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Steven Miller (record producer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Steven Miller (born November 8, 1956, in New Jersey) is an American record producer and executive. He is best known for his association with Windham Hill Records, where his ambient sound helped create notable instrumental recordings such as Michael HedgesAerial Boundaries, Mark Isham’s Vapor Drawings and George Winston’s December.

As a guitarist and keyboardist, Miller released a recording of his own compositions, Singing Whale Songs in a Low Voice (on his Hip Pocket/Windham Hill Jazz imprint) which featured Isham and pianist Art Lande. He also worked with many of the other Windham Hill artists, including label founder William Ackerman, Liz Story, Alex de Grassi, Darol Anger, Barbara Higbie, Scott Cossu, Nightnoise, Michael Manring and Andy Narell. Together with Narell, he created the original music for Apple’s early/mid 1980s products, IIe, Lisa, and Macintosh.

Miller has been actively involved in new technology. He and Ackerman developed a system of pressing records which enabled the label to domestically manufacture and sell audiophile quality lp’s for standard lp retail price. He was also one of the first producers to fully embrace digital recording. During the transition years from vinyl to compact discs, his recordings were frequently played at hi fi shops to demonstrate the CD's exte /nded dynamic range. In recognition of his work, he was appointed to the board of the RIAA’s Compact Disc Group.

After Windham Hill, Miller worked as an A&R executive at RCA Records and then briefly left the business. Upon returning to music, he has worked independently with a wide range of artists in the singer-songwriter, pop and jazz genres.

Singer-Songwriters he has worked with include Richard Marx, Suzanne Vega, Dar Williams, John Gorka, Patty Griffin, David Broza, Paula Cole, and Glen Phillips.

Pop artists include Toad the Wet Sprocket, Pink, Dave Matthews Band, Backstreet Boys, Switchfoot, Chicago, G. Love and Jack Johnson.

Jazz artists include Manhattan Transfer, Michael Brecker, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Rick Braun, Bobby McFerrin, Paquito D’Rivera, and Dave Valentin.

In partnership with Allen Sides and Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, he created Ocean Way Drums – a high end musical instrument plugin that was introduced at the 2008 NAMM show and is available at Guitar Center and other outlets.

In 2014, legendary music journalist Ben Fong-Torres inducted Miller into the San Francisco State University Hall of Fame.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • 2014 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee: Steven Miller
  • Master P's Top 10 Rules For Success (@MasterPMiller)


