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Amy Millan Biography

Amy Millan Biography

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. Her debut solo album, Honey from the Tombs, was released by Arts & Crafts Records in 2006. 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 formed the short-lived band Edith’s Mission with Emily Haines and Ibi Kaslik. After high school, Millan moved to Montreal for three years where she began songwriting and played some small shows 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, she contributed the song "Bury Me" to the soundtrack of the film Drowning Mona. However, living in Los Angeles did not work out, and Millan 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 to audition. 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 written and recorded prior to her joining, Millan’s involvement in 2001’s Nightsongs was limited, although she did sing lead vocals on "Toxic Holiday". Following a relocation to Montreal and recruitment of drummer Pat McGee as their fifth member, Stars released their sophomore 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. 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. On her MySpace page, Millan confirmed plans to record a second album in 2008. Musicians involved in the project will include Christine Bougie, Darcy Yates, Mike O'Brien, Doug Tielli, Robbie Drake and Dan Whiteley. From 2002, Millan has often performed live with Broken Social Scene and appeared on their 2005 self-titled album. She also contributed vocals to a track on the debut EP of Memphis, a project involving her Stars bandmate Torquil Campbell. In addition, Millan has contributed to recordings by Jason Collett, Montag, Apostle of Hustle, Amos the Transparent and The Priddle Concern.

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