“She’s one of the most intuitive songwriters I’ve written with in a long time. Her voice has a certain quality about it that you just like her immediately. Her songwriting, on her own, strives for new territory – it’s not the same old clichés over and over – it’s actually very beautiful language. And get her on stage –rockin’ as we did today with “Eye of the Tiger” and she owns the stage.” ~ Jim Peterik-Grammy Award winning songwriter of “Eye of the Tiger”, Wrote 18 Top 10 Hits including “Hold on Loosely” and “The Search is Over.” Author of “Songwriting For Dummies”
Pamela McNeill - bio
At three years of age, Pamela McNeill starred as an angel in her church Christmas Eve pageant. When she saw the audience smiling back she declared that was what she wanted to do the rest of her life. That statement still rings true today. McNeill might not have known the power in her words that night, but she has lived her dream and toured the world wowing audiences with her powerful vocals. Career highlights include performing for the Queen of England, playing at Royal Albert Hall, performing at the Tokyo Dome with Japan's pop sensation TM Network for a crowd of over 50,000, opening for Etta James, and headlining at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
McNeill grew up between the Mississippi River and Highway 61 in the small town of Minnesota City, Minnesota with a population of less than 200. She was raised in a home musically divided. Her mom brought in the pop genre, while her dad was all about country music, and these mixed influences can still be heard in McNeill's music today. McNeill recalls, “I spent all my allowance buying pop and country songs, and I learned how to play keys on my grandmother's Hammond organ.” In junior high and high school she played trombone in the jazz band and orchestra. By sixteen, she was in her first rock band opening shows for the iconic Minneapolis band, The Suburbs.
In her early twenties, McNeill moved to England and landed a gig touring with British superstar Rick Astley. She also appeared in his video, “Take Me to Your Heart.“ After returning to America, she was introduced to legendary performer and composer Yanni backstage at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The two hit it off professionally and shortly afterwards McNeill collaborated with Yanni, writing lyrics to several of his songs on his albums, “Tribute” and “Ethnicity”.
In 1999, she was again “discovered” in a local television commercial and brought to the attention of the Duluth, MN United Way – who partnered with corporate sponsor Minnesota Power to finance her first album. The national United Way eventually caught wind of the album, “Two Sides to Every Sky”, and sponsored her tour across the United States.
McNeill released her second album, “American Breakup”, in 2002 and spent the next couple of years headlining festivals, shows and State Fairs. She was playing about eighty shows a year when tragedy struck in 2004. She lost her voice, was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, and was unsure if she would ever sing again. After a year of treatment and rest, McNeill performed a comeback concert in October 2005 at the famed Bunkers in Minneapolis for a standing room only crowd of cheering fans. She resumed touring and began working on her third album, “Nightingale”, which was released in 2007.
In 2011, McNeill released her fourth album, “Heartaches and Miracles”, which caught the attention of Grammy Award winning songwriter, Bobby E. Boyd. “From the first time I heard Pamela I was blown away by her powerhouse voice and phenomenal songs,” Boyd recalls, “Imagine if you had a singer who could do Kelly Clarkson and Stevie Nicks, and that same person could write songs in the same caliber as Lori McKenna and Carol King. Well, you've got that and more in Pamela McNeill.” Boyd contacted McNeill and the two wrote a couple of songs together online. Later that year McNeill made a trip to Nashville for a week of writing. This kicked off a friendship and professional association with Boyd that continues today.
Over the past few years McNeill has split her time between Nashville and her home state of Minnesota, where she performs over 150 shows a year doing gigs with the iconic Fabulous Armadillos,“Rumours and Dreams Fleetwood Mac Tribute” band, “Wild Angels – the Women of Rock, Pop, and Country”, “Rock and Roll XMAS Spectacular” as well headlining her own Pamela McNeill concerts. She has written with many Music City icons including Pam Tillis, Roxie Dean, and Buffy Lawson (Bombshell). In addition to Yanni, her songs have been cut by Wynonna Judd, and she recently caught the attention of Reba McEntire with her song, “Captivated.“ In 2017 she received a rare standing ovation at the world famous Bluebird Cafe after her debut performance.
McNeill's latest album, due out in March (2019), was co-produced in Nashville with Boyd. It has already garnished rave reviews for her video release tribute to Prince with her song, “The Bigger Picture”. All fourteen songs were penned by McNeill and reflect different seasons of life – the struggles and victories, the love and love lost, and the power to persevere. The first single, “Dear Radio”, tells McNeill's personal story of falling in love with the music she found as a child with her transistor radio, and how that relationship grew over the years. It's a story everyone can relate to no matter the age or background. The accompanying video was shot on location in Nashville.
Pamela McNeill’s young dream has not disappointed. She has achieved success as a singer, songwriter, composer, and entertainer.... and with the release of her latest album, this star is shining brighter than ever!
“Pamela McNeill stole my ear every time she sang. Very Hot.” - Michael Johnson (“Bluer Than Blue”, “Almost Like Being In Love”, “ This Night Won't Last Forever”, “Give Me Wings”, “The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder”, etc.)
“Pamela McNeill writes the kinds of songs the Dixie Chicks recorded before they got angry.” - Minneapolis Star and Tribune