Singer, songwriter and producer to release new album
By Amy Nicole Tangel
Musician Quinn Mills has built a career as a singer, songwriter and producer and most recently released his new single with a full album on the way.
The 22-year-old musician from Ajax, Ontario made a mark as an emerging rock-indie artist throughout his hometown and beyond ever since Quinn began playing as a young teen. Signed at only 17 to music label MP Music House, founded by Dan Marshall and Tom Petrone in the most matter-of-fact manner Quinn’s relationship with the label began quite simply: through a family connection. Coincidentally, Dan also hails from Ontario. His mother and Quinn’s grandmother are long-time friends. Since then, Quinn and Dan have been writing and producing music together with countless songs.
Dan describes Quinn’s style of music as, “the Police meets the Foo Fighters meets Bowie.”
One of Quinn’s biggest passions for creating music, he said, is smashing-up genres that generally wouldn’t go together and somehow creating new songs that just work. Mixing his music in an unconventional way and doing everything unorthodox is Quinn’s way of bringing something new to the table.
“I love bringing things together that shouldn’t go together,” he explained of his style.
Last month, he released a new single, “Hey.” He also plans to release a full album, including the new single, by the end of 2022. The new album is yet-to-be titled, but Quinn said he wants to surprise his listeners without giving away the theme.
Though, he hinted that the album is yet another collaboration of his exploration in pairing different genres. It will hold a space-cowboy feel with a western-rock-instrumentation mixed with hip-hop percussion and psychedelic rock guitars with layered vocals.
“It’s very futuristic sounding, but also has a lot of old-horn-western sounds,” he said explaining the mix of elements.
Under the MP Music House label, he has released: Quinn Mills and the Common Era in 2018, Strangers in the Dark in 2020, and his most recent album, In Retrospect in 2021. Quinn reflected on how he recorded the 2020 album in the basement of his house and recalled a turning point in his career in 2017 when his song “Colours” received approximately 260,000 streams.
The success of “Colours” opened up the world of pop and production for Quinn as his first song also serving as producer. Living in New York City at the time, he said, provided another level of learning how hard the industry can be.
“This was that moment where I needed to know how to do it or I was going to lose it,” he said of becoming a producer.
To add to the whole package, Quinn has also had a working relationship with director Sylvia Caminer who has mentored him in acting roles for videos and most recently featured his song, “Strangers in the Dark” in her new film “Follow Her,” currently in festival previews.
Last month, Quinn also hit the stage in his biggest live performance post-pandemic opening for the Canadian group, Elevator at The Biltmore Theatre in Oshawa, Ontario. In an ironic-twist-of-fate, Quinn said it was not only thrilling to play a set in a venue that can hold about 400 people for a band he admired, but an even more poignant moment in reflecting back to 2018 when he saw them live for the first time. It all started with a simple message to the band after the show to say he liked their set; in-turn opening a door for more than he could have imagined at the time.
“Four years later, I got to open for them, so it was pretty cool,” he said.
Adding to his originality, Quinn said he always tries to embody what he wears on stage to capture the essence of his musical performance with the audience in his costume choices as well. For his set opening for Elevator, he said he grew a mustache, which was something he had been wanting to do for a long time. He also rocked a velvet blazer to set his tone.
“I wanted to look like a 70’s Las Vegas kind-of-weekender,” he said.
Over the years, Quinn said he was really drawn to writing love songs, but is now writing more songs about things he is facing as a man in his early twenties confronting all the confusion in the world as an adult through his songs.
Helping him grow and evolve as a writer has been largely influenced by the writing mentorship from Dan, a seasoned songwriter who Quinn said has taught him to “cast a wider net” as a songwriter and to use the poetry in his words to make the song more relatable to a broader audience. In art and life, Quinn said he is thankful for just the good overall life mentorship he has received from Dan to help build his career.
“He’s taught me to be more of a storyteller,” he said.
Currently, Quinn is working on the new album and is working on confirming dates for more upcoming live performances. To keep up-to-date with Quinn and show dates you can follow him on Instagram @quinnymills and www.quinnmillsmusic.com.
Feature photo: Brianna Bodoe
Photos at The Biltmore: J Atlas