Performing with Broken Social Scene at the Intonation Music Festival, 2005
|Born||December 3, 1973|
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, flute|
|Labels||Arts & Crafts Productions|
|Associated acts||Stars, Broken Social Scene, Metric, Halves|
Amy Millan (born December 3, 1973) is a Canadian indie rock singer and guitarist. She records and performs with the bands Stars and Broken Social Scene as well as having a successful solo career. Her second solo album, Masters of the Burial, was released by Arts & Crafts Productions in September 2009.
Amy Millan grew up in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood of Toronto. She attended high school at Jarvis Collegiate, and later the Etobicoke School of the Arts where she studied drama alongside future Broken Social Scene bandmates Kevin Drew and Emily Haines. Millan and Haines formed the band Edith’s Mission. Although short-lived, Edith’s Mission did play a sold out show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. After high school, Millan moved to Montreal for three years to attend Concordia University and gained experience as a solo performer by playing in coffee shops. Upon returning to Toronto, she formed the roots-rock band 16 Tons and wrote many of the songs that she would use to launch her solo career several years later. After the breakup of 16 Tons, Millan moved to Los Angeles. While living there, her song with 16 tons "Bury Me" was added to the soundtrack of the film Drowning Mona. However, Millan, missing a city where walking was encouraged over driving, returned to Toronto.
Stars was formed by Torquil Campbell and Chris Seligman in New York City. The line-up subsequently grew to incorporate Evan Cranley, with whom Millan had played gigs while a member of 16 Tons. Feeling that Millan would be a good fit for the group, Cranley invited her to New York City to audition in December 1999. After receiving assurances that she would be actively involved in the songwriting process, Millan agreed to join the band. As much of their debut album had been recorded prior to her joining, Millan’s involvement in 2001's Nightsongs was limited, although she did sing lead vocals on "Toxic Holiday". Desiring to return to Canada, but not wanting to move to Toronto, the band relocated to Montreal. Drummer Pat McGee was recruited as their fifth member prior to the release of their second album, Heart, in 2003. Millan's influence was more evident on this album, and a number of the tracks were performed as duets between her and Torquil Campbell, establishing a style for which the band would become well known. Stars' commercial breakthrough came with their 2004 album Set Yourself on Fire and the accompanying single "Ageless Beauty", which featured a lead vocal by Millan. Their fourth album, In Our Bedroom After the War, was released in 2007 and was followed by the EP Sad Robots the following year. In June 2010, they released their fifth full-length album, The Five Ghosts.
Broken Social Scene
Although she did not officially contribute to Broken Social Scene's first two albums, due to scheduling conflicts for BSS members Emily Haines and Leslie Feist, she was asked by former classmate Kevin Drew to "be the girl" and sing with the band for the release concert of the band's second album, You Forgot It in People. From 2002 onward, Millan has often performed in BSS alongside fellow Stars members Evan Cranley, Chris Seligman and Torquil Campbell. She appeared on their 2005 self-titled album and also contributed vocals and writing to Kevin Drew's 2007 solo album Spirit If... as well as to Brendan Canning's 2008 solo album Something For All of Us. As in Stars, Amy usually sings with BSS but also plays guitar and percussion during live shows.
Honey from the Tombs
Amy Millan released her debut solo album, Honey from the Tombs, in 2006. It consisted of songs largely written before 2000, from when Millan was a member of 16 Tons. The album title was inspired by a Tom Waits interview where he compared the release of older songs to the discovery of sweet honey buried in Egyptian tombs. The album was produced by Ian Blurton and musical contributors included Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Dan and Jenny Whiteley from Crazy Strings.
In contrast to her work with Stars, Millan’s solo work is strongly influenced by country and folk music. Thematically, many of the songs deal with loss and loneliness, and taking solace in alcohol is sung about numerous times. Millan's upbringing in Toronto provided the inspiration for the song "Wayward and Parliament", which is based on her time working in the coffee shop "Jet Fuel" on Parliament Street.
