Ali Milner is a familiar face on the local music scene. The
fiery-haired songstress has long been a long-time fixture on stages around
town, but since graduating from Whistler Secondary School last year she’s been
splitting her time between Whistler and Vancouver while trying to get a
full-time music career off the ground.
Between playing a wide range of corporate gigs, Milner was
also able to take part in a prestigious five-week summer program at Boston’s
Berklee College of Music to strengthen her keyboarding skills.
“It gave me a lot of the tools to become better, and I got a
way better mindset in terms of playing,” Milner said.
She’s also busy writing new material with a distinct
pop-jazz sound and feel.
“They’re very me,” Milner enthused. “Finally, I’m just
writing these songs that feel so right and I’m so comfortable with them and I’m
so happy with them. I’m really excited to record them.”
Milner recently received the Emerging Artist grant from the
Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), which will help
finance the recording of her next album.
“It finally felt like maybe I was a legitimate artist and
people really wanted to help me,” Milner said with a laugh.
She hopes to head back into the studio soon to record her
second full-length album. It’s been almost four years since she released her
debut album, which featured six original songs on the 10-track CD.
“I’ve grown from the pure jazz thing, and I wanted to find
my own niche and sound,” she explained, adding that she is collaborating on new
material with friend and colleague Don MacLeod.
Most recently, Milner was selected as one of five musical
talents to perform at the first annual Canadian Music Showcase, being held in
concert with the 8
annual Whistler Film Festival.
“It’s just a chance to expose Canadian talent to music
supervisors for television and film,” she explained, “It’s an incredible
Tyl van Toorn is the producer of Transmission, a four-day
internationally renowned musical showcase that takes place in Vancouver on the
same dates as the Whistler Film Festival.
Organizers of Transmission and WFF decided to team up and
host a collaborative event in Whistler this year when they realized their dates
“We are really excited about teaming up with Transmission,”
Shauna Mishaw Hardy, Whistler Film Festival Director, said in a recent press
release, “It’s a very holistic approach to connect film, music and the future
of content with our existing industry programs. We anticipate a very
compelling, innovative and positive outcome for both initiatives for
filmmakers, artists and executives alike.”
Van Toorn explained that the purpose of the event is to find
common ground and open up lines of communication between film and music
professionals, who are facing a lot of the same challenges in the face of
rapidly changing technology and culture.
“It was a realization that these two industries had
something to gain from each other, so we decided to essentially bring these two
programs together in Whistler to discuss where the future of content was
going,” he explained.
Now, they plan to hold a keynote speakers’ event on
Saturday, Dec. 6 which will be moderated by Paul Hoffert, CEO of Noank Media,
and features an impressive roster of guests, including Brad Pelman, co-founder
and co-president of Maple Pictures Corp.; Seymour Stein, co-founder of Sire
Records; Simon Wheeler, head of Beggars Group; Matthew Daniel, VP of R2G; and
Brett Gaylor, head of new media and director for EyeSteelFilm.
The speakers’ event is also preceded by an afternoon musical
showcase that features Milner, Vince Vaccaro, Courtney Wing, Final Flash, and
one unnamed act at Moe Joe’s on Saturday afternoon.
This isn’t Milner’s first time playing a film-industry event
– she participated in the Canadian Music Café during the Toronto Film
She’ll be playing four or five original compositions during
a 20-minute set, where she hopes someone in attendance may like what they hear.
“They’re keeping an ear out for music that could fit in film
and television, so I’m just playing songs I have with strong lyrical content
that are relatable,” she explained.
Milner points out that in today’s industry it can be
incredibly difficult to get a musical career off the ground.
“There are 10,000 people lining up to take your spot, all
the time, so events like this are just so incredible and really expose talent
that Canada has to offer.”