Americana, folksy, and singer-songwriter. Miller’s own personal style leans more alternative and acoustic.


Although nervousness is a part of performing, Miller claimed that her sense of purpose is greater than the butterflies in her stomach.


“When you’re called to be there, I think it’s a really natural feeling,” Miller said.


Barrett and Miller were excited to perform in front of the people who have supported them along the way.


“The biggest thing about tonight is that we’re really excited to have fun,” Barrett said.


For Miller, performing in front of her peers was a joyful experience. Miller began writing songs when she was only nine. Switching her major from songwriting to artist development allowed Miller to develop her vocal abilities along with her songwriting.


“I used to think that I was going to stand on the front lines of secular music as a Christian, as a positive voice for a group of people who really don’t have that these days,” Miller said. “Songwriting is rapidly declining into the secular gospel.”


Miller is still unsure what God has for her in her future as a musician. But she knows that her music serves a greater purpose.


“I’m not really sure if I’m meant to write songs for the church, if I’m meant to write songs for a secular crowd — all I know is that I very much see songs and music as a vessel to counsel,” Miller said. “In that way, you have a direct route to the human heart.”


Both Barrett and Miller agree that music has the power to reach people on a deep, personal level. That power was displayed in their passionate performance.


“I just see myself, as a musician, playing shows and writing songs for people that need to hear truth — that need to hear hope,” Miller said.


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