Tyler Joe Miller in a promo photo.

MUSIC

Surrey’s ‘Pillow Talkin’ hit singer aims for Top of the Country contest win

Tyler Joe Miller also nominated for CCMA ‘Rising Star’ award

Surrey’s Tyler Joe Miller is among eight semifinalists in a SiriusXM Canada-backed contest to find “Canada’s next big country music star.”

The third annual Top of the Country competition, done in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA), looks a little different than in previous years, due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, and will extend across two years.

The contest semifinalists will be featured during Country Music Week 2020, a virtual experience this fall. Later, three finalists will be chosen from a nationwide public vote, and a winner will be crowned at Country Music Week 2021, following a live show featuring the artists and a headliner.

The contest winner will receive a $25,000 grand prize, a SOCAN songwriting trip and more. More details are posted to siriusxm.ca/topcountry.

Miller is in the running along with Don Amero (Winnipeg, MB), Raquel Cole (Vernon, BC), Carolina East (South River, NL), Nate Hall (Toronto, ON), Kalsey Kulyk (Hudson Bay, SK), Brittany Kennell (Beaconsfield, QC) and Kelly Prescott (Almonte, ON).

Last year’s Top of the Country competition winner was Quebec-based musician Matt Lang.

“I am so proud to be part of Canada’s tight-knit country music community,” Lang said in a press release about the competition. “Last year’s Top of the Country competition allowed me to connect with so many amazing peers, mentors and fans, all while performing at some of the country’s biggest events. The next group of semifinalists are in for a real treat.”

(Story continues below video)

• RELATED STORY, from May 2020: Humbled by hit song ‘Pillow Talkin,’ Surrey musician aims to build on humanitarian work.

Miller had a hit this year with “Pillow Talkin’,” and another of his songs, “I Would Be Over Me Too,” has also been played on the radio over the past couple of months.

Presenters of the 2020 Canadian Country Music Association Awards recently nominated Miller for the Rising Star Award, along with Tenille Arts, Matt Lang, Emily Reid and Sons Of Daughters. The full list of CCMA nominees is posted to ccma.org/2020-nominees.

Miller, now a Cloverdale-area resident, went to school at Frank Hurt Secondary in Newton. While at church, he discovered a love of playing music.

“I used to really love acting,” he told the Now-Leader last spring, “but then somehow a guitar got into my hands, I started listening to Zeppelin and more country music, and it just sort of happened.”

(Story continues below video)

Known as T.J. among friends and family, Miller began taking music seriously in his early 20s – “when I realized I could sing.” Later, he became a “utility player” for other country artists, in concert. Along the way he attracted the attention of MDM Recordings.

Since its release in December, the talk of the Canadian country scene had been “Pillow Talkin’,” a ditty written by the Nashville-based trio of Kelly Archer, Blake Chaffin and Brett Tyler.

“Kelly and I were writing another song (“I Would Be Over Me Too”) in Nashville,” Miller recalled, “and after we finished writing that one, she said ‘Hey, I like your voice and your style, what you’re doing, and I think I have another one for you.’ So they pitched me ‘Pillow Talkin’ and it went from there.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Horgan’s election call ‘nakedly opportunistic,’ political scientist says

Premier says campaign will ‘fully comply’ with public health directions

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

PHOTOS: Inside Surrey’s new in-rink private school, which isn’t all about hockey

Glarea Elevated Learning school has opened at Excellent Ice

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read