Rounding out another musically-solid summer season, singer Tracy Millar is set to perform at Entertainment in the Park on Aug. 26th.
Millar has long had a passion for music. “I’m an Alberta girl – I grew up in the Peace River country with a farming background,” she explained during a recent chat.
“I didn’t grow up in a musical home in that neither my mom or dad were musical – but they loved music. I also started singing when I was three or four years old. Mom and dad recognized the fire in me and always supported it. They bought me my first guitar when I was six years old, and I taught myself to play when I was nine,” she said. “And I’ve been playing ever since!
“I also grew up listening to traditional country music,” she added with a laugh. “It was kind of my routine on a Saturday – I had my chores to do in the house and the first thing I would do is go to the living room and put on a record,” she recalled. “I also grew up listening to Merle Haggard, Charley Pride and Tammy Wynette – the kings and queens of country music. And then I got into the 80s and 90s country, too. But my folks always had the music on.
“I also think that country music is so multi-faceted right now. It changes,” she said, adding that she’s often been told her music is ‘too country’ for country radio. “But I think that is what has really defined me as an artist is sticking to those classic roots but also going with the times – making a traditional-type song with a modern day sound. It’s about trying to tie the two together, because that’s the type of artist I am,” she said.
“I want people to say when they hear me, ‘Oh, she’s country’ and to never have a doubt about that. There’s no pop crossover – to me, I’m just country!”
In her younger years, she did recognize the challenges in pursuing a career in music so she became a registered nurse as well.
But music was certainly never in the background.
In 2002, she was a showcase artist for the Canadian Country Music Association and that’s also the year she refers to as her breakout year in the industry, too. “I’ve been fortunate to have had a good musical career in Alberta, and I’ve loved being an Alberta artist, too,” she said, adding she’s performed on the Big Valley Jamboree mainstage several times over the years.
”That’s a big feather in my hat because I live in the area, so for years I went to Big Valley as one of the people in the crowd admiring all of the artists. So it’s been pretty surreal being on the mainstage as an artist,” she said. One year, she was also part of an Ian Tyson tribute performance called The Gift on the mainstage as well.
And not only have singles like Talk, Talk, Talk and Spread A Little Love Around worked their way up the charts at home, they’ve given her a great entry way into reaching audiences at radio in continental Europe, England, Ireland, Scandinavia and Australia.
Past recordings include her 2004 release You Go Girl and 2008’s I’m Not That Girl Anymore.
Last fall she released a wonderfully poignant Christmas single simply entitled Him along with a new collection this year as well. She has also found the studio experience to be incredibly formative in her journey as an artist.
“I feel that working in the studio has made me a way better vocalist,” she explains reflectively. “I worked with producers who just wanted me to be the best singer that I could be and bring the most to the table,” she said. “Who you are working with makes a big difference too.”
For Millar, there really couldn’t be a more fitting path to follow.
“One of the things I strive for is to make every show feel like it is in an intimate setting,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether I am playing a backyard barbeque or on stage at the Big Valley Jamboree, I believe you can make that personal connection with an audience.”