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Tillis, Pam (24th July 1957-Present)

She is a singer-songwriter and actress born in Plant City, Florida, and growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, who is the daughter of the country singer Mel Tillis.

Having music around her from the time she was born she made her first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry when she was just 8 years old which was the same age she was when she began learning the piano.  By the age of 12 she was learning the guitar and took part in many talent contests.  Then things suddenly changed for her when she was just sixteen as she was involved in a horrific car accident which would entail many surgical reconstructions over a period of several years.

Determination showed through and as soon as she could she became a student at Bellmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, in the late 1970s.  At the same time she sang in a band and also a duo and eventually gave up the college life to pursue music and took a job in her father’s publishing company.

Her first ventures into a career in music came while she was in San Francisco performing with her band Freelight and then Nashville beckoned her back, where she became a demo singer.

Getting her name known, Warner Bros. signed her up in 1981, which would result in her only pop album release and nine singles over the course of rest of the 1980s.

Taking an interest in acting, 1989 saw her appearing as Mary Magdalene in the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar put on by the Tennessee Repertory.

Leaving Warner in 1987, in 1991 she concentrated on her songwriting and was taken onto the staff by Tree Publishing.  Also in 1991, with her new record company Arista Nashville,  she achieved a country chart hit with “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” which appeared on her Put Yourself in My Place, her gold status second album.  This was the beginning of her huge success on the charts with over 30 songs appearing in the country chart over the next 15 years or so, including her chart-topping “Mi Vide Loca (My Crazy Life)” and her No. 2 country chart hit “When You Walk in the Room”.

As a songwriter her songs have been recorded by many artists such as Gloria Gaynor, Chaka Khan, Juice Newto and Conway Twitty and include “Five Minutes” which was taken to No. 1 by Lonnie Morgan and “Those Memories Of You” which was a chart hit for Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt & Dolly Parton.

Her ventures into television have seen her appearing in the shows Diagnosis Murder and Promised Land and L.A. Law.

In 2000 she was made a Grand Ole Opry member and in 2001 appeared in the Leiber & Stoller tribute on Broadway as well as featuring in Broadway’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe.  Not long after this she left Arista and would would later form her own Stellar Cat Records in 2007.   She has since recorded several albums on this label.

Working with many artists she has been heard on recordings by acts such as Greg Douglass, Crystal Gayle, Nicky Hopkins, Daniel O’Donnell, Dolly Parton and Dan Seals among others.

Albums she has appeared on during the course of her career include 10 of her own such as Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey, Homeward Looking Angel, Sweetheart’s Dance, All of This Love, Thunder and Roses and Rhinestoned and also Last Mango in Paris by Jimmy Buffett, Big Town by Ashley Cleveland, Circle Back Home by Tom Kimmel, Circles & Arrows by Cheryl Wheeler and the soundtracks of 8 Seconds and Prince of Egypt to name just a chosen few.

Recognised for her achievements in music she was ranked No. 30 in the 40 Greatest Women of Country Music by CMT in 2002.  She has also won the CMA’s “Vocal Event of the Year” with George Jones & Friends in 1993 and “Female Vocalist of the Year” in 1994 as well as two Grammy nominations in 1997 and the Grammy Award for “Best Country Collaboration With Vocals” in 1999.