Carmen Hillary
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Carmen Hillary

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM
Band Alternative Adult Contemporary


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Langford singer in the driver’s seat"

By Charla Huber - Goldstream News Gazette
Published: November 08, 2011 4:00 PM
Updated: November 08, 2011 4:52 PM

Langford singer-songwriter Carmen Hillary is gearing up to release her second and hopefully breakthrough album this Friday.

Her first album, Chameleon, was released in 2003. Her second, Window Seat, has been a few years in the making.

“I know a lot more about who I am artistically now,” Hillary said. “When I was younger I was living up to expectations of what I thought I should do. Now I am much more in touch with myself creatively and emotionally.”

Window Seat is difficult to categorize musically into a genre. Hillary calls it “pop rock, that is also a little more alternative.”

“It’s very textural with layers and has a lot of variety to it.”

While Hillary writes her own music and lyrics, a few of the songs on the album have been co-written with other artists including her husband, musician Tim O’Brian. The song Under Your Sky, for instance, was co-written by Paul Statham who has worked with many artists, including Dido and Kylie Minogue?.

Hillary’s songs stem from her personal experiences and life lessons, and sometimes they are based on turmoil other people are going through too.

“I am extremely observant and I am fascinated by the human mind,” Hillary said. “I sometimes write songs about what I have learned so I don’t forget.”

One of her favourite songs on the album is Little Girl. The song is written as Hillary talking to her childhood self.

“It’s me telling the little girl in me that she is wrecking my life at that time. She is creating drama where there doesn't need to be drama,” Hillary said.

Three of the songs on the album were remastered by Simon Heyworth, a producer who has worked with late Beatle George Harrison.

Hillary grew up in a family of musicians and connected with music at an early age.

“I started writing songs at age seven in my bedroom,” said Hillary, who grew up in Langford.

“When I was younger I wanted a career like Britney Spears? or Madonna, now my biggest goal is just to be able to work on songs and write.”

When Hillary is not working on her music, she is helping other aspiring musiicans hone their craft. She works out of her home in Langford as a singing teacher with more than 100 students.

Her next goal is to get her songs features on television and in movies.

Hillary’s CD release party is at Moka House,103-1633 Hillside Ave. on Nov. 11. Hillary will be performing and mingling with her fans from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

For more information go to - Goldstream Gazette

"Sooke News"

Local singer among highlights of SEAPARC Festival July 20

Just speak to East Sooke’s Carmen Hillary for a few moments and her unquenchable passion for music, including performing it live, shines through.

“I love to perform,” she said in an recent interview. “I often feel more at home on stage than in the real world.”

Hillary hopes to share her love of music with area residents July 20 when she performs as part of the SEAPARC Family Festival. The first time event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Stan Jones Field. The festival is designed to be something everyone can enjoy. While anyone can come to the no-charge event, the SEAPARC staff is hoping Sooke residents will come out and enjoy it.

“We want to get as many people there we can from Sooke,” said Jim Worthington, one of the many SEAPARC staff members who are labouring on the project. “We want it to be a local event.”

Hillary will certainly be one of the highlights of the day. She already has made several television and radio appearances and has caught the eye of various people in the music business.

At the festival, the Carmen Hillary Band will perform covers and some original tunes. Hillary feels the show will appeal to everyone, noting she has fans who are in their teens and others who are in their 80s.

“For some reason my music spans a large range,” she said.
Among the cover songs the festival audience might hear are well-known tunes by Alicia Keys, Sarah McLachlan, Shakira and vintage Fleetwood Mac. Her original music also spans a variety of styles.

“I’d describe it as Enya meets Tori Amos meets Arthea Franklin with U2’s band,” she said.
She is quick to credit her band for their support and musicianship. It includes Eric Tonning on bass, Rob Gretsinger on drums, Tim O’Brien on guitar and Kirsten Moline assisting with backing vocals.

Hillary said both of her parents enjoy music and she knew at an young age it’s what interested her. She is currently working on a album at her self-described “creative den” in her rented home in East Sooke and plans to tour this summer
Hillary is carving out her niche in the industry by learning every sector. She handles her own bookings and media and built an impressive Web site ( to promote herself.
Sooke residents will get a great chance to see this local talent and participate in a whole lot more great activities July 20.