Two videos were shot to promote Honey from the Tombs: "Skinny Boy" was directed by George Vale, and "Baby I" was directed by Anthony Seck. The songs "Losin' You" and "Baby I", were released as 7" singles in Europe. Millan also toured extensively to support the album, playing dates in North America, Japan and Europe.
Masters of the Burial
Millan released her second album, Masters of the Burial, on September 8, 2009. The album is produced by Martin Kinack and musicians appearing include Evan Cranley, Dan and Jenny Whiteley, Leslie Feist and Liam O’Neil. The album features several cover songs, including some written by Death Cab for Cutie and Sarah Harmer.
|Honey from the Tombs||Arts & Crafts/City Slang Records||2006|
|Masters of the Burial||Arts & Crafts||2009|
|KCRW.com Presents Morning Becomes Eclectic||Arts & Crafts||2007|
|Losin’ You||"We All Lose One Another" by Jason Collett||Arts & Crafts||7"||2006|
|Baby I||"Murder Train Song"||Arts & Crafts||7"||2006|
|Drowning Mona Soundtrack||2000||"Bury Me"||Performed with Grindig; the song appeared in the movie, but was not included on the soundtrack album|
|XM: Live at the Verge||2006||"Skinny Boy (Live)"|
|CBC Radio 3 Sessions, Volume III||2007||"Skinny Boy (Live)"|
|Mamma Yamma and Friends||2008||"Broccoli Song"||Rewritten version of "He Brings Out the Whiskey in Me" performed on children's television|
|A Good Day Sailing||Memphis||2002||"The Phone Call"|
|Folkloric Feel||Apostle of Hustle||2004||"Baby You're in Luck"|
|Live at Radio Aligres in Paris||Broken Social Scene||2004||"Almost Crimes", "Baby You’re in Luck", "Starts with a Big Finish", "Cause=Time", "Bruised Ghosts", "Let’s Get Out of Here"|
|Broken Social Scene||Broken Social Scene||2005||"Ibi Dreams of Pavement", "Major Label Debut", "Hotel", "Bandwitch"|
|Idols of Exile||Jason Collett||2005||"Fire", "Parry Sound", "I'll Bring the Sun", "These Are the Days"|
|Alone, Not Alone||Montag||2005||"Perfect Vision", "Angles, Country & Gerrain Connu"|
|Going Places||Montag||2007||"Mechanical Kids", "Safe in Sound"|
|Spirit If...||Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew||2007||"Broke Me Up", "Aging Faces/Losing Places", "When It Begins"|
|Everything I've Forgotten to Forget||Amos the Transparent||2007||"After All That, It's Come to This"|
|The Priddle Concern||The Priddle Concern||2008||"Back Around"|
|Something for All of Us||Broken Social Scene Presents: Brendan Canning||2008||"Been At It So Long"|
|A New Tide||Gomez||2009||"Win Park Slope"|
|It Goes, It Goes||Halves||2010||"Growing and Glow"|
|Forgiveness Rock Record||Broken Social Scene||2010||"Chase Scene", "Sentimental X’s"|
For Amy Millan's work with Stars, see Stars discography.
- "Opening up the Tombs". ottawaxpress.ca. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "Stars: Trial By Fire". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "Novel New Act: Montreal Writer Ibi Kaslik Gives The Skinny". nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- Berman, Stuart. This Book is Broken. 2009.
- "Amy Millan A little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, Stars siren's solo flight soars with help from friends in high places". nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Berman, Stuart. This Book is Broken. 2009
- "Amy Millan A little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, Stars siren's solo flight soars with help from friends in high places". nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "When melancholy machines make music". mcgilltribune.com. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- "Chasing Amy". nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- "An Interview With Amy Millan". muchmusic.com. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- Ash, Amanda. "Amy Millan Needs To Be Alone ", Exclaim!,September 2009.
- Amy Millan on Twitter , March 22, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2011.