Michelle Wright coming to QB
A Canadian country music legend is making her way to Qualicum Beach, with a concept for a tour that is unlike anything else she's done.
“I’m really excited to sing songs by other artists that I never thought I’d sing and share with an audience,” said Michelle Wright, who has sold nearly two million albums in the United States and Canada since her career took off in 1990.
Last year Wright was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and she and her agents began discussing how they could celebrate the honour. They came up with an idea for Wright to sing songs by others who have been inducted into the hall of fame — artists who have influenced her, as well as her own classics.
It’s called Songs From the Halls and it’s coming to the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre Monday, Oct.15. The concert will feature Wright and her band performing songs by music greats like Aretha Franklin, Anne Murray, Merle Haggard and Joni Mitchell. Once the concept was created Wright said she decided to go out and attend some concerts herself, which filled her with inspiration.
“I just decided I needed to get out and connect to music again. And how fun it is to be in an audience and hear some of your favourite songs done by the artists that you love,” she said. “The concept has really connected me to music again and has been way more fun than I imagined.”
Wright grew up in a small farming community in Ontario. Her parents were both country performers and at the age of five she remembers being handed a microphone and getting “cute kid” comments.
She started playing instruments at 12 and by age 13 she was hooked on guitar. Wright was playing professional gigs on the weekend at age 17 and remembers an opportunity at 19 when an American booking agent saw her perform. He helped her get in with a well-known band which started Wright on her career on the road. A few years later she got her big break when performing at a festival. Her agent called her at midnight and asked if she could take the early slot the next morning.
“It meant getting up at 7 a.m. and I thought, well, we like to party till about 4, let me think about this. And then I thought no, no maybe we'll get up and go.”
And it's a good thing she did. A well-known songwriter and producer from Nashville was in the audience and he ended up taking her to Nashville.
"That day and that moment in time — mind you it took five or six years to get to there — changed my career," she said.
Wright has had 25 Top 10 hits in Canada and has received more than 40 major awards. In the United States she has had a Top Ten hit, a number one video on CMT and won the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Artist in 1993, the first Canadian to do so in a few decades.
Other highlights in her career include her first Female Vocalist of the Year award from the Canadian Country Music Association, singing at the World Series and appearing on Jay Leno.
Today her work at World Vision is also very significant, she said. When she was younger she didn’t really get that her reputation could help her influence others to make a positive difference in the world.
“The fact that I can take, maybe my career, and my reputation and my support of something and encourage other people to join me, and then it effects people around the world—that's become more than I imagined.”
Wright is currently living in Nashville and will be coming to 30 Canadian cities on her Songs From the Halls tour, with three stops on Vancouver Island including the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre Oct. 15 and Nanaimo’s Port Theatre Sunday, Oct. 14. She said she’s looking forward to the tour and said there’s something very special about the give and take that goes on when performing live shows. She’s also in the process of completing a new album set to be released in the new year.
Tickets are $40 available from the Mulberry Bush Book Store in Qualicum Beach. For more information on Wright visit www.michelle-wright.com.