Kate Kotlyar staff writer
Jackie Mayzenberg staff writer
Whether it was babbling along to Simon and Garfunkel as a baby or performing his original music in front of a crowd, music has always been part of junior Miles Platt’s life.
Music has allowed Platt to express himself in a creative and productive manner. It has paved the way for other creative outlets for him, such as musical theater and acting. Platt uses music as a form of “therapy.”
“Music has always been something that I’ve turned to for other things. [I’ve] been using music as a way to deal with my own emotions, and also let people know what’s going on. I feel it’s still a really great encapsulation of my emotional state,” Platt said.
To help express his emotions, Platt started writing songs about his relationships and experiences. He started to take writing music “seriously” in high school.
“I remember I briefly dated a girl freshman year, and then it ended, [so] I tried to find a way to get over it. I wrote this song called the ‘Siren Song,’ which was the first serious, ‘Please take me seriously as a songwriter,’ kind of song that I wrote,” Platt said. “I recorded it on this really basic interface which…was a reflection of where I was at at the time. I put it out on Apple Music and Spotify and I treated it like it was this really big release. I’m still proud of it.”
Currently, Platt is in the process of recording his first EP, a first step at pursuing music as a career, which he “really want[s]” to do.
“I really wanted to do [the] thing where I write music, then I record it, either by myself or with the help of friends to play some of the instruments, and maybe even co-write some [songs] too, then put it out, and play live shows supporting [the music and] to make money and then coming back and doing it again. That’s what I want to do, and that’s what I wanted to do for a while,” Platt said.
Miles’s mother, Robin Platt, would be “shocked” if Miles pursued any career outside the music field.
“I couldn’t imagine him anything other than being a musician. I’ve already picked out my first outfit for the Grammys,” Robin said. “[With] writing music, he’s so soulful and he’s so poignant and articulate when it comes to his own lyrics at age 17— I can just imagine what he would be at in 10 years.”
In 2018, Miles released a song called “Abstraction” under the pseudonym “Feels like Monday.” In 2019 he changed his musical alias to “Smilley” as an homage to his parents.
“My dad’s always called me ‘Smiley Boy’ and my mom always drew that happy face [with the eyes as lines]. I just kind of stumbled on [the name]. I still think it is really cool, I think it’s really funny. I also remind myself of the significance because that happy face in the logo is an equal part of my mom and dad [because he] called me ‘SmileyBoy,’ and my mom draws those happy faces,” Miles said.
Miles always loved the performance aspect of music as well, which is why he gravitated toward live music and the “out of body” experience it provides.
“I remember my first concert was at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, which was Styx, the 80s band. I was really into Styx because their music was really theatrical, and it was very big and boisterous. The concert was really crazy,” Miles said. “There were only electric guitars and it was exciting. It was a new kind of live music that I [had seen] because I’d seen videos on YouTube of my favorite bands playing [live], but I’d never really gotten to experience it firsthand. So, when I went to like my first real live show, I was really just in awe.”
While seeing Styx was the first live concert Miles remembers, Robin “went to several concerts pregnant [such as] Bruce Springsteen.” She believes that contributed to his love of music.
Bassist Dallon Weekes inspires Miles because of Weekes’ “innovative” musical style.
“He was in a band called The Brobecks, and they made an indie-pop album [called Violent Things.] That album, when I heard it for the first time, changed everything for me,” Miles said. “It changed the way I look at music, it changed the way I listen to music. It really changed my musical world because it was so different from anything I had heard before.”
“We can learn different things about each other through [music], whether you’re creating the music and you’re literally speaking about your life through it, either through the lyrics or through the music–– or it’s stuff you listen to, just stuff that keeps you going from day to day life,” Miles said. “If we didn’t have the radio and we didn’t have music around us, where would we be?”
Robin believes that Miles is “comfortable on stage” and that performing is “natural for him.” Miles agrees that music makes him “happy” and that he has a “knack” for it.
“[Music] is always what I’ve put most of my energy into. It’s always been something that I love and appreciate. Whether it’s listening to or playing or writing… it’s always been there for me. Music has always been my main source of entertainment, my main creative outlet, my main ambitions,” Miles said. “Music has always been my thing that I’ve like gotten to share with people and it’s great.”