Kate Dressed Up | via katedressedup.bandcamp.com

New Jersey singer-songwriter Kate Miller has been playing music as Kate Dressed Up since 2016, and is readying her first full-length album for release sometime next year. This Saturday, she performs at Asbury Park’s Gurlzilla mini-festival, a benefit for the LGBTQ advocacy group Garden State Equality, and as a lead-up to the gig, she appeared on this week’s episode of the 25 O’Clock Podcast.

In the conversation with host Dan Drago, Miller talks about growing up in the semi-rural suburbs of North Jersey and contrasting it with life in the city, and how the scene of young songwriters in her home town of Jefferson influenced her direction — particularly when she won a songwriting competition while in high school.

She enthuses about her favorite songwriters, like Bright Eyes and Sufjan Stevens, talks about exploring music at a deeper level in college (“Arranging a cappella music broke my brain on more than one occasion”), talks how her collaboration with London’s Ganda Boys came to be, and reflects on how to make your style distinctive in as universal as a genre as folk.

“I keep trying to shed as many layers as possible and get down the the core of myself,” Miller says. “I don’t know what that is, it’s something different every day, but aim for the truth of what you are, because whatever that is, you can be certain that it’s completely unique.”

The session closes with a performance of a new song “Fly Along,” which is based on her favorite book, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince; she says it is a recurring theme on her new album, which she plans to release sometime in 2019. She also performs “All The While Following Me” from Kate Dressed Up’s self-titled release.

Listen to the episode below, and get tickets and more information on the Gurlzilla festival here.