Patricia Conroy’s road to stardom came naturally, as she was born in Montreal into a musical family, with a fiddle, accordion, or guitar always being played. The Shamrock Ceili Band was a family affair that incorporated her father’s Irish and her mother’s Maritime and country roots into their music. As a young girl, she took to the piano and began taking vocal lessons, and also sang in the local church choir.
Influenced by her mother’s love for traditional country, she began soaking in herself what was then the cutting edge of MOR cross-over – artists like Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and The Eagles. After finishing high school, she continued playing live with a couple of groups, and moved around in Alberta, then to Ottawa for awhile.
Settling in Vancouver, she formed a back-up band, and after a few months, won $10,000 during a Battle of the Bands contest. She used the money to record some songs she’d written, and shopped her demos around to the major labels.
In the meantime she released a string of independent singles over the next few years, “My Hearts On Fire” and “Come On Back,” and the #56 “A Thousand Rails” in early 1990. A second encounter with WEA Canada’s Bob Roper led to her signing a contract. Executives wasted no time, and hooked her up with producer Randal Prescott, of Family Brown notoriety.
Her debut album, BLUE ANGEL, was in the stores later that year, and featured a venerable who’s who on the guest list, including Vince Gill singing bg vocals on two of her songs – the title track, which made it to the top 20 on the chart, and “Take Me With You,” which like “This Time” and “Blank Pages” spent time in the top 10.
Two years later, her follow-up solidified her as one of Canada’s most promising country princesses. Produced again by Prescott, the title track and “What Do You Care” both topped the country chart, and “My Baby Loves Me” (later also recorded by Martina McBride) making the top 10. Other tracks included the covers of “Talkin’ to a Stranger” by Rodney Crowell, and Jim Foster’s “Here We Go Again,” which made it to #12. The fruits of her labour earned her platinum album (100,000 units) that stayed in the top twenty for over a month, a pair of CCMAs (Canadian Country Music Association) – for female artist and album of the year, and three Juno nominations.
After her fourth cross-Canada tour in just over three years, she took some well-deserved time off, and returned in 1994 with another gold album, YOU CAN’T RESIST IT, her final record with Warner.Produced by Mike Wanchi and Justin Niebank, it reached #3 on the chart on the two number one singles, “Somebody’s Leavin”” and “What Else Can I Do,” along with the top 10 “I Don’t Wanna Be the One” and “Keep Me Rockin’.” The album kept her on the charts for the next year and half, she’d had a string of video hits on CMT, and cracked the US market with the single, “What Else Can I Do.”
Her first album after signing with Shoreline Records was 1998’s WIND AS THE WIND. It produced three singles – “Mary On The Dashboard,” the top 10 “Direction of Love” and “Ain’t Nobody Like You,” and “Don’t You Forget (Who You’re Talkin’ To).”
After another Juno nomination and a couple of more CCMAs, and another series of tours that criss-crossed through Canada, she moved to Nashville and laid low for awhile while writing for other artists – including Michelle, Wright, Lisa Brokop, Jimmy Rankin, and Brad Johner, among others.
She returned on Angeline Records in 2007 with TALKING TO MYSELF, produced by her husband Bob Funk and Kevin Churko, whose credits included the likes of The Corrs and Shania Twain. Unlike her previous offerings, the album featured no covers or submitted songs, only ones she’d written by herself or a bevy of co-writers, including Tom Shapiro, Cyril Rawson, Jim Weatherly, and Britton Cameron.
Hailed by the critics for her focusing on her songwriting, and bringing out some of her most personal emotions, it produced three singles – “When,” “Ray of Sun,” and the title track.