Two-time Grammy Award winner Pam Tillis is coming to South Orange for a special acoustic performance at the (SOPAC) on Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m.
Tillis has had a very successful career thus far, winning two Grammys, three Country Music Association (CMA) awards and recently adding an International Bluegrass Music Association (IMBA) award to her impressive resume. Tillis’ musical talents run in the family. Her father, country star Mel Tillis, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997. So growing up with him, Tillis always knew what she was going to be.
“What I really saw myself as, from the earliest age, was a singer,” Tillis said on SOPAC’s Front Row Podcast show.
At the age of 8, the Nashville native made her debut on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, singing "Tom Dooley." She grew up listening to the sounds of soul and blues singers. However, her father always made sure that she didn’t start to “mimic” whoever she was listening to at the time.
“He said, “you’ve got to find your own sound”, and what perfect advice,” said Tillis.
So Tillis found her own sound, releasing her label debut, Put Yourself in My Place, in 1991. The album was a hit, with three singles making into the Top Ten charts. The album reached No. 10 on the "Top Country Albums" chart and No. 69 on the "Billboard 200" that year and the success of the singles led to the album being certified "Gold" by the RIAA.
Since that debut album, Tillis has been a formidable force in country music. She has racked up 14 Top Five hits, including six that hit #1, and has sold over 6 million records. She was one of the first women in Nashville to produce her own album, and she was awarded the coveted Female Vocalist of the Year by the CMA in 1994. In 1999, she earned a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
In addition to being a spectacular singer, Tillis is also an accomplished songwriter. She has had her compositions recorded by artists as varied as Chaka Khan, Martina McBride, Highway 101, Juice Newton and Conway Twitty.
As if that wasn’t enough, Tillis is also an actress. In 1999, she became the first female country entertainer to star in a Broadway Musical when she appeared in Smokey Joe’s Café. Tillis also has had roles in television with parts in Diagnosis Murder, Promised Land and LA Law.
“Sometimes I think there’s a difference between these moves on the career chessboard and your star rising and just there again getting back to the love of the music and being that little girl that just loved to sing,” said Tillis.
On Saturday, Tillis hopes to convey her love of singing during An Acoustic Evening with Pam Tillis at SOPAC. She says the show will be “unplugged” and that the audience should expect her to converse a lot with them.
“I like to really visit with the people and I feel like they want to get to know you in a lot of ways,” Tillis said.
An Acoustic Evening with Pam Tillis will be at SOPAC on Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35, $45 ($30, $40 for SOPAC members) and are available online on SOPAC's website or by phone by calling (973) 313-ARTS (2787). The box office is located in the main lobby Monday - Saturday 12-6 p.m.
The Front Row Podcast is SOPAC's monthly podcast offering an inside perspective on artists appearing at SOPAC. It is hosted by Teisha Bader.