A&E » Arts

Local chanteuse on top of the world

Ali Milner one of three chosen to represent Canada at a cultural festival in China



By Nicole Fitzgerald

Who: Ali Milner

When: Every Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Lounge

Admission: Free

Whistler recording artist Ali Milner, one of three artists representing Canada, will perform live to a crowd of 60,000 people and a televised audience of 90 million viewers worldwide, at the 2006 Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival later this month in China.

“It’s going to be awesome,” says the Whistler Secondary School student from her home in Nordic Estates. “I am really nervous.”

The festival is only one of many recent feats for the 16-year-old EMI/Venus recording artist. In three months alone, the jetsetter has wracked up both exposure and frequent flyer miles.

Milner released her debut self-titled album this fall. She is currently negotiating a three-record deal with EMI. She plans to begin recording her second album in January of next year. She recently returned from performing at the Toronto Film Festival after-party circuit, where she rubbed shoulders with red carpet royalty such as Penelope Cruz and Billy Connolly.

Locally, Four Seasons Resort General Manager Scott Taber has hired Milner to perform every Thursday night at the Fifty Two 80 Bistro. Originally slated for one month, Milner’s popular Thursday night shows, which rarely see an empty seat in the lounge, will now carry on into the holiday season.

All tolled, the sweet 16 is living out a fulltime career while also keeping up her studies and time with her friends.

“She keeps getting better, she enjoys it and I think that is the key; no one is pushing her or forcing her,” said Ted Milner, Ali’s dad. “If (the singing) doesn’t work out, she is continuing school, and if she ends up playing at the University of B.C., that is fine. This is not a go for gold or nothing sort of thing.”

With her family and community standing behind her, along with one of the world’s largest recording labels and management from Zack Warner, Ted Milner is confident in Ali’s ability to handle whatever the music industry throws at her.

“She is very focused, very smart; she’s a hammer,” he said.

He recalls a sign on the wall of the Vancouver promotional firm Ali will work with to officially launch her new album in the New Year.

“The music business is one long plastic hallway filled with thieves and prostitutes BLNKA BLNAK ,” Ted recalls, laughing. “As long as we stick together, with good solid management, I think we will be fine.”

Milner has been busy from the get go, after trying out for the local choir at nine years old. She then progressed to singing with the Vancouver Youth Choir, then switched from classical piano teachings to jazz. She studies every week with Juno-nominated Joani Taylor in performance and Canada’s leading jazz pianist, Bob Murphy, in piano. By 13 years old, the Whistler youth was performing for numerous events and charities, including the 2010 Cultural Cabaret, where she was discovered.

An audience member raved about Ali’s performance and insisted she meet one of her friends, Zack Werner — most famously known as the cranky Canadian Idol Judge, but also the owner of Venus records.

The sky’s the limit for the Whistler talent, although Ali isn’t sure what to make of her newfound success. She explains she is just working hard and doing what she loves.

“I am just doing what I have to do and doing what I love and sticking to my guns and playing music.”

Pick up Milner’s album at any A&B music store across Canada or visit shopemi.com. Milner performs every Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Lounge.