- Robin Wark

"Kenora News"

"Everyone's a Critic” just screams radio hit! I just don't understand why the heck she isn't already a nationally recognized singing phenomenon!" (Linton Valdock, Kenora Daily News). - Linton Valdock

"Victoria News"

Doing it Her Way, Carmen Hillary Sets Her Sights High

Carmen Hillary doesn’t regret ignoring the major record companies who came calling after her appearance at New Music West six years ago. She was studying music at college and wasn’t ready to give up all that her education would give her, for something she’s been sure would happen anyway since she was a child.

“I didn’t know enough about the business at the time. I believed in myself and didn’t feel I was ready to perform to the fullest of my abilities” says Hillary. “Who really is ready at 20? I think they took one look at me and thought I was 20 and moldable to what they wanted.” Hillary wanted to make sure her style and personality were fully her own before financial backing made those decisions for her.

She has now been out of school for three years and is glad to have her hand in every part of the business of getting her career off the ground. “I do my own promotions, marketing, booking and my website,” she says. Juggling this along with writing songs and working out arrangements with her band on top of three other jobs sounds like a whirlwind life, but Hillary is confident it will all work in her favour.

“Everything I am doing is what I love,” she says. “I’ve learned so much and I keep building up my own audience.”

Her Mothers says she sang before she could talk, and she’s never dreamed of a different career. Hillary doesn’t let the “nitty gritty” of everyday business veer her eyes from her career goal, which she steps closer toward everyday. “I’ve always felt more comfortable on stage than anywhere else.”

Hillary will perform with her band at Lucky Bar July 12
Tickets are $5 at the door - Ingrid Paulsen

"Carmen Hillary’s Time Has Arrived"

Jeanine Soodeen
Weekend Edition

Better catch Carmen Hillary in Victoria while she’s here. The gears are beginning to turn on the local singer-songwriter’s career.

“I’m not the same green person I was when I was 20 or 21. Now I see the difference between the music industry as a business and music as an artist. It’s like a machine; the gears are turning. It’s a matter of if you’re what the machine is pumping out at the time, “said Hillary, a fitness instructor, during a break between her day jobs.

Hillary has made some significant musical connection during the past year. One of those, Paula Toledo, will share the bill tomorrow night at the Lucky Bar. The two met last year at the Western Canadian Music Festival where Hillary showcased her material from her 2003 release Chameleon.

A thrilling connection that Hillary hopes will boost her career – now that she is ready for wherever her music takes her – is the opportunity to work with Annette Ducharme. Ducharme is known for songs she has written for Tom Cochrane, Amanda Marshall and Larry Gowan,

“I’ve been a fan of Annette for a long time,” Hillary said with enthusiasm. “It’s neat to go full circle from being a fan of Annette to working with her.”

Hillary has presented Ducharme with 11 of the more than 40 songs she has in her current repertoire and Ducharme and Producer John Webster have agreed to produce three or four songs for Hillary’s next EP. Hillary will go to Vancouver likely in September and record with local session players there.

“I’m really pumped and excited. Annette has a lot of connections. I think that this will be a springboard or turning point,” said Hillary, whose manager Dave Gallant will then promote the recording.

Hillary, a Spectrum Secondary grad, has performed for three years as a Singer/Songwriter with her own band. She has also performed with other Singer/Songwriters. She played with Katrina Kadoski, now with Honeygirl, and most recently recorded background vocals for Kia Kadiri’s latest recording.

“My writing is always based on self-exploration or societal exploration. Writing is my therapy and I use it every time I go through something in life. In order to remember things I’ve learned, I write songs about them,” she said.

In her early 20’s, Hillary received major label interest from music reps at Virgin Music Canada and others, but felt the timing wasn’t right.

“I had them phoning me in college. At the time I felt really green and I wanted to focus on school. I knew I didn’t know enough about the business,” she said.

