Alannah Myles

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Alannah Myles
Alannah Myles(2).jpg
Background information
Birth nameAlannah Byles
Born (1958-12-25) December 25, 1958 (age 63)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active1977–present

Alannah Myles (née Byles; born December 25, 1958)[1][2] is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has won both a Grammy and a Juno Award for the song "Black Velvet". The song was a top-ten hit in Canada; it was also a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1990.

Early life[edit]

Myles was born Alannah Byles on Christmas Day 1958 in Toronto, Ontario. She is the daughter of William Douglas Byles, who was a pioneer in the Canadian broadcasting industry and was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame in 1997. She is the second of five children.[3] Raised by her parents in Ontario, Myles spent her childhood composing and learning music. Myles began writing songs around age 9, and performed in a songwriting group for the Kiwanis Music Festival in Toronto at age 12.


At the age of 18, she began performing solo gigs in southern Ontario, eventually meeting Christopher Ward, a recording artist and songwriter with Warner Music Group.[4] With Ward's help, she formed her own band and performed cover versions of rock and blues songs, while polishing her own material.

Myles changed her surname from Byles at the age of 19, after deciding to pursue a career in entertainment. Appearances in TV commercials paid for music demos that led to numerous rejections in Canada, until she recorded masters for three songs; "Who Loves You" and a video demo for "Just One Kiss", directed by photographer Deborah Samuel.[4] With matched financing from her songwriting collaborator, MuchMusic (City TV) and program director Christopher Ward, she signed her first record contract with Atlantic Records in 1987.[4]

Myles was featured in several TV and film productions as a guest host and actor prior to becoming a recording artist. 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.[5] In 1989 she appeared in an episode of War of the Worlds, which aired only three weeks after the release of her eponymous debut album.

Myles was a candidate to be the original host of FashionTelevision, as shared by Jeanne Beker on the Reinvention of the VJ podcast, hosted by Erica Ehm. Beker suggested that Ward was lobbying for Myles to get the role on the new TV program. Beker would eventually become the program's first host.[6]

In late 1987, Warner Music Canada's director of artists and repertoire (A&R), Bob Roper, sent Myles's three-song video package to all of Warner Music Group's US affiliates, which garnered a contract for seven or eight years from Atlantic Records (WMG), given by head of A&R Tunc Erim and Atlantic label founder Ahmet Ertegun. Myles left her acting career, co-wrote and recorded the remainder of her first album with Christopher Ward and producer David Tyson. In 1989, Atlantic Records released her eponymous debut album, and Myles toured internationally for 18 months.[4] 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 award. Her first album was reported to have sold more than six million copies internationally.

In May 1989, Warner Music in Canada released Alannah Myles,[7] which produced four Top 40 hits, including "Love Is", "Lover Of Mine", "Still Got This Thing" and her number-one classic rock hit, "Black Velvet".[8] Atlantic Records' 1989 debut album release was ineligible for Grammy nominations until the early 1990 US single release "Black Velvet" became a number-one hit, claiming ASCAP's most played song on radio for 1989 and 1990. By 2005, it had received ASCAP Millionaire Award for over four million radio airplays.[9] "Black Velvet" won Myles the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Performance in 1991 and three Juno Awards.[10]

In 1992, Myles was nominated for a second Grammy award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance her second CD Rockinghorse.[4] "Song Instead Of a Kiss", written and composed by Myles, Nancy Simmonds, and Canadian poet Robert Priest,[11] was a 60-piece orchestrated ballad that reached number one on several radio stations around the globe but was met with little response in America, whose audiences were accustomed to "that slow southern style" of "Black Velvet".[citation needed] The album, released that year, included the other hit singles "Our World, Our Times", and "Sonny, Say You Will". Myles 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".[citation needed]

In 1991, Myles sang "O Canada" at a Major League Baseball game at Skydome in Toronto. It was broadcast on CBS Sports.

In 1995, Myles released her final album on Atlantic Records before being released from the label, granting Warner/Atlantic a Best Of CD after only three records. The A-lan-nah album,[4] which contained no Top 40 singles, included two tracks which made it into the Top 100, namely "Family Secret" and "Blow Wind, Blow".

