Mrs. Miller Tries to Change Image
RENO (AP) - Will Mrs. Miller spoil success by taking vocal lessons to eliminate her tremulous long notes?
Whether she will or she won't, the onetime housewife is determined to fit her padded frame into a new image. No more the lagging a half-note behind the orchestra. No more the fractured melodies. She's going straight.
"It's a gamble," she admits, "but I'm willing to take a chance on a new Mrs. Miller. After all, the people weren't responding to the old Mrs. Miller."
Since she burst open the music world last year with the album Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits she has been a puzzle. How could a 58 year-old matron singing teen-age songs in an uncertain contralto manage to sell 660,000 records?
Album Was a Gag
Elva Miller reflected on this: "Capitol Records created the angle that 'she's so bad that she's good.' Or, it's what you call camp." But still that doesn't explain why so many records were sold. It's true that I have drawers full of letters from young people saying, "We think it's wonderful that you are singing our songs."
Was Mrs. Miller in on the gag? She claims that she wasn't- not at first.
"I don't sing off key and I don't sing off rhythm," she insisted. "They got me to do so by waiting until I was tired and then making the record. Or they would cut the record before I could become familiar with the song. At first I didn't understand what was going on. But later I did, and I resented it. I don't like to be used."
She made a second album for Capitol, prophetically titled, Will Success Spoil Mrs. Miller? Despite sales of 30,000 on that one, the record company put forth a third album, The Country Soul of Mrs. Miller.
"I could see that they were doing nothing for my records in the way of promotion," she remarked, "and I felt this was a signal. So we asked for my release. Without consulting us, Capitol released the news that I was being dropped."
Now she has formed her own company, Vibrato Records, and she will lease future discs to distributors. She is trying out for an acting role at Paramount and is mulling a nightclub tour with her new image.
After a year in the unaccustomed spotlight, Mrs. Miller seems to have maintained her equilibrium. She is grateful for the fame that took her all the way to Vietnam as an entertainer for the troops. "It's wonderful to be a part of the world, not just one person, as I was so many years as a house-wife," she observed.
"But still, I am well anchored in my home. If something comes along to stop this merry-go-round, I'll be able to go right back to being a housewife. In the meantime, I will have met lots of people and had a great deal of fun. Not many women my age have such an opportunity."