Since then she has shaped her career, not only songwriting, but booking shows, marketing and creating her website

“That has given me enough know-how. I always like to have my hands in everything,”

Now, considered a blend of Sarah McLachlan meets Tori Amos and Dido, with a little Annie Lennox thrown in, Hillary will showcase some of her new songs Saturday, June 26 at Lucky Bar. On piano, she will be backed by her band, Tim O’Brien on acoustic guitar and piano, bass player Eric Tonning, Rob Gretsinger on drums and Al Sabourin on lead guitar. Show starts 8:30 p.m.

Hillary is also scheduled to perform in August in Victoria with a number of artists such as Shari Ulrich, in a benefit to help sex trade workers exiting the trade. She also plans to arrange a concert with Annette Ducharme in Victoria.
- Victoria News


Window Seat (Produced by Hayden Cyr, John Webster, Tim O'Brien, Paul Statham)
Carmen Hillary EP (Produced by John Webster)
Chameleon EP
Radio airplay on CHUV 103.5
Radio airplay on The Wave 102.3
Radio airplay on BFBS Radio, UK
Television appearances on The A Channel
Television appearances on CH Television




"Amazing! The songwriting shines, the vocals are dead on and she has incredible range. The production is stellar and the band sounds hot!"
-Scott James, Music Director, 100.3 The Q

"From Vancouver Island to Devon in the UK, we are so pleased Carmen got in touch and chose us to Master her great album. A very self assured Songwriter who knows exactly how to make a record work."
-Simon Heyworth (Imogen Heap, Depeche Mode, George Harrison, King Crimson)

"Carmen Hillary is one of the most exciting new Singer/Songwriter's I have heard in years. This lady is a major musical force in waiting and deserves nothing short of massive success."
-Marc Tyley, Group Programme Director, BFBS Radio, UK

Add 3 cups of solid Pop/Rock, 5 tablespoons of savory electronic elements and 4 Producers… then drench it with raw haunting vocals and you have the captivating and flavorful new release from multi-talented singer/songwriter Carmen Hillary, “Window Seat”. Carmen has just been nominated for Female Songwriter of the Year for the Vancouver Island Music Awards.

Just released on 11/11/11, this introspective album was produced by gifted Producers Hayden Cyr and Tim O'Brien and features a song co-written on two different continents with highly talented and established Producer/Songwriter Paul Statham who has also written for Dido (Co-wrote "Here with Me" and "No Angel") and Kylie Minogue. Without even having spoken on the phone or in person, Paul and Carmen were able to write and record the entire song via the internet! It’s an amazing example of how modern technology has opened more doors for artistic creativity.

The album also includes remastered songs originally recorded and produced by John Webster (Tom Cochrane, Aerosmith, Cher, David Bowie) and utilizes the talents of top Vancouver musicians (including Jeff Buckley's rhythm section). As if all of this talent wasn’t enough already, “Window Seat” has been crowned with the sweetest cherry on top having been mastered by the great Simon Heyworth (George Harrison, Imogen Heap, Depeche Mode, Brian Eno). “Window Seat” is definitely going to satisfy all of those eagerly awaiting appetites!!

In addition, Carmen’s song “Watching You Dance” was hand selected and included on the now released compilation album BIG ROCK Untapped 3. Carmen has also received a grant from FACTOR, completed a successful west coast tour - making television appearances on A-Channel (CHUM, The Daily (Nanaimo), CH Channel 6, The Daily (Victoria) and gained valuable industry attention when she showcased at the Western Canadian Music Festival and New Music West; performing among other artists such as Kim Barlow, Jessie Farrell and Brundlefly. She has also shared the stage with Trish Klein of The Be Good Tanyas/Po' Girl, Anet Ducharme, Paula Toledo and performed in line-ups including Sarah Slean, Shari Ulrich and Holly McNarland. Her song, "Memorial" is on the compilation album “Secrets of the Universe” that includes artist Morry Stearns - featuring David Foster.

Brought into the world by two very musical parents, her Great Grandfather was Gitz Rice (famed Broadway composer) known for his performance in the trenches during wartime. It was Christmas and as he and his fellow men started to sing Silent Night, German soldiers from across the way joined in, singing in their own language. Carmen was told by her mother that she could sing before she could talk. How fitting that her name actually means "song”. Her first song was written at age 7 and she has continued to write ever since. Victoria based, her inspiring songwriting is observational and self-explorative.