Edinburgh student Eliza Miller hopes to break into music scene through busking on city streets

An Edinburgh teenager who takes to the city streets with her voice and guitar is hoping to break into the mainstream music scene through her busking.

By Annabelle Gauntlett
Sunday, 1st May 2022, 4:55 am

Eliza Miller is currently studying music at the University of Edinburgh and said she moved to the city from Glasgow to pursue a career in music.

"I think Edinburgh is the most beautiful city in this country,” she said. “There are so many different parts of it that can inspire so much life and this really does spark my creativity to write songs and perform them on the streets to all kinds of people.

"Busking and music is a way of life in Edinburgh.”

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Eliza Miller busking in Edinburgh

The talented teenager’s passion for music began when she was very young, having come from a family of music-lovers.

She first performed at the age of just seven in a production of The Wizard of Oz and went on to perform in other shows at her local town hall. She later started singing lessons and joined the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

When it came to deciding what career path to pursue, she said it was a no-brainer and applied to study music at university.

“It was at that point where I started taking my music really seriously as I realised that there is nothing I would want to do in the world more,” she said. "It has always been a part of who I am and I can't imagine my life without it.”

Eliza Miller says she is busking in the Capital out of passion, not for money

Alongside her studies, Eliza spends a lot of time busking in the Capital; having started outside a cancer research charity shop in Newington.

And it’s on the city streets that she sings her own songs, which are humorous tunes about the negative aspects of day-to-day life and “making fun of herself”. She said bringing positivity into people’s lives was the biggest driver for her to perform.

“My dream job is to be a singer for Strictly Come Dancing, because I just think my style of music is something that can bring joy to people, and I don’t necessarily want to do it for my own name, or be famous, that’s not the goal here,” she said. “The goal is to use music as a way to put joy in people’s lives.”

But the path to achieving her dream has never been easy, with music being a very competitive industry to break into.

“It has grown increasingly hard due to the vast amount of young people wanting to do the same thing, so it can be really difficult to find a niche that sets you aside when there are so many singer songwriters that want the same name for themselves.”

The Covid pandemic presented further challenges, with fewer people on the streets to listen to her songs, as well as face masks and social distancing regulations discouraging people from standing to watch. Even her studies at university were somewhat put on hold.

"It was virtually impossible to progress in a course that requires you to sing for an audience that couldn't be present, let alone have an orchestra with masks on. It just wasn’t the same,” she said.

Nevertheless, Eliza is determined to persevere and has reignited her love for busking since restrictions were lifted. She can now be seen performing on Princes Street and, as she sees it, putting life back into the streets of Edinburgh.