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Milner finding her voice

Whistler singer-songwriter debuts sophomore album at the Chan Centre’s The Live Sessions



What: The Live Sessions with Ali Milner

When: Thursday, Oct. 1, 5 p.m.

Where: Telus Studio Theatre, Vancouver

Cost: $15 for adults, $10 for students

Ali Milner is Whistler's official singing and songwriting sweetheart, and as soon as you meet her, it's easy to see why. But beyond the fresh-faced, friendly façade, one only has to listen to her lyrics and bubbly music for their introduction to the talented 19-year-old musician.

"A touch from the shoulder, a look in your eyes, a drink in your hand and a flirty smile. Quick to the words that make a clever conversation, you pull at the seat and you lean in close, say all the things that I want to hear most." - lyrics from Crystal Clear.

Milner released her self-titled first album at the age of 14. It contained six original songs, either written by Milner herself or co-written with other artists.

"I like to co-write because I'm the kind of person that likes to bounce ideas off of other people and I'm totally inspired by others," she explained.

As impressive as that first effort proved to be, Milner's sound has grown in leaps and bounds as the musician's voice has developed, both literally and figuratively. She's moved away from that pure, unadulterated jazz feel and developed her own distinct, poppy take on the traditional, with results that often see her compared with the likes of famous songstresses like Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles and Estelle. This new sound has been carefully captured on her second album, I Dare You , which will be released in just a few weeks.

"That'll be in my hands - the album - in two weeks," she said, smiling widely.

Since graduating from Whistler Secondary School two years ago, Milner has been hard at work, trying to get a full-time music career off the ground. She's spent the majority of this summer locked away in the studio in Vancouver, co-writing songs with Canadian music industry legends like Shaun Verreault, lead singer of Wide Mouth Mason, and Jim Valance, Bryan Adams' writing partner. She even had a hand in the design and artwork of the album, working hand-in-hand with a Vancouver-based designer to cultivate a modern yet vintage aesthetic that would match her new sound.

And while the work on I Dare You hasn't left a tonne of time for playing live gigs, the payoff was well worth the work, as the budding musician managed to produce a solid new product that she's extremely proud of.

"The first record was very jazz-oriented, it was with a trio I recorded with in Toronto. Now, I've sort of found my own feeling and stuff with my music and I'm just really in love with it," she said. "It's more jazz-pop with an old school soul, but a really modern twist."

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