Last week, the musical duo “So Long Solo” visited Millikin on their fall tour. Throughout the performance, Mark and Heather Miller sang original songs and even did a few covers. The music was filled with passion, and the lyrics to their songs show a lot about them.
“So Long Solo” used a variety of instruments during their performance including: acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, ukulele, cello, piano, and melodica. This created a new concert experience for everyone who attended. One student mentioned they were getting ready to leave when they turned around and saw Mark playing the cello like a guitar. Other students were walking around singing one of “So Long Solo’s” catchy tunes “We Will Save the World (with Tea)” long after the performance had ended. Along with the performance, there was a merchandise and tea table set up.
Since the group is partners with “Adagio Teas,” they had samples of different teas for everyone to try, along with bags for sale. Their own merchandise consisted of colorful string bracelets and their albums. However, only one of these albums comes from “So Long Solo.” The other albums they have come from their old group named “theothermarkmiller.” Mark and Heather were kind enough to leave lyric booklets on the tables for students to look at. In them, there was a lot of information about the group, including their Facebook and Twitter pages under the name “So Long Solo.” There was even a blurb at the bottom mentioning that for every like to their Facebook page, a tree will be planted through Eden Reforestation Projects.
Although last week was probably the first time most students at Millikin had heard of the duo, they were founded back in 2012; Mark and Heather did not meet until 2009. Mark started performing under the pseudonym “theothermarkmiller” long before they met. His performances took him out of Kansas and he became an artist in residency in Tokyo for a year, along with other accomplishments. During that same time, Heather received her music degree, moved to Uganda to teach, volunteered to spend time with orphans in Mexico and played the flute in a wind ensemble across China. Afterwards, she moved back to Kansas where she created her flute studio.
Soon after this, Mark and Heather met at a boutique coffee shop. From there, their relationship grew. A short year later, they were married, and “theothermarkmiller” turned into a touring duet. This led to a busy year of promotional and radio campaigns before the release of their second album “Things of This World and Things That Aren’t.” This album marked the beginning of a new multi-instrumentalist concert experience much like those they have been inspired by.
After the success of their second album, Mark and Heather emerged with their new name. At this point, they have traveled over 100,000 miles, touring coast to coast with a growing fan base. The duo performed for audiences at more than 200 shows throughout the US, Japan, and Uganda, and their accomplishments are nowhere near over.
Throughout this year, the multi-instrumentalist duo has had many accomplishments. They started out the spring with a 30 show college tour, then traveled to Nashville to record their debut album. This album was recorded with Grammy award winning producer Mitch Dane, and they were joined by many well-known artists such as Taylor Swift, Ben Folds, and REM. The duo’s album was released in the beginning of September, before they started the fall tour they are currently on. The group was definitely a hit on campus, and many students are looking forward to hearing from more groups like this in the future.