IN Review: I Survived by Darnell Miller & Angela Sheik

Darnell Miller and Angela Sheik

As I connect the audio jack into my stereo and plug the other end into my cell phone, I open my Spotify app and search for a song titled: “I Survived.” Across my screen the song artwork is a scene depicting a threatening sky and troubled waters, the song title, displayed in big bold letters hovering over the sea, seems to foreshadow the journey to come. I hit play, and a tinkling piano evokes  a feeling of childlike vulnerability.

Darnell starts in a tale of  broken spirit and the search for redemption begins to unfold,  Angela Sheik’s voice joins like a celestial presence coming to provide comfort. Their voices journey up the walls and into the high ceilings of my townhome in Midtown Brandywine. The bridge sends you through the eye of the quickly approaching tempest. Angela’s voice builds around you, whisking you up like strong winds, and strings crash like waves against you while their voices journey through the eye of the storm. As the words descend together, you feel the angry waters calming and the sun peeking from behind the gray, bringing rays of hope.

Everyone loves a collaboration between musicians. It’s no wonder these two Wilmingtonbased award winning artists are creating a buzz among their peers. Darnell Miller is a writer and musician with a booming voice and Southern influence. To watch him live is to witness the soul of a city rejoice and cry out through one man and his guitar. Angela Sheik is notable for creating playful, electronic-infused folk. She’s a one-woman band, looping sounds that she tracks in front of your very eyes and playfully sings over. To call her a multi-instrumentalist would be to downplay her ability to make music not only with her piano and flute, but also mundane items like coffee cups and pencil sharpeners. In this track, both leave the comfort of their usual stylings to address the universal feeling of hurt and the search for redemption. 

The track has a larger-than-life feel with its heavy production and synth piano, all without forfeiting the soul or character you sometimes lose with commercial sounds. It evokes an all too familiar feeling of hurt and healing. This piece is like witnessing two souls in a faraway land leaning on each other through a dark time. Relating with their harmonies, they remind each other that they’ve been in this hard time and know that every storm comes to an end. It sounds like the soundtrack to a coming-of-age film, and I find myself hitting play on my phone again, excited to know that peace is always on the other side.