Paradise Fears frontman lives by five simple words: “What are you waiting for?”

Sam Miller, center, is the lead singer of Paradise Fears.

Sam Miller, center, is the lead singer of Paradise Fears.

By Natalie Brophy  

Sam Miller, the 22-year-old lead singer of the band Paradise Fears, lives his life by five simple words: “What are you waiting for?”

When he was a kid, his mother always used to ask him, “Sam, what are you waiting for?”

“It was always her question,” Sam said. “If you really want these things that you say that you want, what are you willing to give up for them? How hard are you willing to work for them? And if you really do want them, why isn’t today the day you’re doing it?”

Paradise Fears has been together since 2007, when Sam and the other band members were still attending high school in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Sam always knew he wanted to pursue a career in music. But he and the other band members had a tough choice to make come the end of their senior years — continue with the band or move on and go their separate ways in college?

So Sam went back to those five little words and made the decision to skip going to college to be able to focus on his dream of playing music.

“My dad was actually the one who talked me into it,” Sam recalled. “He took me to dinner the day I was supposed to commit to college. He said ‘Sam, in life we don’t regret the things we do, we only regret the things we don’t do.’ He talked me into doing the band.”

And from that point on, there has been no stopping Sam and his band.

“When I look back on making that decision I’m like. ‘What?’ It’s not like we had all these opportunities available to us when we decided to not go to college,” he said. “Nothing was going on for us, no one listened to us, we had an EP that we could barely release. We had 75 fans on Facebook and I think I was related to 69 of them.”

Since signing with Digital Single (DigSin) records, the band has released two albums, two EPs and multiple singles (including their newest single “You to Believe In”) and has been on tour with bands like Before You Exit, Action Item, All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids, The Ready Set, The Cab and The Summer Set.

In February 2014 Paradise Fears set out on their first headlining tour across the United States and Canada.

“I live in the living room of a vehicle with nine other dudes who I love and cherish and get along with and share the world with,” Sam said. “When I look back on this in 30 years, in 50 years, and say ‘What was touring about?’ I think that’s the thing that I’m going to remember the most.”

Sam always wanted to get “WAYWF” (what are you waiting for) tattooed on his arm, but could never build up the courage to go get it done. But then the band had an idea for a music video for the song Sam wrote called “What Are You Waiting For.”

The band helped people do the things that they had always wanted to do. They went skydiving, surfing and rode a roller coaster with fans. The other band members even convinced Sam to get the tattoo in the video.

“I wanted to get this tattoo for a very long time,” he said. “When they found out I had been stalling on getting a tattoo for three years they were like, ‘You have to get it! You’re lying in the song if you don’t get this tattoo.’ So, I had to put my money where my arm was.”

Paradise Fears has even made an effort to give back to those who are less fortunate. They recorded a cover of the song “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes and donated all the money to the Children’s Miracle Network.

“It was incredible because we actually had the opportunity to go meet with the kids who were at Sanford Children’s Hospital (in South Dakota),” Sam said. “It was unbelievably cool experience.”

But everyday Paradise Fears strives to make a difference in the lives of the people who are most important to them — their fans.

“Our job as a band is to have a relationship with the people who are listening to our band,” Sam said. “And through that relationship we are trying to encourage those people to go find their own sources of happiness.”

Natalie Brophy studies journalism at SUNY Oswego and is a graduate of our program at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo.

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