Paxton can’t wait to see their hometown hero Miles perform

Chicago
By Chicago 7 Min Read

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PAXTON — Scott Harden said he can feel the vibe as Paxton’s favorite daughter returns to town this weekend.

Harden, co-owner of Paxton’s The Cadillac, an entertainment venue that opened in late September, said the excitement is noticeable for the return of Gina Miles, winner of the most-recent season of NBC’s “The Voice,” who caught even more national attention when she sang the national anthem before a recent NFL game.

“There’s a ton of buzz around town,” Harden said. “You can just sense that everybody’s excited.”

Excited enough to sell out two weekend shows Saturday and Sunday at a place that will hold 650 people.

Harden said the show “is a little more unique” because several family members and friends Miles hasn’t seen in a while will be on hand.

“And the media presence has been pretty large,” Harden said.

Miles is grateful to her community.

“It (took) a village of people to make me what I am,” Miles said Friday afternoon at The Cadillac. “I absolutely didn’t do anything all by myself.”

Miles has many memories scattered throughout town.

The Cadillac is located less than a block away and around the corner from the downtown Hope Vineyard Church, where she sang as a young girl in an informal talent show and caught the ear of the youth leader, Christina Stanley.

Like many, Stanley remembered Miles as “such a small, quiet girl” with such a big voice. It was the same for high school show choir and chorus.

Miles said some of her special moments were riding bikes with her friends to Casey’s and drinking slushies across the street at Majestic Park.

And next to that park, Miles’ father, Ryan Galey, will open the new Market Street Grill in a week or so.

“My dad is cool,” Miles said while posing for photos with him at The Cadillac.

Perhaps that’s where she inherited her love of music. Galey also does DJ work, and Miles at times would accompany him.

“I’m definitely an old soul musically. I like dance music and house music from Chicago,” Galey said.

Galey said seeing his daughter perform on “The Voice” was “amazing.”

“I was unprepared for that,” he said. “Seeing her being able to live out what she wants to do is priceless.”

His daughter has more modern tastes than her father and is a big fan of English singer-songwriter Adele — “ever since I was a little girl,” she said.

Like Adele, Miles sings and writes.

Miles is also humble.

“I don’t think I could put myself in the same room as her because she’s the most amazing singer technically and vocally,” Miles said.

Miles said her favorite topic to write about is “the human condition and how we are as people.”

“Love is the biggest thing,” she said. “I know people say, ‘Oh, breakup songs!” but I really feel there are more relationships than romantic ones, so I think it’s important to write about them.”

One of the perks of winning “The Voice” is a recording contract with Universal Music Group. Miles said she is still in the process of recording the album.

The name and completion date have not been decided.

“We’ve been working on it for a couple months now,” she said. “It’s a really long process and a lot longer than people would expect.”

Miles’ success has not been an accident. She had a goal and worked toward it.

She left Paxton after her junior year at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School to live with her aunt, Gretchen Goodell, who is her agent, to pursue her career in California.

It’s a career that has taken off pretty quickly.

“It’s been a very fast thing, especially because it was like COVID and then winning the show. It snowballed,” Miles said.

Miles doesn’t expect to be nervous performing in her hometown. The only thing she said she was nervous about when performing in front of 69,000 fans for the recent 49ers-Cowboys Sunday Night Football game was forgetting the lyrics. She did, though, ask beforehand when the fireworks and jet flyover would happen so she wouldn’t be surprised.

“I didn’t want to flinch,” she said.

Prior to that, her biggest crowd was at the 4,500-seat Thunder Valley arena in Sacramento when she opened for Jewel.

“It was super, super fun,” she said. “I actually enjoy large crowds. The crowds don’t make me nervous.”

Her typical week involves practicing for shows and writing.

“The more I’m around musicians, the more I’m inspired,” she said. “And if I’m not performing that weekend I spend a lot of time with my family. I also like to read.”

Miles appeared shocked when she was named the winner of “The Voice.” There’s good reason for that. She was.

“I was very unprepared,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to win.”

To her fans back in Paxton, there was no doubt.

Miles said this weekend’s shows will run about 90 minutes apiece, and she hopes “to make them special for everybody — a variety of songs from the show and original songs from my EP and some fun cover songs.”

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