February 06, 2017
By Angye Morrison
Pam Tillis is what you might call country music royalty. Her dad is famous country icon Mel Tillis, so she’s been around the scene all her life. She entered show business at the tender age of 8, performing “Tom Dooley” on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1965.
Pamela Yvonne Tillis was born on July 24, 1957 Mel and Doris Tillis. She grew up in Nashville with her four siblings. She took piano lessons at an early age, and taught herself how to play the guitar by the age of 12. At 16, she was injured in a car accident and had to undergo several years’ worth of surgery, including facial reconstruction.
Tillis was, according to her bio, active as a youngster in band, chorus, talent shows and church. As she grew up, she was in a variety of bands, playing everything from jazz to alternative country music to top 40. She sang demos and lent her voice to commercial jingles.
Tillis was signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1981, for which she released nine singles and one album, “Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey.” Throughout the 1980s, Tillis released a number of singles, including “Goodbye Highway,” “One of those Things,” “Those Memories of You” and “There Goes My Love.” Despite some respectable charting, none of the singles took the No. 1 spot, and Tilalis left Warner Brothers Records to work as a songwriter for Tree Publishing in Nashville.
In the 90s, Tillis worked at Tree, and realized her true passion – country music. She soon signed a recording deal with Arista Nashville, and hit the music scene not as a songwriter, but as a singer. She has since recorded top charting albums, including the studio albums, “Sweetheart’s Dance,” “All of This Love” and “Every Time.” She’s been touring since 1990.
In 2001, Tillis released her seventh studio album, “Thunder & Roses,” her last with Arista, which peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. She released “RhineStoned,” her first album on her own label, Stellar Cat Records, in 2007.
Tillis has also collaborated with Lorrie Morgan for what they’ve called their “Grits and Glamour” tour.
Tillis calls her style of music “early 90s country,” and says her fans love the sound.
“People love that 90s country sound and I love playing it,” she said.
When asked about her famous father, Tillis says it’s been a privilege to follow in his footsteps, but glad she could stand on her own two feet as a performer.
“It’s hard coming out of such a big shadow like my dad,” she said. “He’s been an inspiration for me and it helped growing up in Nashville around such incredible talent. I’m very proud of the family name.”
The Pam Tillis Trio will perform at the Averitt Center for the Arts on Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults, $30 for a box. Friends of the Arts may purchase tickets for $26, and $28 for a box. Youth tickets may be purchased for $10. Go online at www.averittcenterforthearts.org or call (912) 212-2787.