In 1997, she terminated her eight-record contract with Atlantic Records with the help of her then-manager Miles Copeland III, who immediately signed her to his own Ark 21 Records. On Ark 21, she released A Rival,[4] which contained 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. The A Rival album agreement with Miles Copeland III, Ark 21 Records was successfully terminated in 2014 with 100% copyright reversions returned to Alannah Myles by 2015 and re-released on Myles's independently owned label, Fascinate inc.[citation needed]

After the release of A Rival, Myles released two Best Of compilations, in 1998 and 2001, and both featuring two new songs, and then left Ark 21 Records. She maintained a low profile for almost a decade but gigged around Canada and Europe during this time. In 2001, Myles duetted with Saga frontman Michael Sadler on a cover of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush's "Don't Give Up", released as a B-side to the Saga single "Money Talks". In 2004, she released a cover of "I Can't Stand the Rain", with Jeff Healey on guitar, for a Tina Turner tribute album What's Love? A Tribute to Tina Turner.

In February 2005, together with the Swedish band Kee Marcello's K2, Myles 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.[12]

Myles's first new solo release in a decade was an Elvis Tribute EP, released on iTunes in August 2007, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death. The EP features a re-recording of her signature song "Black Velvet", as well as two new songs. All three of them were later included on her next album.

In April 2008, Myles released her fifth studio album, Black Velvet, which featured a new recording of her song of the same name, in addition to 10 new studio recordings.[13] Myles financed and co-produced the album.[14]

In early 2008, Myles released the CD Black Velvet on Linus Entertainment, which resulted in a staggered release internationally while the indie label merged with Canada's True North Records, followed by a video for the song "Trouble" featuring a jug band performance. "Trouble" was awarded an 'Honourable Mention' as a finalist in the blues category at the 2009 International Songwriting Contest.[15] 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".[16]

Myles's song "Black Velvet" was one of four selected to be covered on the CBC Television reality television show Cover Me Canada.[17]

After terminating a six-year lease with Canadian indie label Linus Entertainment in August 2013, Myles's Black Velvet album was retitled 85bpm, repackaged for her 25th anniversary with new images photographed by fellow Canadian Deborah Samuel. A newly recorded song written by Anne Peebles, produced by Michael Borkosky, "Can't Stand the Rain" was added to 85bpm, featuring a solo played by Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey, re-released on Myles's independently owned label, Fascinate inc., digitally distributed by, with audio CDs and a 25th anniversary live concert DVD, both distributed by in the US.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1989 Alannah Myles
  • Release date: March 28, 1989
  • Label: Atlantic
1 2 2 2 9 5 2 1 3 5
1992 Rockinghorse
  • Release date: October 13, 1992
  • Label: Atlantic
9 65 40 53 23 16
  • CAN: 2× Platinum[28]
1995 A-lan-nah
  • Release date: September 19, 1995
  • Label: Atlantic
47 40
1997 A Rival 40
2009 Black Velvet
2014 85 BPM
  • Release date: April 29, 2014
  • Label: Linus Entertainment/True North Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details
1999 The Very Best Of
  • Release date: April 6, 1999
  • Label: Ark 21/WMG Canada/Universal Music
2001 Myles & More: The Very Best Of
  • Release date: 2001
  • Label: Ark 21


Year Extended play details
2007 Elvis Tribute EP
  • Release date: August 14, 2007
  • Label: Linus Entertainment


