Alannah Myles, (born December 25, 1958 in Toronto, Ontario), is a Canadian singer-songwriter. She is the daughter of Canadian broadcast pioneer William Douglas Byles (1914-1988), who was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame in 1997. When she decided to pursue a career in entertainment at the age of 19 she changed her last name to Myles. After more than a decade of modelling and acting in TV commercials to pay for music demos, she weathered countless rejections in her home country of Canada before recording masters for three songs which included "Who Loves You" accompanied by a video of "Just One Kiss" directed by photographer Deborah Samuel and matched financing from songwriting collaborator and Much Music (City TV), DJ and program director,Christopher Ward and FACTOR. They were no longer an item prior to their search for major label support, signing her first record contract with Atlantic Records in 1987.
In the early fall of 1987, Warner Music Canada's director of A&R Bob Roper sent the three song video package to all the U.S. affiliates under the Warner Music Group and, sight unseen, was offered a coveted seven-year contract (with an option for eight) from one of America's oldest and wealthiest rock and R&B labels, Atlantic Record's (WMG) by head of A&R, Tunc Erim and Atlantic label founder, Ahmet Ertegun opting out of a lucrative acting career by co-writing and recording the remainder of her first album with collaborator Christopher Ward and producer David Tyson. In 1989, she released her self titled debut album touring internationally for eighteen months. Her first album was awarded the Diamond Award for sales of over one million units. She is the only Canadian debut artist to attain that title. Her first album was reported to have sold upwards of six million internationally and it remains a classic selling album to date.
Her first record, Alannah Myles, was met with top ten hits in several countries around the world beginning with "Love Is", "Still Got This Thing for You" and her only number one 1990 hit in Canada, "Lover of Mine". Her entire repertoire, spanning sixty multi-faceted recordings, have not outshone the popularity of her fourth American 1990 single, "Black Velvet." It remained at number one for two weeks (with a bullet) on the U.S. Billboard Top 40 Chart and became a worldwide hit. It also won the 1990Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance Female.
In 1992, Myles was nominated for a second Grammy award for "Best Rock Vocal Performance Female" for the title track,"Rockinghorse" which was on the flip side of her first single, "Song Instead of a Kiss" from her second CD "Rockinghorse". "Song Instead Of A Kiss" was a sixty piece orchestrated ballad that went to number one on several radio stations around the globe that was met with little response in America who may have grown accustomed to the slow, southern style of Black Velvet.
- 2 Discography
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Alannah began writing songs around the age of nine. She performed in a songwriting group for the Kiwanis Music Festival in Toronto at 12 years of age and by the time she was a teenager, began performing solo gigs in Southern Ontario, eventually meeting Christopher Ward, a WMG recording artist and songwriter who helped her to form her own band where she performed cover versions of rock and blues based bands while grooming her own material. By the time she was in her mid-twenties she and Ward began collaborating with David Tyson to produce her self-titled, debut album, "Alannah Myles." She appeared in a 1984 episode of the television series "The Kids of Degrassi Street," in which she played the role of an aspiring singer and single mother. She was featured in several other TV and film productions as a guest host and actor prior to, and after her success as a recording artist.
In May 1989, Warner Music in Canada released Alannah Myles. It produced four Top 40 selections, including "Love Is", "Lover of Mine", and "Still Got This Thing", and the number-one hit "Black Velvet". In early 1990 Atlantic Records released "Black Velvet" in the U.S., making her first album ineligible for possible Grammy nominations. For Myles, "Black Velvet" became a number one hit worldwide and was named the most played song on radio for 1989 & 1990. By 2000 it had received the ASCAP Millionaire Award for having received over five million airplays at radio. "Black Velvet" won Myles a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Performance in 1991, and three Juno Awards.
The year 1992 brought the follow-up album, Rockinghorse, which included the hit singles "Song Instead Of A Kiss," which was written and composed by Myles, Nancy Simmonds and Canadian poet Robert Priest,"Our World, Our Times", and "Sonny, Say You Will." She received a Grammy nomination for Rockinghorse and several global awards, including a Juno and Much Music's people's choice award for "Our World, Our Times."
The year 1995 produced Myles's final album on Atlantic Records before being released from the label, granting Warner/Atlantic a Best Of CD after only 3 records. The A-lan-nah album, which contained no Top 40 singles, included two tracks which made it into the Top 100: "Family Secret" and "Blow Wind, Blow."
In 1997, she managed to terminate her eight-record contract with Atlantic Records with the help of her then-manager, Miles Copeland III, who immediately signed her to his Ark 21 Records. There she released A Rival,which had the Top 40 hit "Bad 4 You," written and recorded by Myles, Desmond Child and Eric Bazilian at Copeland's castle songwriting retreat at Grand Brassac, France.
In February 2005, together with the Swedish band Kee Marcello's K2, she participated in the third semi-final of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Their selection, "We Got It All," scored very few points and finished seventh out of eight songs, yet it managed to dominate the leading newspaper and media headlines in Sweden.
In April 2009, she released her 5th studio album Black Velvet, which featured a new recording of her song of the same name in addition to ten new studio recordings. She discussed the subject of financing and co-producing her own album in May 2008 in an interview with Evan Solomon on the TV program CBC News: Sunday Night.
In the spring of 2009, Myles released the CD Black Velvet on Linus Entertainment, which resulted in a staggered release internationally while her indie label merged with Canada's True North Records to release the album in America in the spring of 2010. This was followed by a video for the song "Trouble" that features a jug band performance. "Trouble" was awarded an 'Honourable Mention' as a finalist in the blues category at the 2009 International Songwriting Contest. Myles won the 15th annual USA Songwriting Competition for both best rock/alternative song as well as grand prize finalist for a selection, written and composed jointly with Nancy Simmonds for her "Black Velvet" CD, titled "Give Me Love."
After terminating her 5 year lease with Canadian indie label Linus Entertainment in August 2013 Myles will retitle and repackage the CD with stunning new photographs by renowned Canadian photographer/director Deborah Samuel for release of her first independently owned CD. Alannah intends to record a vintage blues CD featuring a collection of collaborations written during the last eight years of "Songwriting Mondays".
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|1999||Alannah Myles: The Very Best Of
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|CAN||CAN AC||US||US Main||US AC||UK||NL||AUS|
|1989||"Love Is"||16||—||36||19||—||61||25||12||Alannah Myles|
|1990||"Still Got This Thing"||28||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Lover of Mine"||2||1||—||—||—||78||61||47|
|1992||"Song Instead of a Kiss"||1||1||—||—||—||89||35||—||Rockinghorse|
|1993||"Our World, Our Times"||27||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Living on a Memory"||31||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Sonny Say You Will"||23||15||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1996||"Blow Wind Blow"||64||11||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"You Love Who You Love"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Two If By Sea(soundtrack)|
|1997||"Bad 4 You"||45||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Arival|
|"What Are We Waiting For? (with Zucchero)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Prince Valiant(soundtrack)|
|2000||"Like Flames"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album song|
|2008||"Comment Ca Va"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Black Velvet|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|