NAPLES — For Paige Miles it’s the place where she finally let herself sing out loud.
“I always kind of thought that it was awkward that I was this short spot with this big voice,” said the 25-year-old former American Idol contestant.
But what a difference a few years make.
On Wednesday, Miles belted out a heartfelt and soulful rendition of Aretha Franklin’s ‘A Natural Woman’ during a press conference announcing she’d be headlining TheaterZone’s May production of “BEEHIVE The 60s Musical” at the G&L Theatre, 13275 Livingston Road, — the stage where her singing career began.
“I’m trilled to have her back here working with us again,” said TheatreZone artistic director and Community School of Naples Director of Performing Arts Mark Danni.
In a statement, he called BEEHIVE a joyous, “wanna sing along” musical revue, chronicling several female singing sensations from the 1960s.
The show’s material was just too good to resist, Miles said.
“When he said Proud Mary and River Deep Mountain High (two of the show’s numbers), I was sold,” she said.
During the small press conference Miles recalled that even though she didn’t hold back her voice during church or while singing by herself when she was younger, that it took the song ‘Seasons of Love’ for a school production by her mentor Danni to finally make her feel comfortable to just sing the heck out of a song while on stage.
“I was scared to do it,” said the Naples native and Community School of Naples alum Miles, who is in town to headline Saturday’s Angel ball which benefits the school’s scholarship fund. “I was terrified to let it all come out.”
Apart from helping her alma mater, Miles is also finishing work on her debut album which is being released by one of the record labels affiliated with American Idol.
“It’s going so well. Better than I imagined. I’m having a blast,” said Miles. “I’m a live performer.... so my biggest adjustment was probably having to imagine myself performing in a small room.”
She’s also gotten the opportunity to just be herself in the studio and show her musical range.
During her Idol run, Miles was plagued by a case of severe laryngitis which she says affected her performance.
“There were several octaves I just couldn’t even touch,” she said.
Now with months of healing and some rest, she’s back to fighting form and even surprising herself.
“There were some notes that I just hadn’t heard myself hit in a long time. When I hit them in the studio, they were like ‘Did you just leave the room?’ I was like ‘Yeah, I just had to take a minute,’” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t know that note was still there.”
She has also started writing and will have a few co-writer credits when the album hits the shelves.
“My first song is a co-write,” a smiling Miles said adding that she first tried song writing back in middle school, but that she was always kind of nervous to let other people hear it.
And Miles admitted she shed a tear when she heard the finished song for the first time.
“It’s me,” she said of the whole album and the process of putting it together. “Everything I’m recording are original songs, some I’ve been a co-writer on and some are from really established writers.”
The as of now untitled album is expected to be released in January, Miles said, and she hopes to be able to premiere the debut single in Southwest Florida.
As to what fans can expect style wise, Miles said that she’s going old school.
“I’m kind of going a little vintage (with the album),” said Miles who remarked that much of today’s music sounds the same and that she’d like to change it up. “Making what was kind of old, into kind of new and making it pop.”