Emerson grad to headline show

by Beacon Staff • April 12, 2006

Her life ambition changed, however, when she began to play open mic nights in Boston just months after graduation.

Although she had no prior music lessons or training, Miraglia knew she wanted to be a part of Boston's live music scene.,Danielle Miraglia always imagined herself writing novels after she graduated from Emerson College in 1998 with a creative writing degree.

Her life ambition changed, however, when she began to play open mic nights in Boston just months after graduation.

Although she had no prior music lessons or training, Miraglia knew she wanted to be a part of Boston's live music scene.

"When I was in school, I would go out and hear bands play and I would be envious," Miraglia said. "I was like, 'I want to be doing that. Why can't I do that?'"

It was her desire to learn and her love for poetry that propelled her career forward. Months after graduation, she grabbed an acoustic guitar, wrote a few songs and headed to her first open mic in Cambridge, a show that sparked her future career as a fulltime singer/songwriter.

"It just seemed to happen from there. I met all these people I could relate to," Miraglia said. "I don't even know how it happened. I went to an open mic and just little by little I got the bug for it. I just learned more and more every time I went back."

Starting out wasn't easy, but Miraglia was persistent. She continued to play open mics and bar gigs in Cambridge and Boston, attracting musicians and fans within the local music scene.

Despite her lack of experience, she said her first open mic encouraged her to keep writing music.

"[At] most open mics in town, the people are very supportive. The first open mic I ever did, I know for a fact my guitar was way out of tune and I know those songs weren't that great," Miraglia said. "If I hadn't had that encouragement, I don't know if I would've kept doing it."

Miraglia attributes her songwriting skills to the creative writing classes she took at Emerson. During her four years, she also contributed to Emerson's literary magazine Gangsters in Concrete.

"It was just such a creative environment to be in and some of the classes were different than any other classes that you would [take] at any other school," Miraglia said, recalling her years as a student at Emerson.

Influenced by classic rock and blues artists, including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell, Miraglia's raw, smoky vocals draw comparisons to legend Bonnie Raitt. Although she left her dream of writing novels behind after graduation, she continues to use her creative writing skills to craft playful lyrics and compelling acoustic ballads.

"I think [creative writing] helped me think like a songwriter. I've been able to apply basic creative writing rules that I learned [toward] music and songwriting," she said. "It taught me how to write with detail that people can understand."

Her 2005 release, Nothing Romantic, features the heart-felt song "Sell My Soul," backed by blues harmonica and steady acoustic finger picking. Along with her guitar, Miraglia picked up the harmonica and wrote the song after playing a series of bar gigs.

While she often plays acoustic sets, Miraglia regularly teams up with bassist Tom Bianchi and drummer Paul Chiasson, members of local Boston band Tall Palm.

Tonight will be Miraglia's first headlining show at Club Passim. Throughout her career, she has played at a number of venues, including bar gigs, and is excited about playing Club Passim.

"It's awesome to play a room where people are there just to listen and are there for the music. You aren't just secondary to a sports game or beer," Miraglia said.

Danielle Miraglia headlines at Club Passim in Somerville tonight at 8 p.m.