Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Marvin Gaye…these artists were the soundtrack of Mark Arthur Miller’s young life growing up on Chicago’s South Side. The new sounds in R&B and soul music from Motown filtered out from windows, playing on turntables and radios in every teen’s funky lair. The friends pretended they were the Temptations, singing and imitating all their dance moves.
Mark had a visceral connection to soul music he couldn’t explain–until he heard Stevie Wonder’s 1968 single “For Once in My Life” and realized it was his father’s song! Ron Miller was the first white staff writer at Motown in the stable of other great writers like Holland-Dozier-Holland, Mickey Stevenson and Harvey Fuqua. His hits for the label include “A Place in the Sun,” “For Once in My Life,” “Yester-me, Yester-you, Yester-day,” “Heaven Help Us All,” “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Someday at Christmas” and “Don’t Burn Down the Bridge.”
Less than three hundred miles away in Detroit, Ron Miller was writing the kind of music Mark describes as “my DNA.” But at that point, estranged from his son for over 10 years, Ron Miller was just a label on a 45rpm record.
Later, reconnected with the elder Miller in Los Angeles Mark frequently found himself in the company of idols Stevie, Smokey, Marvin, Diana and more. Once Ron Miller realized his son’s singing talent, he would often have Mark sing the demos of his songs. Mark began performing in such popular venues as Rockwell Table and Stage, Catalina Jazz, The Federal and The Cinegrill, where Ron was often in the audience until his death in 2007.
SOUL SEARCHING, the recording, has found its way onto playlists on radio all over the world. It features some Ron Miller hits, as well as originals by Mark Arthur Miller and other classic Motown songs.
“I love music, period,” says Mark. “I started out singing jazz, and I love Sondheim and rock and pop. But soul music was my first influence. That’s my heart.”