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1989 "Love Is" 16 12 45 25 44 61 36 Alannah Myles
"Black Velvet" 10 3 2 3 2 1 1 2 1
1990 "Still Got This Thing" 28 64 26
"Lover of Mine" 2 1 47 61 40 78
1992 "Song Instead of a Kiss" 1 1 152 35 89 Rockinghorse
"Tumbleweed" 51
1993 "Our World, Our Times" 27
"Living on a Memory" 31
"Sonny Say You Will" 23 15
1994 "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)"
(with Nine Below Zero)
Hot Music for a Cold Night
1995 "Family Secret" 10 8 A-lan-nah
1996 "Blow Wind Blow" 64 11
"You Love Who You Love" Two If by Sea (soundtrack)
1997 "Bad 4 You" 45 A Rival
"What Are We Waiting For?" (with Zucchero) Prince Valiant (soundtrack)
1998 "Break the Silence" The Very Best Of
2000 "Like Flames" 98 Myles & More: The Very Best Of
2008 "Comment Ça Va" Black Velvet
2014 "Can't Stand the Rain" 85 BPM
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Artist Album details
1991 Peace Choir Give Peace A Chance
2001 Nikolo Kotzev Nostradamus
2001 Saga Money Talks
2006 Various Artists MTM Music - 10th Anniversary
  • Release date: 2006
  • Label: MTM Music GmbH
  • Tracks:
  • I Can't Stand the Rain (with Jeff Healey)
2008 Tiles Fly Paper
  • Release date: 2008
  • Label: Inside Out Music
  • Tracks:
  • Back & Forth (Background vocals)
2011 Kee Marcello Redux: Melon Demon Divine
  • Release date: 2011
  • Label: GPM Management
  • Tracks:
  • We Got It All (bonus track)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Work Category Result
1990 Juno Awards Alannah Myles Album of the Year Won
Herself Most Promising Female Vocalist Won
Best Composer Won
Best Producer Nominated
"Love Is" Single of the Year Nominated
"Black Velvet" Won
MTV VMA Best Female Video Nominated
Best New Artist Nominated
1991 Grammy Awards Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Won
Juno Awards Herself Canadian Entertainer of the Year Nominated
1993 Best Producer Nominated
"Song Instead of a Kiss" Single of the Year Nominated
Grammy Awards Rockinghorse Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Nominated
1994 Juno Awards Album of the Year Nominated
Herself Best Female Vocalist Nominated
1997 Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barry Grills (December 25, 1958). "Alannah Myles". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-28. b Toronto
  2. ^ "Alannah Myles music". 1958-12-25. Retrieved 2013-02-28. born December 25, 1958, Toronto, Ontario
  3. ^ Jennings, Nicholas. "Siren of hard rock | Maclean's | April 2, 1990". Maclean's | The Complete Archive. Retrieved 2022-02-16. Myles—who adopted her surname when she became a performer—is the second of five children born to broadcaster William Byles and his wife, Sheilagh.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 311/2. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  5. ^ degrassi tng (2017-05-22), the kids of degrassi street s01e11 catherine finds her balance 001, retrieved 2017-07-22
  6. ^ "Reinvention of the VJ - Episode 3". - Spring 2021,
  7. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums". RPM Magazine Volume 50, No. 24 October 14, 1989,
  8. ^ "Top Singles". RPM, - Volume 50, No. 23 Oct 02, 1989
  9. ^ About, at; published 2007; via
  10. ^ Crenna, Carol. "Meaning of Success: Canadian Singer Alannah Myles". Vista Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  11. ^ New, William H (2002). Encyclopedia of literature in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 902. ISBN 978-0-8020-0761-2. OCLC 47689945.
  12. ^ "Melodifestivalen 2005 – Deltävling 3 (Third Semi-Final)". Gylleneskor. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  13. ^ "Alannah Myles reclaims 'Black Velvet' with modern reworking". The Telegram. The Canadian Press. 2008-04-19. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  14. ^ Evan Solomon (2008-05-11). "Alannah Myles". CBC News: Sunday Night. CBC News. Archived from the original on July 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  15. ^ "Previous winners". International Songwriting Contest. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  16. ^ "2010 Results". USA Songwriting Competition. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  17. ^ "New CBC reality contest to focus on Canadian music". CBC News. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  18. ^ "Search Results – RPM – Alannah Myles Top Albums". RPM. Archived from the original on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  19. ^ a b Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
  20. ^ " > Alannah Myles in der Österreichischen Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  21. ^ German albums chart peaks:
  22. ^ a b " > Alannah Myles in Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  23. ^ a b " > Alannah Myles in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  24. ^ a b " > Alannah Myles in Swedish Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  25. ^ " > Suche nach: Alannah Myles (alben)" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  26. ^ a b UK chart peaks:
  27. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Alannah Myles > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  28. ^ a b "Canadian Recording Industry Association Search Results". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  29. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 198.
  30. ^ a b "British certifications – Alannah Myles". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 22, 2022. Type Alannah Myles in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  31. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – March 14, 2010: Alannah Myles certified albums". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  32. ^ German singles chart peaks:
  33. ^ " > Suche nach: Alannah Myles (songs)" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  34. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Alannah Myles > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  35. ^ "1990 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved 2019-04-10. N.B. The annual charts listed on this site do not contain all ARIA certifications awarded.
  36. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – July 24, 2010: Alannah Myles certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2010-07-24.

External links[edit]