Ottawa singer warms up in the Yukon

Lynn Miles used to seek out rocky romantic relations. It made for good songwriting material, said the Ottawa musician.

Lynn Miles used to seek out rocky romantic relations.

It made for good songwriting material, said the Ottawa musician.

“I wrote a lot about romantic angst.”

And it drew fans.

Miles’ has been told her music helped people through divorce.

Others have listened to her songs while giving birth.

“I put my music out there because I want to relate to and transcend my own life,” she said.

“I want to connect with the world and let people know they’re not alone with their pain.”

But pain is no longer a focus for Miles.

At 49, the singer is more interested in freedom.

“I don’t want my thoughts and actions to be influenced by others’ opinions — I want to do my own thing and live my own life,” she said.

It doesn’t make for easy songwriting.

“It’s slowed down,” she said.

“Because I’m no longer drawing on instant pain. These deeper questions require more contemplation.”

With 500 songs to her name, Miles isn’t too worried about slowing down.

In the interim, she’s taken on a producing gig, overseeing Yukon Women in Music’s 12-song compilation CD.

When Miles applied for the job, she knew nothing about it.

“I didn’t know the studio, the engineer, the music or the players,” she said.

Miles mainly co-produces her own work and the Women in Music CD is the biggest producing job she has taken on.

She’s tired.

“We’re working 10 to 12 hour days,” she said with a yawn.

“The studio doesn’t open until about 11 o’clock, because we’re working with musicians.

“So we go until about 11 at night.”

Miles has six weeks to produce 12 songs by 12 different artists.

It’s not much time.

She arranges the songs, figures out who is playing on each track, slots in studio time and makes sure the project doesn’t go over budget.

“It’s a big learning curve,” she said.

Although Miles has the final say, if an artist doesn’t agree with her arrangement she’s not “going to bully them.”

“It’s a balancing act between what they’re used to and pushing their expectations,” she said.

Miles is working with Christine Church, a music engineer from Vancouver.

“I never met her before I came here either,” she said.

“And she’s great.”

Just after she arrived, Miles headed to Frostbite Music Festival to check out the local talent.

“I’ve been using players like Lonnie Powell on drums, Dave Haddock and Jordy Walker,” she said.

Miles is also playing on some of the tracks.

“Whoever’s there plays,” she said.

Miles started writing songs when she was 10.

“I was into nature,” she said.

“So I sang about rocks, trees and mountains.”

As she was growing up, Miles studied flute, piano, voice, guitar and violin.

And at 17 she got her first gig, playing at an art gallery. Three years later she was a regular, singing in bars around Ottawa.

By her mid-20s, Miles decided to make a cassette tape.

“Because that’s what we did back then,” she said.

But she didn’t have the money.

However, Miles happened to live around the corner from Rasputin’s Folk Café — a well-known coffeehouse in Ottawa.

“I spent most of my waking hours there,” said Miles.

“The waitress used to lock the door and let people stay and play music there all night.”

Miles got to know the owner.

“I’d go every day and have coffee with her,” she said.

She told the owner about her plans to record and her quandary. Miles needed about $2,000 to make the tape.

The next day when she met the owner for coffee, she handed Miles a brown paper bag.

There was $2,000 inside.

That first tape led to more and Miles ended up signing record deals in the US and Europe.

She even got a gig earning a salary to write her songs.

“It was like winning the lottery,” she said.

She wrote songs for a company that owned the copyright.

Lost of artists, including the Dixie Chicks almost recorded Miles.

“But at the last minute they don’t,” she said.

When her mother learned Miles was headed to the Yukon, she knit her a hat, mitts and scarf.

But it’s actually nicer in the Yukon, said Miles, who arrived after the cold spell.

“Ottawa has eight feet of snow right now.”

Miles is performing at the Whitehorse United Church on Thursday March 13th.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $10.

Miles is also hosting a number of music workshops. Call Music Yukon at 456-2490 for details.

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading


Wyatt’s World for June 18, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read