Having been writing songs from her pre-teen years, Alannah Myles formed her own band to play gigs in the area around her hometown. Despite being committed to pursuing a career in music she found herself trying her hand at modelling, acting and taking roles in TV commercials in order to finance studio time in which to record her songs. In 1987 frustrated by constant knockbacks from Canadian record companies she along with songwriter Christopher Ward and producer David Tyson sent a three track demo containing the Tyson/Ward composition 'Just One Kiss' and their own self-financed promotional video of the song to various companies in the USA. An immediate positive response from Atlantic Records found the label signing Myles to an impressive eight-album deal and with her two collaborators on board she recorded her self-titled debut, which was released early in 1989. Although the album's first single 'Love Is' entered the US Top 40 it was the smoky slow-building blues groove of 'Black Velvet', (Ward's lyrical homage to Elvis Presley), which when released towards the end of the year catapulted her to fame and became a huge international hit topping the American charts and reaching No 2 in both Canada and the UK. Accompanied by a popular video that introduced the photogenic Myles to audiences around the world, the single's success was unprecedented winning a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Performance and a Juno Award for Single Of The Year while the album sold in excess of one million copies in both Canada and the USA receiving Diamond and Platinum certifications respectively and becoming the best selling debut in Canadian music history (a feat yet to be bettered.) With global sales in excess of five million copies both Myles and the record enjoyed more Juno success with awards for Album Of The Year, Most Promising Female Vocalist, Best Composer and Best Recording Engineer. Despite the huge success of the subsequent hits; 'Still Got This Thing' and 'Lover Of Mine' being confined to Canada alone, they confirmed her stardom in her homeland and further established her in the USA.
Myles released her second album Rockinghorse in 1992 and while once again produced by Tyson with Ward writing most of the songs including six with Tyson, Myles co-wrote two tracks including the Canadian chart topper 'Song Instead Of A Kiss'. As would prove to be the case with subsequent records the album enjoyed massive domestic success, only modest sales in continental Europe but almost nothing in the lucrative markets of the UK and the USA and successive tracks lifted from the album; 'Tumbleweed', 'Our World, Our Times', 'Living On A Memory' and 'Sonny Say You Will' all failed to travel beyond the Canadian border. While providing her with the Top 10 hit single 'Family Secret' 1995's A-lan-nah failed to crack even the previously exceptionally loyal Canadian charts and soon after the disappointing public reaction to the single 'Blow Wind Blow' she parted company with Atlantic Records. Things went from bad to worse when even her credible contributions to movie soundtracks; 'You Love Who You Love' from the Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary movie Two If By Sea and 'What Are We Waiting For' a duet with Zucchero from Prince Valiant proved unsuccessful.
Signing to her then manager Miles Copeland's Ark 21 Records (established with his brother, former Police drummer Stewart Copeland) Myles released 1997's altogether better received Arrival which with neither Christopher Ward or David Tyson anywhere to be seen, it found the singer co-writing all but one track on the record. While it only grazed the Top 40 in her homeland it garnered generally positive reviews from the critics and supplied the minor hit 'Bad 4 You' which was written by Myles in collaboration with established songwriters Desmond Child and Eric Bazilian. Largely disappearing from the public eye, Myles only reappeared in 2008 following an eleven year absence with Black Velvet an album released on the independent Linus Entertainment/True North Records that took its title from the inclusion of a radical and contemporary reworking of the song that had first brought her fame and fortune. Ironically the new recording was released three years after the original version had been confirmed as the recipient of a Millionaire Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for an impressive four million plays on radio. Because she had financed and co-written most of the album herself she was keen to make it a success but unfortunately it proved to be yet another missed opportunity. Although Alannah Myles has found it difficult to follow up the phenomenal success of her debut there's little doubt that her talent is equally matched by her drive and determination and she remains as committed to her music and career as she was when she first started recording demos.
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