Award-wining music producer, arranger, engineer, executive and a multi-instrumentalist, Steven Miller is the best known for his association with Windham Hill Records. There, his innovative productions and pioneering use of new digital technology helped transform the small independent label into a worldwide icon. His innovations and ambient sound helped create landmark recordings such as George Winston's "December", Michael Hedges' "Aerial Boundaries", and Mark Isham's "Vapor Drawings". During that time, Steven collaborated with Steve Jobs to create the music for Apple's new products, IIe, Lisa and the groundbreaking Macintosh. He was among the first producers to fully embrace digital recording, and is considered a pioneer in the field. From there, he went on the co-found the Hip Pocket AM and RCA Novus Record Labels. While running his own full service music production company, Steven worked with a wide range of artists in the singer-songwriter pop and jazz genres including the Dave Matthews Band, Suzanne Vega, Backstreet Boys, Pink, Manhattan Transfer, The Jonas Brothers, and Jack Johnson. He has twice been nominated for the Grammy for best engineered album and has released two albums of his own compositions. Steven continues to be actively involved in new technology and is co-creator--creator of Ocean Way Drums, a high-end musical instrument plug-in. He has composed music for a variety of international clients and has provided consulting services for the television, film, advertising, and radio industries. Steven is president of Faze [phonetic] Entertainment, a multimedia company based in Hong Kong. He is developing a web-based music education system. And he's readying the release of his first book. It is now my great honor and pleasure to formally induct and welcome Steven Miller, Radio and Television, to the San Francisco State University Alumni Hall of Fame. [ Cheering & Applause ] >> I'm still trying to wrap my head around finding love at San Francisco State. I don't know about you. Well, like Tom Ammiano, I am also a refugee from New Jersey. And growing up in the shadow of New York City, I remember it was 54 years ago that in 1960 that my father, for some reason, took me to the World Series game. Now, unfortunately, that game ended for the Yankees, my team, kind of like tonight did. So, I mean, I understand that and I still, to this day, have no idea why my father would waste a perfectly good ticket on a four-year old. I'm still trying to figure that out. [ Laughter ] But, from that day, the Yankees were my team and Mickey Mantle was my man. And Mickey was part of an unparalleled lineage, included Jay Bruce, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. And their greatness is unquestioned. So, it's hardly surprised that each of them is in the Hall of Fame. And in fact, my introduction to the concept of a Hall of Fame started with my dear Yankees. But from that World Series game at Yankee Stadium, I'm going to fast-forward 13 years to the dark days surrounding the Watergate hearings. And looking around, I'd say probably half of remember Sam Ervin, the senator from North Carolina who ran those hearings, and for those who remember Senator Sam, had a very folksy, down-home way of communicating. And I remember becoming dumbfounded upon his introduction of one particular witness. At some point during the end of that introduction, Senator Sam said--and excuse my really bad southern accent--he said, "This man was an esteemed member of the accountant's Hall of Fame." [ Laughter ] And I'm sitting there by myself, I'm going, "What the hell is the accountant's Hall of Fame?" [ Laughter ] Beyond that, like how do you get in, I mean, what do you got to do? [ Laughter ] I mean, Mantle and Bruce hit lots of home runs. DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games. Those are solid, quantifiable things. But election to the accountant's Hall of Fame, I mean, that's a little less clear. You got to admit it. I mean, was it 30 years of seamless to the penny calculations, that this man worked for Fortune 500 and was able to write hundreds of millions of dollars of expenses that no other accountant could? [ Laughter ] It's 40 years later, I'm still trying to figure it out. [ Laughter ] Well, I think the simple answer kind of boils down to that this particular accountant was deemed to be successful in some way which begs the question at least for me, how do we measure success? And I know for me, this can be a difficult issue to ponder because it's fluid or it should be fluid because as our lives, our priorities and our world view evolves so too can our criteria for success. And I'll tell you this, in my book, no matter what, the biggest component of success is doing something that you're passionate about. If you're able to sustain yourself by doing any type of work that you truly care about, for me, that is a success. And maybe I was a bit of a freak at a young age. I knew very specifically what I was going to do. I remember walking into the seventh grade guidance counselor and he was a nice older man. He said "What do you want to do when you grow up?" And I said "Record producer." And he took glasses of, he kind of lean back in his chair and I know what he wanted to say. He wanted to say, "What the hell is a record producer?" But he said "What is a record producer?" And I was a pretty, you know, solid, honest young guy and I said "I have no idea." But I know that it's what I'm going to do because I had a passion for the art of making music already. And I thought everybody had a passion. And I thought that you took that passion and you made that your livelihood. I didn't know any better. But as the years have gone by and I've made my way around the world many times over, I've come to the sad conclusion that a lot of people are at best apathetic about their work, and many more are downright unhappy. And I think this is due in large part to the fact that most people don't have a true passion. I think some folks did at an early age and were discouraged, but many more were just never aware of the options that might interest them. And I think it's fair to say that most kids have very little idea of the enormous range of fields that one can spend their life working in. And I think the educational community at every level can do a much better job exposing young people to as many areas as possible. Open their eyes to what they had no idea existed. But even then, it really is up to us, the community at large, to encourage these young people to pursue whatever passion has excited their hearts and minds because I firmly believe that we as a society greatly benefit when people are working in and at something they really have a stake in. Because that creates pride in you work. And that pride usually makes us happy. And happy and content people simply are more productive and increased productivity benefits us all. So, I think it's a win-win when we do everything we can to help folks discover a passion and then encourage them to follow whatever that path maybe. And trust me, I think my fellow inductees will agree, it takes a lot of courage. But the rewards can be great because the difficult job of simply keeping your head above water while pursuing your dreams and passion automatically elevates you to the major league status. So, whether it's a home run hitting out fielder, an accountant, an actress and singer, a poet and playwright, an entrepreneurial baker, let's help everyone become a full-fledged and happy member of their own Hall of Fame. Thank you. [ Cheering & Applause ]


  • 1983 Singing Whale Songs in a Low Voice (Hip Pocket Records HP-102)


  • ‘Windham Hill Records : A Specialist Label that places a Specific Emphasis on Musical Performances and Recording Quality', by Denis Degher, Recording Engineer Producer Magazine, August 1984
  • ‘Producer Steven Miller : Don't Call Me Audiophile’, by Sam Sutherland, Billboard Magazine Ocbober 19, 1985
  • ‘Dar Williams Set Finds Steven Miller Returned To ‘Guerilla Record-Making’, by Debbie Galante Block, Billboard Magazine, June 8, 1996
  • Steven Miller at Allmusic

External links

This page was last edited on 12 September 2020, at 04:50
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